The main reason that opposite-sex couples obtained a civil union was to show their support for equality and to obtain medical benefits, according to a survey released today by the Cook County Clerk’s Office.
Civil unions became legal in Cook County on June 1, and are offered to both same- and opposite-sex couples. As of Sept. 19, a total of 1,470 couples had obtained a civil union license, 87 of whom were opposite-sex couples, the report said.
Clerk David Orr’s office conducted a phone survey at the end of September and called all 87 of those couples. They reached a member of 46 couples, who answered seven questions. (You can read the full survey results by clicking on the PDF icon to the right.)
In the first, open-ended question, people were asked, “Why did you decide to obtain a civil union instead of getting married?” Twelve people gave political or ideological reasons, including “solidarity with the gay community.”
Nine people said they did so to obtain benefits. Asked later if the need for health or medical benefits for themselves or their children led them to apply for a civil union, 27 people said yes.
Other reasons for having a civil union instead of getting married included answers that were categorized as legal/tax status, stronger commitment and financial/big wedding.
Half of the people said they still plan on getting married at some point. However, the ladies may want to have that discussion with their men since there was a significant gender difference in this answer. Sixty-five percent of women plan to still get married yet only 38 percent of the men answered the same way.