Dec 02, 2010

Illinois Civil Union Bill Passes

Yesterday, the Illinois legislature passed a civil union bill establishing a separate-but-equal relationship in the form of civil unions that come with all the rights and obligations of marriage, for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has promised to sign the bill, which would become effective on July 1, 2011.

To enter a civil union, both partners must both be over 18, not married or in a civil union with someone else, and not closely related. There's no residency requirement. And like California, Illinois provides that the civil union comes with continuing jurisdiction in the event of a divorce--in other words, even if the partners don't live in Illinois any more when they separate, they still can ask the state to grant their divorce. Illinois will recognize marriages, domestic partnerships, and civil unions entered into in other states--by deeming them all civil unions under Illinois law. 

With this change, Illinois joins California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington state in providing for marriage-equivalent relationships for same-sex couples.