JACKSON, MO (KFVS) - Same sex couples can now officially get married in Illinois.
County clerks across the state will now be granting marriage licenses for couples wanting to wed. In February, a federal judge ruled a ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional. State offices had until Sunday to start issuing licenses.
Rozland Johnson and Tangela Ivy have been together for our years. They have set their wedding date for later this summer in Illinois.
"We have been through a lot," Johnson said.
The couple says they've already been caring for each other through sickness and health, but finally, it'll be in writing.
"To be able to have a certificate like everyone else gets, to me it makes it whole for me," Johnson said. "It's not for necessarily anybody else but it is for me and I'm glad finally I can do that."
Rozland and Tangela live in Jackson, but they say they'll be going across the river for their wedding day.
"I've been wedding planning. I already have my dress and pretty much everything for the reception," Johnson said.
Many other same-sex couples are likely doing the same. Sunday marks the day all Illinois counties must begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses under legislation signed into law late last year.
Along with the certificate, same-sex couples can now get other benefits from the state. For example, gay and lesbian couples can now enroll in private health insurance coverage. Married same-sex couples and their children can enroll as a family and may qualify for financial help."
As for Rozland and Tangela, they're looking forward to some of those kinds of benefits.
"Taxes," Johnson said. "You can file federal, but you can't file state."
Because they live in Missouri, on official state documents, they'll have to still file as "single."
"We live here, we aren't going to leave Missouri because they are kind of behind times," Ivy said.
The date is set for September 5. They say if Illinois didn't legalize their marriage they would have traveled farther to tie the knot.
"It's for us. It's not even the fact that it's recognized or not recognized. It's the fact that we have our marriage certificate and we can show it off to our friends and family," Ivy said.
They say Sunday is a mile stone for them and other same-sex couples not only in Illinois.
"We preach so much about free rights and free speech and this that and the third and I mean it's technically not free. We have soldiers that fight every day for us to be free and it's not free. We work very hard for this," Johnson said.
Some county clerks offices in Illinois were open today to issue licenses to same sex couples.