Illinois

STATUS:

Marriage (Takes Effect State-Wide June 1; Some Counties Currently Have the Freedom to Marry)

WINNING MARRIAGE:

 On November 20, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed the freedom to marry into law after it was approved by the IL House on November 5 and the IL Senate on February 14. 

A broad-based coalition of marriage supporters in the state formed Illinois Unites for Marriage in order to show legislators in the state that it's time for marriage in Illinois. 

Same-sex couples were schedule to begin marrying in Illinois on June 1, 2014, but in February 2014, a federal judge ruled that in Cook County, the law must take effect immediately, since anti-marriage laws are unconstitutional. Several other counties followed the order, while other counties will wait until June 1.

HISTORY:  

On January 12, 2011, Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act into law after it was approved by the state legislature in December 2010.  The law provides some protections to same-sex couples and their families, but these protections are no substitute for the full measure of respect, clarity, security, and responsibilities of the freedom to marry. It took effect on June 1, 2011, when the first civil unions in Illinois occurred.

In February 2012, Rep. Greg Harris introduced the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act in the House. Despite vocal support from Gov. Quinn and other critical leaders, including Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, the bill stalled, and in 2013, on January 9, legislators introduced marriage bills in both houses of the IL legislature again.

On February 14, the IL Senate voted in favor of the bill. The marriage bill advanced through a House committee in 2013, but the session ended before the House scheduled a vote for the bil. During the fall veto session, on November 5, 2013, the Illinois House took up the bill and voted in favor of the freedom to marry.

Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law on November 20, 2013. 

GROUPS THAT WORKED ON MARRIAGE:

  • Illinois Unites for Marriage is the statewide coalition working to pass the freedom to marry in the IL state legislature. 
  • Equality Illinois is the central statewide organization working to secure, protect and defend equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Illinois.
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, the state Constitution, and state and federal human rights laws. 
  • Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide. 

RECENT POLLING:

50% of residents in Illinois support marriage for same-sex couples by a historic 21-point margin. Only 29% are opposed. (Crains/Ipsos, February 2013)

NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:

According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 23,049 same-sex couples are living in Illinois, representing 4.8 same-sex couples per 1,000 households. 

Blog Posts Related to Illinois

One border and 30 miles make all the difference in how these same-sex couples are treated

To illustrate the reality of these untenable marriage laws, we spoke with two couples who have led similar lives and yet, because of the state border between Illinois and Indiana are treated dramatically differently when it comes to accessing simple respect for their relationship.

Litigation Round-Up: Where marriage cases stand in the federal appellate courts

After today's great victory in Ohio, it's a good time to check in on the state of marriage litigation across the country. In nine states, marriage litigation is currently pending at the federal appellate level in five different Circuit Courts.

Illinois Republicans who voted for the freedom to marry sweep primaries

Yesterday, March 18, three Illinois House Republicans who voted in favor of Illinois’ freedom to marry bill last year won their primary challenges, in spite of aggressive targeting this month by anti-marriage opponents.

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Resources Related to Illinois

Southern Poverty Law Center: 18 Anti-Gay Groups and Their Propaganda

The Southern Poverty Law Center provides a detailed listing of anti-gay groups know for their dangerous propaganda aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Pew Poll Finds Growing Support for Freedom to Marry Among Evangelicals, Majority Support Among Youth

A comprehensive Pew poll found majority support for the freedom to marry among young people, college graduates and Catholics, with growing support among all other religious categories.

Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey

Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".

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