December 2, 2010
Illinois Becomes 11th State to Adopt Civil Unions
Illinois legislation passed yesterday will make civil unions possible effective June 1, 2011:
Illinois next year will become the 11th state to sanction same-sex couples, after the Legislature's passage Wednesday of a "civil union" bill that supporters say is a landmark human rights advancement and opponents say is an attack on traditional marriage.
The law will take effect June 1, after it's signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn, a vocal supporter.
Its passage, after years of debate, spawned political and religious showdowns around Illinois Wednesday — including a rare public tiff between the governor's office and the Catholic Church.
The bill specifies that it doesn't create a new class of marriage. But it will allow unrelated adults, regardless of gender, to share "the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits as are afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses."
Among the practical applications will be the same health insurance rights for partners as those now extended to spouses; the right to make medical decisions for an incapacitated partner; and estate and property rights after the death of a partner or dissolution of a relationship.
The bill passed the Senate 32-24-1 after passing the House by a one-vote margin a day before.
Read more here.
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