It’s official: the Land of Lincoln has become the Land of Same-Sex Love.
Since Illinois became the16th state to legalize same-sex marriage last month, gay and lesbian couples across the Prairie State are celebrating, proposing to each other and scheming ways to put their straight friends’ weddings to shame.
It must be repeated, however, that same-sex marriage is legal in the entire state of Illinois. Not just the liberal enclave of Chicago.
The law goes into effect June 1st, 2014. That’s less than six months away. If you an LGBTQ citizen of Illinois wanting to wed– but are way behind on planning– here are 9 fabulously non-traditional places to marry your same-sex loved one.
9. The Jane Addams Hull House (Chicago)
Jane Addams won a Nobel Peace Prize, was a women’s suffrage leader, and created much of the foundation of modern-day social work. She also had a constant female companion, Mary Rozet Smith. Now, we’re not saying Jane was gay, but regardless of which way her compass pointed, she and Mary proved a century ago the power of loving, same-sex relationships.
Plus, that one ghost tour we took said there was a devil baby with hooves born at the Hull House, so there’s always a chance of an awesome ghost-baby photo bomb in your wedding pictures.
8. The Sidewalk In Front of the Illinois Family Institute Headquarters (Mokena)
The biggest name in the fight against same-sex marriage in Illinois has been the Illinois Family Institute (or Miss IFI if you’re nasty), so why not celebrate your joy right in front of those miserable closet cases?
While you should absolutely have a ceremony that reflects you and your loved one’s personalities and aesthetics, if you happen to get married here, we recommend a ceremony that involves at least a dozen drag queens, glitter cannons, an entire fleet of Dykes on Bikes revving their motorcycles, a giant disco ball that only plays Deeelite remixes and the use of the phrase “shantay you stay” instead of “I do.”
7. Gays, Illinois
Yes. There is a town called Gays, just west of Mattoon. Google Maps that shit. It has a historical two-story outhouse and, apparently, Hitler’s bicycle. And it’s called Gays. Gays, go to Gays, get married, ride a Nazi bike and drop a second-story deuce.
Because it now your legal right.
6. Ronald Reagan’s Birthplace (Tampico), Ronald Reagan’s Boyhood Home (Dixon), the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway, or the Ronald Reagan Highway (Different than the Tollway)
Man, Illinois loves them some Ronald Reagan. The gay community, however, has an iffier relationship with Republican Jesus (Google the AIDS crisis and you’ll be all caught up). It would be a bit of poetic justice to get married deep in the heart of Reagan Country, if for no other reason than to demonstrate how far we’ve come and how much vibrancy and strength we’ve regained after Reagan. What are you waiting for? Go out there and wed one for the Gipper!
5. The Buffalo Wild Wings in Effingham County, the Most Conservative County in Illinois (Effingham)
Because you CAN NOW.
4. K1 Speed Indoor Go-Kart Track (Addison)
Because HOW FUN.
3. Innovations, a Store for the Elegant Older Gal (Rock Falls)
Because that’s where I’m having my wedding.
2. The Superman Statue (Metropolis)
It took the work of many Supermen and Superwomen and Supertrans-and-queer-identifying activists to achieve marriage equality in Illinois, not to mention many June weekends in Boystown watching nearly-nude Clark Kents dance in Speedos atop floats sponsored by vodka companies. Commemorate these superheroes with a super heroic wedding!
1. Tweet (Chicago)
Because Big Chicks/Tweet has been a staple in the Chicago gay community for decades, and because someone needs to invent brunch-weddings. And, okay, because I desperately want to marry their eggs Florentine. And their chorizo omelet (I guess that makes me pol-egg-amous?) But why stop at brunch weddings? We should invent Brunch Pride and have a Brunch Parade where nearly-nude Clark Kents dance in Speedos and serve us mimosas and red velvet pancakes. DEAR GOD WHY ISN’T THIS A THING YET?!
Bonus Spot: That Dick-Shaped Church in Dixon (Dixon)
Because you know someone will eventually. The gays aren’t about to let a good architectural mishap go to waste. Dick church, shantay you stay.
Illinois is the proud birthplace of The Second City, and all of our hearts continue to go out to the recently tornado-ravaged communities. Please visit redcross.org to donate and help our neighbors rebuild.
John Loos is a Chicago-based writer and actor who has performed with The Second City at Sea and recently joined the faculty of The Second City Writing Program. He’s an ensemble member of GayCo Productions and performs in the two-man sketch and improv duo Pinque Pony. He can be tweeted @johnlooswins.