Victory! Civil Union Bill Passes the Illinois House & Senate
On December 1, 2010, the Illinois Senate followed the lead of the Illinois House of Representatives in passing Senate Bill 1716, the Illinois Religious Freedom and Protection and Civil Union Act. The measure creates civil unions in Illinois, permitting couples – including same sex couples in our state – to enter into a relationship that provides all the basic legal state protections and responsibilities currently offered only to heterosexual couples who marry.
This is an historic and proud event for Illinois. The Illinois General Assembly, in a step toward basic fairness, recognized the essential dignity of gay and lesbian relationships in our state by authorizing civil unions. The votes in the House and Senate reflect the triumph of hope and fairness over division and hate. In a bi-partisan vote, legislators rejected the divisive and hate-filled language of opponents to SB1716, who sought to elevate their ideology over the best interests of same-sex couples – and their families – across Illinois. Thousand of couples will now breathe a bit easier and enjoy fewer worries in facing everyday life complications because of the courage and decency of every legislator who voted yes on SB1716.
Of course, this is only one step on the way to fairness. We look forward to the day when Illinois joins other states across the nation who enacted equal marriage for all persons. The action of the General Assembly reminds us that the day of equality is not far away in the Land of Lincoln.
Jill M. Metz, Esq.