Legal & Financial

Illinois Governor signs legislation offering civil unions to gay and lesbian couples

On January 31st, Illinois’ Gov. Pat Quinn will sign a new piece of legislation that will allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. The new law will allow gay and lesbian couples to use civil unions as a way to gain several of the same rights as married couples, including sharing a nursing home room to being involved in important end-of-life decisions.

Illinois House passes civil unions for gay and lesbian couples

The Illinois House voted to legalize civil unions in a move that could eventually grant gay partners some of the same spousal rights as married heterosexual couples. The 61-52 vote now passes on to the Senate. Gov. Quinn supports the move but of course it’s opposed by religious leaders.

A passage of the vote is expected in the Senate. We have a chance today to make Illinois a more fair state, a more just state and a state which treats all of its citizens equally under the law,” said Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), the bill’s lead House sponsor.

The legislation, which does not alter state law recognizing marriage as being between a man and woman, would grant gay couples new rights regarding hospital visitation, health-care decision-making and the disposal of a loved one’s remains, for example.

Contributing to Chicago Sun-Times: Fran Spielman