Thursday, December 02, 2010

Illinois Passes Civil Union Bill

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Illinois legislature yesterday gave final approval to the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. Gov. Pat Quinn has pledged to sign the bill which passed the House on Tuesday by a vote of 61-52-2 and the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 32-24-1.  The statute provides for the state to license civil unions between either same-sex or opposite-sex couples and confirms that "a party to a civil union is entitled to the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits as are afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses...." (Sec. 20).  It also provides (Sec. 15) that:
Nothing in this Act shall interfere with or regulate the religious practice of any religious body. Any religious body, Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group is free to choose whether or not to solemnize or officiate a civil union.
When signed by the governor, Illinois will become the sixth state to recognize civil unions.