Illinois Senate Passes Civil Union Bill; Governor Has Promised to Sign

An historic day in the Land of Lincoln!

Illinois Following passage in the House yesterday, the Illinois Senate has passed the civil union bill in a 32-24-1 vote. 

From Lambda Legal:

"The Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act, establishing legal protections for same-sex couples across the state.

"Same-sex couples in Illinois, many together for decades, will finally have the legal protections to take care of each other and their children," said Jim Bennett, Regional Director of Lambda Legal's Midwest Regional Office in Chicago. "Same-sex couples and their families faced a range of barriers to things that other couples take for granted, including spousal health benefits and hospital visitation - the goal of this law is to correct those problems. While all couples deserve the right to marry, all of us in the Land of Lincoln can be proud of this important step forward."

The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act, first introduced by Representative Greg Harris in March 2007, and in the Illinois Senate by Senator David Koehler, passed 61-52 in the House on Tuesday and 32-24 in the Senate today. The new law includes provisions for hospital visitation and healthcare decision making.

Lambda Legal's staff provided extensive legal analysis and drafting assistance for the Act approved today, as well as public education and legislative advocacy pressing for its passage.

Chicago Pride has a good wrap-up of the vote, adding this:

"State Sen. and Rev. James Meeks (D-Chicago), who is running for Chicago Mayor, was the only Democrat to cross party lines to vote against the bill. State Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) is the only senator who voted present. 'I believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, and that was the impetus behind my vote,' Meeks told reporters after the vote. The prominent south side minister maintains a contentious relationship with Chicago's LGBT community over his anti-gay stance."

Meeks, you may recall, said in September that he would address gay rights as mayor if he got bored enough.

Governor Pat Quinn has promised to sign the bill.

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  1. The complainers have the standard far left pathology. They need to complain, so nothing is ever good enough. Worse, they actually sabotaqe our movement with over reach and bad strategy, so they'll also have failures to complain about. I've watched them do it for thirty years, and it's starting to make my skin crawl.
    That said, this victory is sweet, coming from the legislature and from a rural state.
    It's too bad the complainers have controlled our strategy for so long. We might have exploited the polls showing that a majority support CUs. We might have had many easy victories in the states, and been able to put our real weight into enda.
    That said, this news is fabu.

    Posted by: Wilberforce | Dec 2, 2010 11:52:10 PM

  2. "Illinois Civil Unions Bill Passes Senate, Gov. Quinn Will Sign Into Law
    Greg Harris
    Less than 24 hours after it was passed by the Illinois House of Representatives, the state Senate voted to approve a measure that would allow gay couples to enter into civil unions.

    Governor Pat Quinn has already pledged to sign SB1716, the ""Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act,"" which was co-sponsored by openly gay Rep. Greg Harris.

    The measure passed in the Senate by a 32-24-1 vote Wednesday, and the passed the Illinois House by a 61-52 majority vote on Tuesday.

    ""This is a legacy vote,"" Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said on the Senate floor. ""It makes a statement about the justice for which we stand."" The Chicago Tribune reports that Steans was referencing the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, urging colleagues to bend ""the moral arc of justice.""

    Civil unions would provide legal recognition of gay couples and give them some of the same benefits automatically available to married couples, including the right to visit a sick partner in the hospital, disposition of a deceased loved one's remains and the right to make decisions about a loved one's medical care. "

    Posted by: vi nam | Oct 14, 2011 9:38:36 PM

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