BY PAUL SCHINDLER -Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, a Democrat, will sign that state’s civil union law on January 31 at the Chicago Cultural Center in the heart of the Loop, according to ChicagoPride.com.
The bill was approved by the State Senate in a 32-24 vote on December 1. The day before, the House of Representatives approved it 61-52. The bill’s title is the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, a phrase intended to quell unfounded notions that giving gay and lesbian couples relationship recognition represented an attempt to force religious bodies to offer union blessing at odds with their teachings.
Despite that formulation, the measure faced stiff opposition from the Catholic Conference of Illinois as well as the National Organization for Marriage, which is based in Washington, ChicagoPride.com reported.
An October 10 poll by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute found that two-thirds of likely voters in Illinois favor civil unions or full marriage equality for same-sex couples.
Illinois will join New Jersey, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington with comprehensive partnership rights through civil unions or equivalent structures. Only Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia offer full marriage equality, though even those unions enjoy no federal recognition, due to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.