STATUS: Civil union, anti-marriage law
WHAT'S HAPPENING: Advocates for the freedom to marry are working toward the passage of a freedom to marry bill in the 2013 legislative session, shoring up support in the House and Senate. On January 9, 2013, legislators introduced marriage bills in both houses of the IL legislature, and on February 14, the IL Senate voted in favor of the bill.
The marriage bill has advanced through a House committee and now awaits a full hearing and vote before the full Illinois House.
Make a donation to Freedom to Marry’s Win More States Fund today. Every single penny donated to the Win More States Fund will go directly into the work of winning in Illinois and other battleground states.
TAKE ACTION: Legislators in Illinois are currently debating the freedom to marry. You can voice your support for the bill by contacting your legislator through Equality Illinois' website.
Sign Lambda Legal's pledge to support the freedom to marry in Illinois. The pledge affirms that while civil union legislation in the state was an important step, it has not delivered a fair and just system of relationship recognition. Only marriage can protect Illinois' same-sex couples and their families from discrimination.
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 has stalled.
On May 30, 2012, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois announced twin lawsuits against Cook County on behalf of 25 same-sex couples who sought marriage licenses and were denied.
Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union launched a lawsuit in May 2012 on behalf of 25 same-sex couples in Illinois. Follow the suit at Lambda Legal.
GROUPS ACTIVELY WORKING 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.
- Human Rights Campaign is the United States' largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality.
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.
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Resources Related to Illinois
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.
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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.
Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".