Contributed by John K. Barry, HRC Director in Chicago
Yesterday, I was thrilled to see the Chicago Sun Times discuss the very real possibility of civil unions moving forward in Illinois this year. The paper’s editorial board strongly voiced their support for the legislation, while noting that civil unions are not the equivalent of marriage.
A civil union bill for same-sex couples will likely face a vote during the state Legislature’s brief veto session that begins on Tuesday. It’s time, finally, to pass a bill that opens the door to equal treatment for our gay neighbors and friends. This page has long supported gay marriage as the best and most just option for same-sex couples in Illinois, but state legislators are not ready.
In the meantime, the civil union bill will do, offering much needed relief to same-sex couples. The civil union bill would give same-sex couples many of the same benefits available to married couples, including the right to visit a partner in the hospital, to inherit a partner’s estate and to make medical decisions for a sick partner…. A civil union law, though, would be an important start, potentially putting Illinois on the path to gay marriage.
The editorial board hit the nail on the head. Civil unions provide real benefits now and brings Illinois a step closer to marriage equality. HRC is proud to be a part of a broad coalition that is working for the passage of this bill. The coalition is being led by State Representative Greg Harris, primary sponsor of the bill.