There have been many changes to the laws regarding same-sex relationships in Illinois over the years; however, the biggest change of all came today when the U.S. Supreme Court held that gay marriage is a fundamental right in all 50 states.
The 5-4 decision came as a hard-earned victory for Illinois advocates who have been fighting for marriage equality for years. The Chicago Tribune reported that the decision is likely the most impactful victory for same-sex couples in U.S. history, and means there is no more distinction between gay marriage and heterosexual marriage.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Illinois since June 2014, but the decision is still meaningful for same-sex couples in the state. As the director of the LGBT and HIV Project at the ACLU of Illinois explained, knowing that their marriage is accepted in all 50 states is extremely important to the dignity of married same-sex couples in Illinois.
Additionally, he said that it’s important for same-sex spouses to know that when they travel to other states, they don’t have to worry about not having their marriages recognized if their spouse ends up in an accident or in the hospital.
The ruling also will make it much easier for married same-sex couples throughout the country to end their unions by divorce. Up until now, many same-sex couples residing in states with gay marriage bans have traveled to one of the many states that allowed the unions in order to tie the knot.
However, ending the marriage became very problematic for some of these couples after their home states refused to recognize the marriage by granting a divorce and the states that they were married in had residency requirements for divorce.
With the Supreme Court’s ruling, this will no longer be a problem faced by same-sex couples as all states will now have to recognize gay marriage as well as gay divorce.