In January, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a civil union bill. "This was one of the most important bills Illinois has passed in anyone's memory," he said on Wednesday. Freedom to Marry congratulates the first couples – more than 150 in Cook County alone – who lined up at clerk's offices from Chicago to Springfield to receive civil union licenses in Illinois.
Illinois is the sixth state to offer civil unions or their equivalent, but the work is not yet done. Civil union offers loving and committed same-sex couples significant responsibilities and protections, but it falls short of the full measure of respect and clarity only a marriage can provide. Time and again states that have created civil union as a means of both giving and withholding– providing select legal protections while withholding the freedom to marry and all its meaning – have found that civil union falls far short of marriage with all its tangible and intangible significance in our lives.
Here are couples in Illinois talking about civil unions being a step towards marriage in Illinois:
Governor Quinn and Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emmanual, firm believers in the freedom to marry, must continue to lead the State forward by ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. Only then will Illinois deliver full security and dignity to all couples and their families. Said Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry, "There is no reason to have two lines at the clerk’s office when we can all share in the same responsibilities, same respect, and same rules of civil marriage."