Weddings, Handfastings, and Civil Unions We welcome all people of every race, faith, and sexual preference to the Interfaith Chapel, where experiencing and appreciating the Oneness of all Life, Light, and Love in every person is a part of our mission. We therefore invite all couples of any persuasion who may wish to celebrate with us their love and uniting in marriage, in hand-fasting, or in a civil union to contact us. We will tailor the elements of your ceremony to your requirements. A connection between two people who care about each other need not require religious ceremonies, since this connection is really about legal bonds and who is responsible for whom financially in a given relationship. This aspect of marriage is a legal contract. So a couple can have a legal ceremony by a justice of the peace or other civil official and be just as married in the eyes of the state as a couple who have a religious ceremony in a church. Attitudes about marriage being a sacrament between one man and one woman come into play when religion gets involved. But the legal aspect of marriage has nothing to do with being spiritually bound in the eyes of the church, nor should it in a country that professes that church and state will remain separate entities. There are also ways in which couples can become connected spiritually without necessarily being legally responsible to each other. So the following are the most common options available: Traditional marriage ceremonies between a man and a woman are currently legal in all states provided the couple has a marriage license. Hand-fastings are ceremonies that bring two people of any persuasion together where they pledge their unity to each other in the presence of witnesses; these ceremonies do not require legal paperwork, but they also do not carry legal sanction that is recognized by every  state. Nevertheless, they can be performed anywhere since they do not conflict with the laws of any state. Please note, however, that depending on the laws of some states, heterosexual couples who represent themselves as husband and wife or as domestic partners may find themselves legally bound by common-law in that state without the necessity of a marriage ceremony or license. You don’t need us to help you celebrate a common-law union, but you need to check the laws in your state to find out just how married you might be if you pass yourselves off as married. So a hand-fasting ceremony may be the first step to a legal connection. Currently, only the state of Iowa recognizes common-law as being in effect for same-sex couples. Isn’t the state law discrepancy in the USA interesting? Finally, civil unions are now legal in several states, and will be legal in Illinois as of June 1, 2011, where the Interfaith Chapel has its home and is incorporated. They carry the same legal rights for same-sex couples as traditional marriage does for heterosexual couples, and they require a license issued from a county courthouse in Illinois in order to be sanctioned by the state once we pronounce you civilly united. If you would like us to perform a traditional marriage ceremony, a hand-fasting ceremony, or a civil union with or without a spiritual ceremony, please contact us at ic-tlc@sunweaver.com or call us at 618-375-5104.