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Illinois act protects the rights of those in civil unions

The state of Illinois affords people who are in civil unions the same protections that those in traditional marriages enjoy.

The purpose of SB1716 is to aid committed couples in many areas of their lives, including dissolution and property disposition.

Illinois rules

All adult couples qualify for civil union status. However, partners who live together do not necessarily fulfill the requirements. Illinois recognizes that a civil union represents a serious commitment on the part of both parties, so applicants must first obtain a license and register their union with the state to make it official.

About the bill

SB1716 is the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. Under this act, the state extends the legal protections that married couples take for granted to all committed couples, whether they be heterosexual, same-sex or senior couples. The Act also permits Illinois to recognize civil unions performed in other states.

Benefits of the Act

The Act, passed in 2011, provides committed couples with many rights:

  • A civil union partner can add the other partner to his or her health care plan and partners can make medical decisions for each other
  • Children of a civil union are also eligible for addition to a health care plan
  • If one partner becomes hospitalized or enters a nursing home, the other partner has the right to visit or even share the room to provide comfort

Dissolution of the civil union

Along with the benefits the Act provides to the parties in a civil union, rights pertaining to ending that union are also included. The rules and procedures identified in the Act pertain to a union that becomes invalid through an annulment. They also pertain to the decision of a couple to divorce under the terms of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act and the property division that would result.

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