Feigenholtz passes marriage license name change legislation

SPRINGFIELD – Today, the Illinois Senate passed legislation requiring county clerks to issue new marriage certificates to reflect legal name changes. Sponsored by State Senator Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), the measure was the second this session aimed at modernizing marriage license practice in Illinois.

“We’ve focused on removing gendered language on marriage certificates, but many individuals who adopt new gender identities often change their legal names in the process,” Feigenholtz said. “Simply removing the gendered language is not enough. Non-binary and transgender individuals should be able to have a marriage license that lists their correct name.”

House Bill 2590 requires county clerks in Illinois to issue new marriage certificates at the request of one of the parties involved that reflect legal name changes, provided the marriage occurred in Illinois and legal documentation of the name change is provided. The new certificate cannot contain additional markings, such as an indication of the individual’s former name.

The legislation is related to a similar Feigenholtz-sponsored measure approved earlier this month, Senate Bill 139, which allowed for the removal of gendered language from marriage certificates.

“For a nonbinary or transgender person, being forced to identify with a deadname is traumatic,” Feigenholtz said. “Their marriage license should reflect their legal name, not their deadname.”

The legislation passed the Senate with bipartisan support and has now been approved by both chambers of the General Assembly. It will next be sent to the desk of Gov. JB Pritzker.