Illinois Legalizes Same-Sex Civil Unions

quinn-signs-civil union-bill

Illinois governor Pat Quinn signed a measure into law today that legalizes same-sex civil unions. The signing ceremony was scheduled for this afternoon at the Chicago Cultural Center.

“Within the first 48 hours of Quinn announcing he would sign the measure, more than 700 peopled RSVP’d to attend the event,” reported the Chicago Tribune. “The governor’s office expects such a large turnout that it has reserved an overflow room that will broadcast a live feed in case the main hall gets too crowded.”

The new law takes effect June 1 and it will apply to same-sex and heterosexual couples. SB1716, or the “Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act” allows both gay and straight couples to enter into civil unions, giving 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.