Illinois Senate OK’s civil unions for gay & lesbian couples

Posted by Carlos Santoscoy on

"A lengthy debate to recognize the unions of gay and lesbian couples in Illinois is over with Wednesday's passage of a civil unions bill in the state Senate. [See video of Senator Ricky Hendon below (h/t to Michael Crawford)]


"The bill gives gay couples many of the rights and obligations of marriage.

"The 32-24 vote came a day after House members approved the measure. The bill, sponsored by openly gay state Representative Greg Harris [a Freedom to Marry Voice for Equality], now heads to the desk of Governor Pat Quinn, who has previously pledged to sign it into law.

“'Today, Illinois took an important step forward in providing a measure of protections to same-sex couples and their families – protections of particular importance in these tough economic times,' Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, a group that lobbies for marriage equality, said in a statement.

“'With this step in the right direction, Illinois rejected arguments against fair treatment for gay people and their loved ones and acknowledged that gay couples and families exist and have the same hopes and needs as other families,' he added.

"Wolfson also urged lawmakers to follow in the footsteps of other states that have legalized the freedom to marry after first approving civil unions.

“'Having now laid a good foundation with civil union, Illinois should move swiftly to finish the job, ending exclusion from marriage for committed couples seeking the same responsibilities, same respect, and same rules.'

... "At least three leading Chicago mayoral candidates urged lawmakers to approve the bill, including lawyer Gery Chico, Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, and former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun.

"Illinois joins New Jersey in offering civil unions. Lawmakers in Hawaii are also likely to revisit the issue early next year."

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