This Sunday marks the dawn of a new era in the fight for marriage equality in Illinois: Moving forward, same-sex couples can officially pledge their love for one another in a legal ceremony (Cook County, along with several other counties, began issuing licenses earlier this year, but on this date, the initiative goes statewide).
It’s been an uphill battle for the thousands who’ve fought to legalize same-sex marriage, and as a longtime supporter of the LGBT community, the MCA Chicago wanted to mark the occasion with a one-of-a-kind gift: free weddings for 15 local couples. “The very day the legislation passed, we started talking about a way to celebrate this milestone with the community,” says Pritzker Director Madeleine Grynsztejn.
After the MCA announced the initiative via social media March 21, it was immediately flooded with applications from more than 100 couples vying for the opportunity to tie the knot at the iconic venue. The staff quickly set to work narrowing down the list alongside a panel of representatives from Equality Illinois. “We received submissions from enthusiastic couples who have been together for years and for some, decades,” says MCA Chicago spokesperson Karla Loring. “We focused on a group that reflects the diverse fabric of Chicago and Illinois.”
On Monday, June 2, each of the 15 pairs will participate in a private ceremony in the museum’s stunning Kovler Atrium, with a nondenominational officiant doing the honors. Afterward, they’ll take a wedding portrait in front of the colorful “Work No. 1351” by Martin Creed, provided by Fandl Photography, before moving outdoors to the Kern Terrace with 20 guests to enjoy a half-hour reception with Champagne, petit fours by Wolfgang Puck Catering and décor provided by Event Creative.
In advance of the weddings, Splash sat down with four of the couples to talk about the landmark law, what marriage means to them — and of course, their upcoming nuptials.