The Illinois General Assembly is expected to vote on a civil unions bill during this veto session, and Lambda Legal urges the Illinois House and Senate to provide much needed protections for same-sex couples.
“Committed same-sex couples in Illinois, many who have kids and have been together for decades, are legal strangers under the law,” said Jim Bennett, Regional Director of Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office in Chicago. “We urge the General Assembly to pass the civil union bill and bring much needed relief to the hardships these families face.”
The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act would better protect the state’s committed same-sex couples and their families by providing a range of legal protections including hospital visitation and health care decision making rights. Presently, Illinois law does not recognize same-sex couples, leaving them and their children vulnerable.
In the United States, many jurisdictions provide some form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples either through marriage, civil union or domestic partnership laws. Same-sex couples can marry in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington D.C. and next door in Iowa. Other states provide same-sex couples with legal rights through civil unions or domestic partnership laws.
An October 2010 poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute of likely Illinois voters shows 67.5% approve of civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples. An August 2010 Newsweek poll shows that nationally, 55% support civil unions, showing a 15% increase since 2004.
“Passage of civil unions is urgent,” says Chicago resident Angelica Lopez. “My partner and my daughter deserve legal recognition as my immediate family, and this cannot wait any longer.”