More than 1,600 civil union licenses sold

CHICAGO, IL (AP) - A group that advocates for gay and lesbian rights

has declared Illinois' new civil unions law a success.

Equality Illinois reports that 1,618 civil union licenses were

issued across the state in June - the first month civil unions

became available to Illinois couples.

Civil unions give couples many of the rights that accompany

traditional marriage. That includes the right to inherit a

partner's property.

Hundreds of couples around Illinois were in line at county

offices early morning on the first day the law went into effect -

June 1.

Equality Illinois says 83 of the state's 102 counties reported

issuing at least one or more licenses.

Its numbers are not official. But the group said it contacted

clerks in each county to compile the figures.

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