Illinois Governor to sign civil unions legislation into law

Thu. December 2, 2010 7:47 AM by News Staff

illinois gov. pat quinn in the chicago pride parade

photo credit // kevin wayne

Civil unions bill-signing ceremony likely to be in Chicago

Chicago, IL - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he will follow his conscience when he signs the landmark civil unions legislation into law before the end of the year.

"I follow my conscience. I think everyone should do that. I think that's the most important thing to do in life, and my conscience is not kicking me in the shins today,' the governor told reporters on Wednesday.

The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (SB 1716) passed to cheers in the Illinois Senate by a 32-24-1 vote Wednesday after passing in the Illinois House by a 61-52 majority vote on Tuesday. The governor got a standing ovation when he entered the Illinois Senate Wednesday during debate and on Tuesday in the Illinois House.

Gov. Quinn has confirmed he will soon sign the civil unions bill into law, but he declined to say when or where. has learned the signing will likely be in Chicago before the end of year.

With Gov. Quinn's signature, gay and lesbian couples will be able to have their unions legally recognized by the state effective July 1, 2011.

The bill, co-sponsored by openly gay State. Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), does not recognize same-sex marriages, but will provide the same spousal rights to same-sex partners when it comes to surrogate decision-making for medical treatment, survivorship, adoptions, and accident and health insurance.

The vote reflects public opinion in Illinois that same-sex couples need recognition under the law. An October 2010 poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute of likely Illinois voters shows 67.5% approve of civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples.

California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington have passed laws allowing same sex civil unions. Same-sex couples can marry in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington D.C. and Iowa.