NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release Contact: Rick Garcia September 3, 1997 773-244-3371 ILLINOIS CITY TO RECOGNIZE SAME SEX COUPLES OAK PARK, Illinois -- Oak Park Illinois will be the first city in Illinois to register same-sex couples. With a vote of 5-2 the Board of Trustees of the Village of Oak Park, IL established a domestic partnership registry for same-sex couples. "Oak Park's recognition of same-sex couples is a major victory for the gay community in Illinois. It provides a modicum of equal treatment for gay and lesbian citizens of Oak Park," said Rick Garcia, director of the Illinois Federation For Human Rights. "Oak Park Trustees have sent the message that they respect and value all residents of Oak Park and they support family units whatever their makeup." The registry confers no benefits and establishes stringent criteria for couples to qualify. Only same-sex couples may register because, unlike their heterosexual counterparts, they are forbidden to marry under Illinois law. Supporters suggested that the ordinance was a matter of fairness and would officially recognize families and relationships that currently are not recognized. Opponents suggested that the ordinance undermines the Judeo-Christian tradition and would destroy the family. "This registry will recognize valid and valued relationships and will strengthen families - all families," said Garcia. "Opponents of the registry based their opposition on anti-gay attitudes. Bigotry is always vile. It is especially vile when it masquerades as virtue." -30- The Illinois Federation For Human Rights is a statewide organization that was founded to secure, protect and defend the basic civil rights of sexual minorities in Illinois.