Breaking News: Illinois Gov. Quinn signs historic civil unions legislation into law

Mon. January 31, 2011 5:01 PM by News Staff

Chicago, IL - Moments ago Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law the Illinois Religious Freedom and Protection and Civil Union Act at a signing ceremony in downtown Chicago. His signature represents a long-fought victory toward fairness for thousands of gay and lesbian couples in Illinois.

The measure was first introduced in February of 2007 by then-newly elected state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago).

The historic bill signing was held before an overflow crowd at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), state Rep. Deborah Mell (D-Chicago), and the bill's sponsors state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and state Sen. Dave Koehler (D-46th District) were on hand.

The new law, which was approved by the General Assembly in early December, becomes effective on June 1, 2011. It does not recognize same-sex marriages, but makes civil unions available for same-sex and straight couples, giving them many of the same legal rights afforded to married couples when it comes to surrogate decision-making for medical treatment, survivorship, adoptions, and accident and health insurance.

Reaction and more details coming on and the Network.