Twitter icon

Facebook icon

About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Is this your first visit?
Contact us
External links

Recommended books

Visitors' essays
Our forum
New essays
Other features
Buy a CD of this site
Vital notes

World religions
Christian def'n
 Shared beliefs
 Handling change
 Bible topics
 Bible inerrancy
 Bible harmony
 Interpret the Bible
 Beliefs & creeds
 Da Vinci code
 Revelation 666
Other religions
Cults and NRMs
Comparing Religions

Non-theistic beliefs

About all religions
Main topics
Basic information
Gods & Goddesses
Handling change
Doubt & security
Confusing terms
End of the World?
True religion?
Seasonal events
Science vs. Religion
More information

Morality & ethics
Absolute truth

Attaining peace
Religious tolerance
Religious freedom
Religious hatred
Religious conflict
Religious violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
Ten Commandments
Abortion access
Assisted suicide
Death penalty

Same-sex marriage

Human rights
Gays in the military
Sex & gender
Stem cells
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news


Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriages & civil unions in Illinois.

2009/2010: Civil Unions bill filed. Engagement
announced in the House. Public opinion poll

horizontal rule

Sponsored link.

horizontal rule

2010 Civil Unions Bill:

Representative Greg Harris (D - 13th District) is one of the few openly gay member of the Illinois Legislature and openly a person with AIDS. 1 He filed bill SB1716 the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act with the Clerk on 2009-FEB-17.

Under the bill, same-sex couples would enjoy a few of the hundreds of rights that Illinois automatically gives to opposite-sex married couples including: making end-of-life decisions, handling probate matters, sharing nursing home rooms, and visiting partners in hospitals that deny visits by anyone but family.

As introduced the bill synopsis stated:

"Creates the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. Defines 'civil union' as a legal relationship between 2 persons, of either the same or opposite sex, established in accordance with the Act. Provides that a party to a civil union shall be entitled to the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses. Prohibits certain civil unions. Provides that the Director of Public Health shall prescribe forms for an application, license, and certificate for a civil union. Contains provisions regarding: application for a civil union license; certification of a civil union; and duties of the county clerk and Department of Public Health. Provides for dissolution and declaration of invalidity of a civil union. Provides that a marriage between persons of the same sex, a civil union, or a substantially similar legal relationship other than common law marriage, legally entered into in another jurisdiction, shall be recognized in Illinois as a civil union. Contains provisions regarding construction, application, religious freedom, severability, and other matters. 2

According to the Huffington Post, the bill:

"... would provide legal recognition of gay couples and give them some of the same benefits automatically available to married couples, including the right to visit a sick partner in the hospital, disposition of a deceased loved one's remains and the right to make decisions about a loved one's medical care."

"[It would] ... also protect the rights of religious institutions to define marriage as they choose, and will be available to any couple, same-sex or opposite-sex, in a committed relationship who are: 18 years of age or older, not in an existing marriage or civil union, and are not related. It would take effect July 2011." 3

The bill accumulated 13 co-sponsors. All were Democrats.

The bill was referred to the Rules Committee whose chairperson was Barbara Flynn Currie (D), a cosponsor of the bill.

It was assigned to the Youth and Family Committee, whose chairperson was Greg Harris (D), the author of the bill. The Committee passed the bill on 2009-MAR-05.

Sponsored link:

2010-APR-28: Rep. Deb Mell announced her engagement on the House floor:

She said:

"Two weeks ago I asked Christin Baker to marry me, and she said yes. ... While this is a happy day, and one to celebrate, it is also bittersweet. Life can be tough even on a good day, so I believe if you find that person who you want to spend the rest of your life with, regardless if you're gay or straight it should be honored and celebrated."

"I love my state. I am proud to live here. But my state does not treat me equally. ... After six years of building a life together, committing our lives to each other, I assure you that we are a family."

Her speech in the House (2 min., 28 sec) was recorded with dreadful acoustics:

Several representatives rose to congratulate Ms. Mell and Ms. Baker (6 min, 38 sec):

The couple's plan was to go together to Iowa, get married, 4 and return to Illinois where they would be recognized only as roommates by her home state.

Paul Caprio is the Executive-Director of Family-PAC, a conservative group that describes themselves as the "... leading pro-family conservative political action committee in Illinois." One of their main goals is to prevent any form of recognition of families led by same-sex spouses. Caprio pointed out that the Iowa ceremony would have no legal standing in Illinois. He said

"You have a piece of paper from Iowa and if you want to live in Iowa I guess you are married."

But until a civil unions bill is passed in Illinois, their own state would recognize them only as "legal strangers" -- as people who happen to reside in the same house. Even if it is passed and signed into law, they would not be recognized as a married couple. 5

horizontal rule

2010-SEP: Public opinion poll:

A poll conducted by the Chicago Tribune showed that 57% of the adult population favored legalizing civil unions while 32% disapproved. 6 About 11% were undecided or did not answer.

horizontal rule

This topic continues in the next essay

horizontal rule

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Representative Greg Harris," Illinois General Assembly, at:
  2. "Bill Status of HB2234  97th General Assembly," Illinois General Assembly, at:
  3. "Illinois Civil Unions Bill PASSES State House," Huffington Post, 2010-NOV-30, HuffPost Chicago, at:
  4. "Illinois Rep. Deb Mell Announces Engagement On House Floor" Joe. My. God. blog, 2010-APR-29, at:
  5. Carol Marin, "Rep. Deb Mell to Protest State Law, Marry Partner in Iowa. Announcement to come on Illinois House floor on Wednesday," NBC Chicgao, 2011-APR-27, at:
  6. "Illinois Senate approves civil unions, measure heads to Quinn," Chicago Tribune, 2010-DEC-01, at:

Copyright © 2011 & 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Posted: 2011-MAY-10
Latest update: 2012-FEB-13
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)

Sponsored link.

Go to the previous page, or to the "SSM & civil unions in Illinois" menu, or choose:

horizontal rule

Custom Search

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Purchase a CD of this web site

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Google Page Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.


Sponsored links: