Because the state's same-sex marriage law took effect Sunday, clerks in most collar counties said they planned to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples Monday morning.
Starting then, couples like the Fagianos who have civil unions can convert them into marriage licenses backdated to when their civil union ceremonies were held. Those who choose to have a wedding can still convert their unions and have the new ceremony date issued on the license, said Lake County Clerk Willard Helander.
Helander, who issued the county's first civil union to the Fagianos three years ago Sunday, said she expected "quite a few" couples to show up for a license Monday morning.
"It will probably be a lot of the folks we saw the first day for civil unions," Helander said. "We served a lot of people that day."
In DuPage County, where nearly 400 couples have civil unions, Chief Deputy County Clerk Paul Hinds said he expected an early morning "rush" of same-sex couples wanting to convert their unions into licenses.
"We're ready to go. The program is all set for the conversion," Hinds said. "I'm sure we'll have couples that don't have a civil union at all that want a marriage license early on … but we really don't know."
The Fagianos planned to go to the Lake County clerk's office early Monday with their 7-year-old daughter, Riley, to get their marriage license with the date of their civil union ceremony: June 17, 2011.
They said that even though they haven't had any trouble proving their union for medical or tax purposes, or that they are both Riley's mom, it will be nice to not have to deal with so much paperwork.
"I used to say 'my wife, domestic partner — whatever box you have to check,' but now I can say 'wife,'" said Michele Fagiano, 35.
To their daughter, it has seemed as if her moms were already married, they said.
"She wanted to know why do we need to do it twice," Shannon said. "We just said that the laws changed."
Although more than 1,600 same-sex couples have been able to get marriage licenses from the Cook County clerk's office since Feb. 21, when a federal judge in Chicago ruled that the delayed effective date of the state law was unnecessary, June 1 still carries significance for many who had waited to hold wedding receptions and other celebrations until Sunday.
The February ruling, which was only effective in Cook County, expanded the decision by another federal court judge to allow a terminally ill woman with breast cancer to marry her female partner before the law's effective date.
"There's a whole lot of things that we have experienced as a community with stops and starts that you don't want to make big plans on," said Tracy Baim, publisher of the Windy City Times newspaper, a weekly publication for the LGBT community in the Chicago area. "I think a lot of people like both the legal and symbolic reason of the June 1 date."
In Rogers Park, 40 couples — gay, lesbian and straight — were married in a group wedding ceremony Sunday evening at Unity in Chicago, according to David Viggiano, co-organizer for the event.
"Now that we have gay marriage we need to push past labeling any marriages as gay, lesbian or straight and talk about marriage equality," Viggiano said. "Unity's thought is that there is one God and many paths to that. One marriage, many paths to that."
Tribune reporters Vikki Ortiz Healy and Dawn Rhodes contributed.