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Illinois state Senate passes civil union bill

Bryan Alaspa's picture

Just a few hours after the House passed the bill that would provide legal recognition for same-sex couples, the Senate passes it as well. According to NBC 5 news, from Chicago, the bill now just awaits signature by Governor Pat Quinn to become law.

The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, also known as SB 1716, got through the senate vote by a 32-24 margin. The bill now heads to the desk of the governor and if he signs it, it will become law. Quinn has already voiced support for the act, so it seems likely that it will become law.

“A day that will always be remembered”

According to NBC 5, Governor Quinn stated, “I think this date, this day, will always be remembered as a day that something special happened that made our state better.”

The act would give legal recognition to homosexual couples. This is not the same as allowing gay marriage, but it would afford much of the same rights to gay couples as marriage would. The Illinois state constitution would not change and the wording in that document officially declares that a marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

There is opposition to the act, however. The Catholic church out of Chicago has condemned it. Opponents say it is a first step toward gay marriage. However, proponents make the same claim while some, supporting gay marriage, say the act does not go far enough.

Some of the senators argued that it was foolish for the state legislature to be debating this when the state of Illinois faces a massive budget deficit. The state is currently facing a serious crisis over its finances.

If Governor Quinn does sign the act into law Illinois would become the sixth state to give recognition to civil unions. When the act is signed into law, civil unions would be available to interested couples by July 1, 2011.

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