Same-Sex Civil Unions Recognized In IllinoisJune 1, 2011 No Comments
It’s Blogging for LGBT Families Day and what better news to report than Illinois’s huge step today towards the full recognition of these families.
Illinois became the sixth state to recognize civil unions between gay partners when the Illinois Civil Unions Act was signed and today is the day the law goes into effect! Regulation states that couples must wait until the day after they obtain their license to have their civil union ceremony performed, so the real celebrations will only start tomorrow.
The city of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations’ Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues will even host 30 civil union ceremonies tomorrow morning in Millennium Park to celebrate this new era.
It’s a great victory for the LGBT community in Illinois as the civil unions now give them the same hospital visitation and inheritance rights, as heterosexual married couples and allow them to file joint tax returns. It’s not quite gay marriage as these unions are not recognized outside of the county in which the license is granted, but it’s a start.
Strong opposition still rages against this law. One of the state’s Catholic dioceses preferred to close down its adoption agency rather than be forced to grant adoption and foster-care privileges to same-sex couples. They had sought an amendment to exempt religious groups from provisions of the state’s new civil unions law but were shot down.
The Illinois Family Institute and Americans for Truth about Homosexuality are also still trying to gather signatures for a ballot initiative banning civil unions. If approved, the ballot question would amend the constitution to prohibit unions. But advocates such as Equality Illinois plan to investigate if the constitutional amendment is even legal.
Let’s hope the opposition gets stopped in its tracks because I can imagine waves of LGBT couples are lining up to get the license they’ve been denied for so long. Surely there are few better ways to start the month of June and make a statement for LGBTQ Pride Month.
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