Thursday, March 22, 2007

NEWS: Civil Union Bill passes Illinois House Committee

 An Illinois House committee passed a bill today (March 21) that would extend legal recognition and many of the benefits of civil marriage to same sex couples. The Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act (HB1826) passed the Illinois House Human Services Committee with a vote of 5-4 today. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.
HB1826 guarantees many of the rights and responsibilities to persons in civil unions that are currently granted to persons in civil marriages. Among those rights are the ability to participate in healthcare visitation and decision making for one's partner, survivor benefits and the right to make disposition decisions about deceased partner's remains.
The bill also affirms religious institutions' right not to recognize such unions or to solemnize a civil union.
"While this bill does not provide for recognition of same-sex marriages in the State of Illinois, it does give gay couples legal recognition and many of the same benefits and responsibilities of marriage," said Rick Garcia, political director of Equality Illinois. "It is a step in the right direction for full equality in Illinois."
PFLAG Oak Park recognizes the leadership of the bill's sponsor, Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago); and the support of Human Services Committee members who voted for the bill: Representative Naomi Jakobsson (D-Champaign); Representative Constance Howard (D-Chicago); Representative Annazette Collins (D-Chicago); Representative Elizabeth Coulson (R-Glenview); and Representative Al Riley (D-Matteson)