Illinois becomes 6th state to allow civil unions for same-sex couples

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Photo via ACLU Illinois twitter

Yesterday, Governor Quinn signed Illinois’ civil union bill into law. The bill allows same-sex couples to participate in civil unions. Straight couples can as well if they decide not to get married. The civil union bill affords many of the protections of marriage in the state of IL, but they are not recognized by the federal government.

The law, which goes into effect on June 1, will provide same sex couples many legal protections now given to married couples, such as emergency medical decision-making powers, inheritance rights, pension benefits, adoption and parental rights, and the ability to share a room in a nursing home.

This makes Illinois the 6th state in the US to allow civil unions for same-sex couples. While they don’t get the attention that gay marriage laws attract, I actually think civil unions are hugely important. Many folks have argued that all state sanctioned ceremonies should be civil unions (gay and straight alike) and that marriage should be left with the religious institutions.

In terms of rights for queer couples, this new law means a lot for the community in Illinois.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted February 1, 2011 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I agree. I used to feel really lucky that I lived in a nation that seperated church and state. It’s really unfortunate how getting older disillusions you, because that’s obviously not the case. If we actually were what we professed to be then in my mind civil unions would be the legal term and marriage would be the religious term. And civil unions would afford all the same rights regardless of the sex of the couple.

  2. Posted February 1, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    and the ability to share a room in a nursing home.

    Really? There’s a law about this? Adults are forbidden from choosing who they share a room with, unless they have official government sanction? Yet more evil from the “Christian” right wing.

    • Posted February 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      I don’t really think that’s the point here. And in fact, adults are certainly “allowed” to choose who they live with. It’s quoted beautifully here in this blog post.

      “The law, which goes into effect on June 1, will provide same sex couples many legal protections now given to married couples, such as emergency medical decision-making powers, inheritance rights, pension benefits, adoption and parental rights, and the ability to share a room in a nursing home.”

      I don’t know if you’re familiar with nuring home practices, but as I’ve worked in a couple I’ll let you in on how it works. Married couples can share rooms, but if you’re going in as a single person (perhaps your spouse can still live at home) you are given a room-mate. If it’s not working out you can change rooms, but it’s not common practice to request a room mate upon moving in. So, if you end up in a nursing home some day maybe you should try and cough up enough for a place that will give you your own room.

One Trackback

  1. By Leftovers. « PostBourgie on February 2, 2011 at 12:48 am

    [...] Illinois moves ahead with same-sex unions; Alpha Phi Alpha goes to bat for their undocumented fraternity brother;  Should NYC install sliding doors on subway platforms to keep people from falling on the tracks?; Idris Elba, Tyler Perry, whatever, yo: same difference. Tags: Adam Smith, Janet Napolitano, Kelley Williams-Bolar | Category: Film, Media, Policy, Politics [...]

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