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Home arrow News arrow National News arrow news arrow HRC Applauds Illinois Civil Unions Bill Signed Into Law Today
HRC Applauds Illinois Civil Unions Bill Signed Into Law Today PDF Print E-mail
Jan 31, 2011 at 05:58 PM

Law Providing State-Level Rights Takes Effect June 1, 2011

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today applauded Illinois Governor Pat Quinn for signing into law the “Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act.” The signing ceremony is planned for 4 p.m. central time today. Couples may begin obtaining civil unions and enjoying the state-level rights and responsibilities of married couples on June 1, 2011.

“Today marks a tremendous step towards equality for all families in Illinois,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “HRC commends Governor Quinn for his commitment to ensuring civil unions became law. Congratulations to Rep. Greg Harris, lead sponsor of the bill, who fought for years to ensure civil unions would become a reality, and thank you to Equality Illinois and the ACLU of Illinois for their tireless efforts on behalf of the LGBT community.”

The new law will permit both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into civil unions and receive the same benefits, protections, and responsibilities under Illinois law that are granted to spouses. Couples who enter into a civil union will not receive any rights or benefits under federal law. Illinois still does not permit same-sex couples to marry. The law explicitly allows religious entities to choose not to solemnize or officiate civil unions.

In addition to Illinois, twelve states plus Washington, D.C. have laws providing an expansive form of state-level relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C. provide marriage to same-sex couples under state law. New York and Maryland recognize out-of-jurisdiction same-sex marriages, but do not provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples in state. Five other states – California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington – provide same-sex couples with access to almost all of the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Colorado, Hawaii, Maine and Wisconsin provide gay and lesbian couples with limited rights and benefits, not all rights provided to married couples. An attorney general opinion and subsequent court ruling in Rhode Island resulted in limited recognition of out-of-jurisdiction marriages of same-sex couples. California recognized marriage for same-sex couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which purports to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality. Couples married during that window remain married under California law, but all other same-sex couples can only receive a domestic partnership within the state. The state will recognize out-of-jurisdiction same-sex marriages that occurred before November 5, 2008 as marriages and those that occurred on or after November 5, 2008 as similar to domestic partnerships.

Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state. For an electronic map showing where marriage equality stands in the states, please visit: www.HRC.org/State_Laws.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

User Comments

Comment by Cassidy on 2012-07-01 18:54:07
The following are a few qoeuts: Other things may change us, but we start and end with family Anthony Brandt "A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another."-Buddha "As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live." -John Paul II "As to the family, I have never understood how that fits in with the other ideals or, indeed, why it should be an ideal at all. A group of closely related persons living under one roof; it is a convenience, often a necessity, sometimes a pleasure, sometimes the reverse; but who first exalted it as admirable, an almost religious ideal?" -Rose Macaulay We live in a time where words and ideas are no longer our own. I find it funny how we have words that are pitched around without an understanding of the true meaning behind them. Words that have become loose in meaning have been translated for us and dictated to a norm that is to be our own, i.e. people are defining them for us. Take the qoeuts that are stated above. What do they have in common? These qoeuts show us some of the constitutions derived from the embodiment of a complex idea in the form of one word: family. Which brings us to the beg the question: What is a family? A family according to all lingusical sources is a union of a group of individuals who share a mutual place of habitation. Before we continue to dissect the issue further let's stop here for a second. Take everything that is floating in your mind behind this idea of family and anything else that may be there as well and put it away for a second. Clear your mind. Find a blank white space in your subconscious and picture one thing: a dog. I want you to picture this canine and only this particular one. Concentrate. What an intelligent and magnificent creature. One of purity and strength. With its shortly trimmed brown fur, its stubbed cut tail, majestic pose, a splash of white on its torso, and its genetic black snout that hangs on its sides. I think we can all agree that the dog that we are all thinking about is the boxer! Or is it ? Were we all picturing the boxer before I began to describe it to you? Or at the end did I just inject my dog into your mind and made you think for a second that at the end the dog was a boxer. Take this very same example, but lets change one thing: change the dog to a family. What do you picture? As we went a bit astray from what we are trying to understand in this introduction, it was essential to take you on a short detour so that you can further understand this argument that will be discovered. The meaning behind words in today's society have taken a turn for the worst as we uncover a different understanding: one of the individual. For years we lived by a meaning that was dictated as a norm for our society, i.e. words were being defined for us and not by us. Who is to tell you what dog you should be thinking about? Who is to tell you what a family is? This idea that a family is constructed of a mommy and a daddy and the children and grandparents, etc., is an idea that was defined for us to be the norm for our living. Society, its many institutions [religions], and its rulers ["elected officials"] created this idea of an Ozzie and Harriet family in which its a perfect union of its members. But what gives them the right to tell us or anyone for that matter what a family is? "Sorry Billy who lives in an orphanage but those kids that you live with are not your family." "Hey sorry Jen, but those lesbian mothers of yours and yourself do not make a family." Would anyone in the world look into the eyes of these kids and tell them this? Lets look at one more thing: marriage. When we think about marriage we think about family. They run parallel to each other. Sure a family can be formed by the union of two people who love each other but a family in the eyes of another can not form a perfect union of love? The rule only applies to a man and a woman. Oh yea and a man and his PS3 and a woman with her cat but two women or two men getting married to each other, we can't have that! I find it funny how religion and our political leaders like to step in and give their 2 cents to this assertion of marriage, but look at the qoeuts stated above. Since when should a marriage and a family be defined by our government/religion? Where does it say that a family can only be made up of a man and a woman in marriage? No where. Then why can we except LGBT families but not marriages? Problem is that unfortunately those two cents of Bull$#% that they feed us is worth gold in this society and people are afraid to give it up. Just like the dog example, the family is this day and age is the boxer.

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