Illinois has made civil unions for same sex couples legal. While it does not equate to marriage, and the state will continue to define marriage as one man and one woman, it’s a step in the right direction, and a salvation for couples in the state who are faced with discrimination in hospital visitation, property rights, etc.
About 1,000 people crowded into the Chicago Cultural Center to watch Quinn, a Democrat, sign the measure that supporters call a matter of basic fairness and opponents decry as a threat to the sanctity of traditional marriage.
“We believe in civil rights and we believe in civil unions,” Quinn said before signing the bill to a roar of cheers and applause.
Currently five U.S. states allow civil unions and another five states allow same sex marriage. In California, a decision is expected soon on whether Proposition 8, the ballot measure that overturned the right of same sex marriage here, will itself be overturned, which would make California the sixth state to make same sex marriage legal. California’s case is particularly interesting since same sex marriage was granted by the Supreme Court, then overturned by the people. That proposition was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge and is now in the process of appeal.