Today the Illinois Senate on passed a civil unions bill by a 32-24 vote. The vote comes just days after the House passed the same bill 61-52. The bill now goes to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who has  been a vocal supporter of the bill and is expected to sign the it into law

The bill, introduced by Rep. Greg Harris and passed by both the House and Senate, would permit both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into civil unions and receive the same benefits, protections, and responsibilities under Illinois law that are granted to spouses.  The bill, however, does not provide for same-sex marriages.

In addition to Illinois, ten states plus Washington, D.C. offer state-level relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples.  Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C. provide committee LGBT couples the freedom to marry.  New York and Maryland recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Five other states—California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington —provide same-sex couples with civil unions or domestic partnerships.

It is important to recognize that despite victories such as this,  same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state.  For an electronic map showing where marriage equality stands in the states, please visit:

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