Stephen Pyo and Angela McKinney were so determined to obtain Cook County’s first marriage license of 2013 they lined up two hours before Clerk David Orr’s office opened on Wednesday morning.
“We wanted to start off the new year right,” Pyo said.
Dressed for the occasion – he in a grey suit, she in a white lace gown and veil – the couple held hands as they applied for the marriage license at Cook County Vital Records, 50 W. Washington, Chicago. A judge waived the 24-hour waiting period so Orr could marry them immediately.
“I love this part of my job,” Orr said. “It’s a special gift to marry couples in love, and I hope the legislature will soon extend the right to all couples.”
Since 1991, Orr has married the couple who obtained the first marriage license of the year. The tradition includes showering the couple with donated gifts. This year’s prices include a complimentary weekend for two at the Palmer House Hilton; two tickets to “The Jungle Book,” courtesy of Broadway in Chicago; and dinner for two at Frankie’s Scallopine, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant.
Orr also paid the couple’s marriage license fee of $60 and provided a colorful Commemorative Certificate.
Pyo, a computer programmer, proposed to McKinney on her birthday Nov. 3. At the Signature Room on the 95th Floor of the Hancock Building, he arranged for the staff to pipe a chocolate “Will you marry me?” on her dessert plate.
“It was a very good birthday present,” said McKinney, a 28-year-old nurse at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, Ind.
Pyo, 47, and McKinney were introduced by mutual friends about three years ago. They have not yet decided where they will reside.
The Clerk’s Bureau of Vital Records issues all marriage licenses in Chicago and suburban Cook County. The office issued: 32,292 marriage licenses in 2012; 32,191 in 2011; 32,289 in 2010; 32,369 in 2009; and 33,529 in 2008. The office also issued 1,213 civil union licenses in 2012, the first full year civil unions were legal in Illinois.