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Watch: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn Signs Civil Union Bill Into Law


Illinois governor Pat Quinn signed Illinois' civil union bill into law late this afternoon.

Watch Quinn speak and sign the bill, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Sun-Times reports:

“Here we are in 2011 on the eve of Abraham Lincoln’s 202nd birthday and I think this is very special,” Quinn said as 20 politicians joined him on stage and hundreds of supporters packed a hall in the Chicago Cultural Center. “We believe in civil rights and we believe in civil unions.”

With the move, Illinois joins five other states and the District of Columbia in establishing statewide laws to provide the equivalent of state-level spousal rights to same sex couples.

The new law provides more than 650 spousal benefits and protections.

“If you enter a civil union, you can now visit your loved one in the hospital to make medical decisions and not be turned away. You can take time off to care for your partner and not lose your job,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “You can build and protect your family.

“This legislation represents a giant step toward equality.”

The law takes effect June 1.

Watch Quinn speak and sign the bill, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Thanks for putting this up! Was hoping to see it today!

    Posted by: Brian | Jan 31, 2011 7:09:29 PM

  2. "Illinois joins five other states and the District of Columbia in establishing statewide laws to provide the equivalent of state-level spousal rights to same sex couples." ... Why does the Sun-Times suck at journalism?

    Posted by: Bruno | Jan 31, 2011 7:35:07 PM

  3. meh...forgive me but i'm so underwhelmed by this

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Jan 31, 2011 7:51:20 PM

  4. not that it really matters, but wasn't Lincoln born Feb 12? How is today the eve of his birthday?

    Posted by: alex | Jan 31, 2011 8:02:54 PM

  5. Only 650? That's called separate and not even equal. I hate to say it but I guess we'll just have to settle for what we can get. Meanwhile, Indiana has a constitutional ban. I sincerely hope our neighbors to the west enjoy their special rights.

    Posted by: Baraeris | Jan 31, 2011 8:40:02 PM

  6. Bravo to the ILLINI state! Bravo ....

    Posted by: ayct | Jan 31, 2011 8:40:31 PM

  7. Civil Unions today, Equality tomorrow. This is a Great first step.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Jan 31, 2011 9:23:43 PM

  8. "Teacher says every time a State declares Marriage Equality by Civil Union or Civil Marriage Brian Brown has to hit Maggie Gallagher in the poop chute!"

    Posted by: alexInBoston | Jan 31, 2011 9:29:03 PM

  9. I guess separate but equal is a great step forward. really.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Jan 31, 2011 9:46:34 PM

  10. Screw everyone on this post making disparaging remarks about this bill; envy is a bitter pill they have to swallow now that they do NOT have at least the same rights in their pithy state(s) as we now do in Illinois.

    I am a proud Chicagoan and fought hard for this bill - this is a GREAT step forward for GLBT rights!

    I for one, do NOT believe in gay marriage as it has always been a sacrament (check your history book girls) of the evil Roman Catholic Church and has no place in our laws if you are a firm believer of separation of church and state. As an agnostic I would NOT endorse a religious act such as marriage - ever thought of it that way?

    Civil unions should be stronger than religious act(s) in this country and we should stand together on that issue.

    Thank you Equality Illinois who fought long and hard for this, Rep Greg Harris, and for the Illinos state assembly and Gov. Quinn for getting this in place.

    This is a historic time for the United States regarding GLBT rights and should be celebrated as such.

    (Bloody cheek of those stupid bitches pulling my tongue.....)

    Posted by: CARIBTONY | Jan 31, 2011 9:51:23 PM

  11. Separate but equal!!! Except under federal law!!!! woohoo!

    Posted by: X | Jan 31, 2011 10:02:07 PM

  12. “This legislation represents a giant step toward equality.”

    That should give the fundies all the ammunition they need to blow a gasket.

    @CaribTony - yep, civil unions ARE a great step forward. They are a stepping stone. Toward full equal rights. It doesn't matter whether Americans are entitled to a civil institution called marriage, a religious confirmation of that event, also called marriage, or a joining ceremony called Roger's Feast of Togetherness - if some Americans can take part, then ALL must be able to take part.

    If you don't want anything to do with marriage, you are free not to marry. To those of us who want equal rights, whether or not we will actively participate in any particular one of them, marriage is the goal line in this struggle.

    But yes, by all means, let's celebrate what's happening in Illinois. A wonderful step forward. Sincerely fantastic!

    Posted by: Zlick | Jan 31, 2011 10:43:24 PM

  13. Hello ,I like this Blog post very much and will inform my friends to visit this high quality website

    Posted by: horoscope | Feb 1, 2011 3:43:44 AM

  14. Still, not marriage! It is useless in my humble opinion. Gay Marriage for all!

    Posted by: Jeff Dunivant | Feb 1, 2011 5:38:13 AM

  15. I am proud to say I live in Illinois---this is an important step toward marriage equality and full civil rights for my gay neighbors, colleagues, friends and other loved ones-----we are starting to see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

    Posted by: irisgirl | Feb 1, 2011 9:45:40 AM

  16. Congrats to the Governor and all of those who fought to get this done. Welcome to the growing list of states that reject bigotry and focus on human rights! Once your citizens see that the sky doesn't fall, they'll come around to recognize full marriage.

    Posted by: wimsy | Feb 1, 2011 10:16:57 AM

  17. Proud Illinoisan here!

    Posted by: Damen | Feb 1, 2011 11:07:53 AM

  18. CUs definitely are not useless. They are, as others have noted, an important step forward towards equality. That's certainly been the case in other states. And they provide immediate protections for gay families who may not have the luxury of waiting until we have full federal equality. Congratulations to all those who made this happen.

    @CaribTony: Marriage may be a "sacrament" in your eyes, and therefore somehow inappropriate for gay people (never mind that some gay people are religious), but in reality the legal protections and responsibilities of marriage have nothing to do with the church. The church has the right to sanction whichever marriages they see fit; civil marriage law, on the other hand, is none of their business. By all means, celebrate the progress in Illinois, but your personal beliefs about marriage are at odds with the fight for true equality, and that means all couples having the freedom to marry.

    Posted by: Ernie | Feb 1, 2011 11:18:43 AM

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