BASIC (03-06)

PR 02705.026 Minnesota

A. PR 06-090 Legal Name Change - Same Sex Civil Union in Cook County - REPLY

DATE: March 8, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

A domestic partnership certificate issued under the City of Minneapolis Code of Ordinances to a same-sex couple cannot be used as proof of a legal name change. Minnesota does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages or civil unions (the same as Illinois, Minnesota is not required to recognize “civil unions” entered into in the State of Vermont.) A domestic partnership registration in Minneapolis, Minnesota does not constitute a legal basis for a name change in the State of Minnesota.

2. OPINION

In your e-mail dated February 7, 2005, you asked whether a person can use a same sex civil union certificate as proof of a legal name change in Cook County, Illinois. For the reasons discussed below, we conclude that a domestic partnership certificate issued in Cook County to a same-sex couple cannot be used as proof of a legal name change. In addition, the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, maintains a similar domestic partnership registry. As in Cook County, a domestic partnership certificate issued in Minneapolis to a same-sex couple cannot be used as proof of a legal name change.

At the outset, we note that Illinois does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages or civil unions. See 750 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 5/213.1; 2000 Ill. Atty. Gen. Op. 017 (Illinois not required to recognize “civil unions” entered into under laws of Vermont). Cook County, however, gives limited recognition to same-sex couples by allowing them to register as domestic partners and by issuing domestic partnership certificates. See Cook County Ordinance 03-O-18, http://www.cookctyclerk.com/html/070103orddoc.htm. According to the Cook County Clerk's Office, which administers the program, the registry does not create any new legal rights, but is intended to make it easier to obtain insurance and other benefits from companies that offer them to partners of gay and lesbian employees. See Cook County Clerk's Office, Domestic Partnership Registry, http://www.cookctyclerk.com/sub/domestic_partnership_registry.asp. Thus, the domestic partnership registration does not constitute a legal basis for a name change in the state of Illinois, and the domestic partnership certificate is not recognized as documentary proof of a name change. We spoke to a staff person at the Cook County Clerk's Office, who verified this information.

During the course of our research, we found another local government within our region that has a domestic partnership registry--Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our findings with respect to the Minneapolis domestic partnership registry are essentially the same as that of Cook County. Minnesota, like Illinois, does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages or civil unions. See MINN. STAT. ANN. § 517.03. However, the city of Minneapolis gives limited recognition to same-sex couples by allowing them to register as domestic partners and by issuing domestic partnership certificates. See Minneapolis Code of Ordinances § 142.10 et seq., http://www. municode.com/resources/gateway.asp?pid=11490&sid=23 (click “Title 7,” then click “Chapter 142"). The main purposes of the registry are to provide for visitation privileges in Minnesota health care facilities and to make it easier for employers to provide benefits to registered partners. See City of Minneapolis, Domestic Partners Registration, http://www.ci.minneapolis. mn.us/domestic-partner-registration/; Minneapolis Code of Ordinances §§ 142.10, 142.70. The domestic partnership registration, however, does not constitute a legal basis for a name change in the state of Minnesota, and the domestic partnership certificate is not recognized as documentary proof of a name change. We spoke to a staff person at the Minneapolis City Clerk's Office, who verified this information.

Thus, as discussed above, Cook County, Illinois, and the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, give limited recognition to same-sex couples by allowing them to register as domestic partners and by issuing domestic partnership certificates. However, a domestic partnership registration does not constitute a legal basis for a name change in either Illinois or Minnesota, and a domestic partnership certificate cannot be used as proof of a legal name change.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1502705026
PR 02705.026 - Minnesota - 02/27/2007
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:02/27/2007