On every Valentine’s Day for years, Roseann Szalkowski, 50, and her partner, Barb McMillan, 60, both of Roselle, Ill., would show up at the DuPage County clerk’s office to apply for a marriage license. The office supervisor would politely say that under Illinois law, she could not grant a license to a same-sex couple. Szalkowski and McMillan kept coming back every year — not in an angry or confrontational way, just continuing to push the issue. It became routine; sometimes the couple brought candy for the office.

So on Wednesday morning, when Illinois began issuing civil union licenses, Szalkowski and McMillan were first in line. Again, they asked for a marriage license and were turned down. They got their civil union license instead. When the paperwork was finished, the clerk’s office supervisor, with tears in her eyes, came around the desk and hugged them both.

I won’t be content with “the civil union solution” unless civil unions are the standard for every couple, but it’s progress. And this is a wonderful story.


When Bridgette McGee-Robinson was growing up, she didn’t know anything about her grandfather — who he was, where he was from, why no one ever talked about him.

But, as a child, while helping her mother clean the house, she came across a packet of old articles and photographs hidden under a…