For Laura Hartman and Anne Dickey, Sunday was a day that has been a long time coming.
June 1 marks the first day that same-sex couples can legally marry, in the state of Illinois.
“It’s time. It’s past time for the state of Illinois to recognize relationships like mine,” Hartman said.
“It feels like a liberation, like we’re free. We’re free from the burdens of having to prove ourselves,” said Hartman. “Now it’s just one big package tied with a bow on top. It’s called marriage, it’s the same as everyone else’s marriage, it gets those rights, it gets those responsibilities, and we’re clear.”
Hartman and Dickey got a civil union in 2011 and since then have been waiting for same-sex marriage to be legalized in Illinois.
The couple plans to wait to have their wedding ceremony until both families can get together in one place, but they’ll still file their paperwork for the marriage licenses this week.
“We’re excited, we’re becoming excited,” said Dickey. “A lot of it is just family logistics and making sure we can get everyone important together.”
Another important factor for Hartman and Dickey is that once they are married, they can refile their taxes from the past three years of their civil union. They expect to get back a few thousand dollars from the government.
“It’s not just a gift because that makes it sound like something voluntary or supererogatory… its a right,” said Hartman.
Hartman and Dickey share a four-year-old son, who will be their ring bearer at the wedding.
“He is so excited. When we were discussing it with him he said, ‘Me too right? Me too, I get to be part of the marriage too’ and we said sure of course, because you’re part of the family,” said Hartman.
“He knows that its a status change for us so he knows that it means we get respect and even looking in his children’s books, there aren’t any children’s books that feature parents of same-sex families except for a few books about that topic so he still gets messages from society that his family is different, that it’s lesser, that there’s something about his background that’s lacking,” Hartman said. “So I’m grateful that this sate is sending the message in this arena that his family matters. That his family has value like all the other families that have value.”