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Marriage license name change legislation passes Senate

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The Illinois Senate passed House Bill 2590 on Friday, May 28.

House Bill 2590 requires county clerks in Illinois to issue new marriage certificates at the request of one of the parties involved that reflect legal name changes, provided the marriage occurred in Illinois and legal documentation of the name change is provided. The new certificate cannot contain additional markings, such as an indication of the individual’s former name. The legislation was sponsored by State Sen. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago).

“We’ve focused on removing gendered language on marriage certificates, but many individuals who adopt new gender identities often change their legal names in the process,” Feigenholtz said. “Simply removing the gendered language is not enough. Non-binary and transgender individuals should be able to have a marriage license that lists their correct name.”

The legislation is related to a similar Feigenholtz-sponsored measure approved earlier this month, Senate Bill 139, which allowed for the removal of gendered language from marriage certificates.

“For a nonbinary or transgender person, being forced to identify with a deadname is traumatic,” Feigenholtz said. “Their marriage license should reflect their legal name, not their deadname.”

“This legislation is a reminder of how state laws and policies must constantly be reviewed and modernized to ensure a person can seamlessly update their identity documents to reflect their authentic self,” said Elizabeth Ricks, Legal Director of the TransLife Care Program at Chicago House and Social Service Agency, and Myles Brady Davis, Director of Communications and Press Secretary at Equality Illinois, in a joint statement. “When we heard from individuals – who already had legal name change orders – about the roadblocks they experienced when requesting to change the name on their marriage certificates to reflect their legal name change, we knew we had to act.”

The legislation passed the Senate with bipartisan support and has now been approved by both chambers of the General Assembly. It will next be sent to the desk of Gov. JB Pritzker.

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