Five years ago, the Cook County Clerk’s Office established a domestic-partnership registry, with John Pennycuff and Robert Castillo being the first to register. Since then, 1,500 couples have registered for domestic partnership benefits, with the most recent (as of Oct. 1) being Jim Konold and Tim Hackett.
Both couples were present at a fifth-anniversary celebration hosted by Cook County Clerk David Orr October 1 at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Among the attendees were dozens of invited couples and various city and state officials, including Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commisioner Debra Shore (an out lesbian whose partnership is among those registered); Bill Greaves, LGBT liaison to the mayor’s office; and State Rep. Greg Harris, the House’s sponsor of HB1826, the civil-union bill.
The event was largely a social reception, with brief speeches to mark the occasion. Orr thanked his supporters for making the registry possible and made a point of commending former Cook County Deputy Clerk Brandon Neese for getting the ball rolling in the first place. Neese was honored with a plaque honoring him for “his dedication to gay rights and his leadership in creating the Cook County Domestic Partnership Registry.”