Illinois Civil Unions
December 1, 2010 by staff
Illinois Civil Unions, A Less than 24 hours after being passed by the House of Representatives of Illinois, the State Senate voted to approve a measure that would allow gay couples to enter civil unions.
Governor Pat Quinn has already promised to sign SB1716, the “Illinois Religious Freedom and Civil Protection Act Union”, which was co-sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris openly gay.
The measure passed by the Senate by a vote of 32-24-1 Wednesday and passed the Illinois House by a majority vote on Tuesday 61-52.
“This is a legacy vote,” Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) told the Senate. “It makes a statement about justice for which we find ourselves.” The Chicago Tribune reports that Steans was referring to the movement Civil Rights and Martin Luther King, urging his colleagues to bend “the moral arc of justice.”
Civil unions allow legal recognition of gay couples and give them the same benefits automatically to married couples, including the right to visit a sick partner in hospital, the disposition of a deceased loved home and the right to take decisions about a loved one to medical care.
The Illinois Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act will also protect the rights of religious institutions to define marriage as they see fit, and will be available to all same-sex or opposite sex in a relationship that is : 18 or more, not an existing marriage or civil union, and are not linked. It takes effect in July 2011.
Supporters of the bill should pass the state Senate, but many observers were curious to know how Senator James Meeks vote. Meeks finally voted against the civil union’s bill, which is consistent with its history, but an accurate shot in the arm for his campaign for mayor.
Meeks serves as pastor of Salem Baptist Church of Chicago, and has made numerous defamatory statements against hmosxls in the past. In 2007 he was named a “major black religious voices in the anti-gay” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Since announcing his candidacy for mayor, he tried to reconcile with the gay community-base votes of electors in Chicago.
The Capitol Fax Blog Meeks spoke before Wednesday’s vote:
Senator James Meeks said this morning that he intended to vote “No” on the civil union’s bill when it comes to a vote today.
This is not really a surprise since Meeks record “has not exactly been pro-gay. But there was speculation that he might change his mind now that he is a candidate for mayor of Chicago. But Meeks said if he voted for the bill, it would be considered a flip-flopper who was pandering for votes ahead of the election of the mayor and he planned to stick to his principles.
Meeks, a Democrat, told reporters after the vote that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, even if the vote has not been done on gay marriage.
Many legislators have Twitter to congratulate Rep. Greg Harris on winning. The Harris openly gay co-sponsored the bill and worked tirelessly for its passage.
“We are fortunate today to the Illinois state fairer, more just a state and a state that treats all its citizens equal before the law,” Harris said on the House floor Tuesday. “We have a chance here, as leaders have had in previous generations, to correct injustice and we move down the path to freedom.”
While most debates on the floor of the Senate was in support of the bill, some opponents to voice their opposition to it.
“Why civil unions now?” Sen. Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora) has requested, according to the Chicago Tribune. “. . . We are the laughingstock of the incompetence of government mismanagement and misplaced priorities, and our one-party (Democratic) leadership spends our time on same-sex civil unions. ”
On Tuesday, Rep. Ron Stephens Republicam blamed “hmosxlity” open for the fall of Rome, which implies that civil unions would lead to the decline of American civilization.
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