There is legislation in flux in the Illinois General Assembly that would extend equal rights to GLBT people. It’s HB2234 — the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act:
[HB2234] [d]efines “civil union” as a legal relationship between 2 persons, of either the same or opposite sex, established in accordance with the Act. Provides that a party to a civil union shall be entitled to the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses.
I already don’t understand any mindset that would oppose equal marriage for all people, but I get that religious people have their beliefs.
I *really* don’t get why anyone would oppose civil unions. The majority of Americans support them (around 60%) and that number’s growing quickly.
Religious groups in Illinois are opposing it because they think this legislation will somehow impact them when, for example, it comes to hiring. (How will they be able to discriminate if this bill passes?!) It won’t affect them, of course. Religious groups will be able to function as usual. Hell, the bill is called the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.
You can see the bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Greg Harris, handily take down every argument of an opponent here:
State Rep. Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat, said he’ll ask to have that deadline extended. A spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, also a Chicago Democrat, said Madigan already extended the deadline once, but the spokesman had not had a chance to discuss the topic again with the speaker.
Regardless, at the moment Harris acknowledges he does not have the votes and said he would not bring the proposal to a vote in the House until he does.
“I am beginning to wonder if there is any reason for someone to oppose this bill other than that they oppose basic fairness to gay people and lesbians,” said Harris, who is gay.
The Daily Herald editorial board can’t figure out the reason for the holdup:
Beyond polls, this boils down to a question of fairness. Same-sex couples do not seek special rights. They should be able to make emergency medical decisions just as married couples do. There are horrific examples of partners being denied access in an emergency. They should have access to state spousal benefits, including survivor benefits. They should be able to file civil actions based on spousal status. They should have the right to control the disposition of remains when a partner dies. They should have the right to share a nursing-home room. The list goes on.
So how can you help? If you live in Illinois, call or write or visit your representative and tell them to vote for this bill. And to vote for it soon.
I just sent an email to my rep. I hope you’ll join me and do the same.
(Thanks to Pius for the link!)