Illinois Civil Unions Bill Delayed Again

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:

Sadly, the bill’s undergone a number of delays due to the opposition.

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!)

  • andrew

    Hell, the bill is called the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.

    I think you need to be careful in extrapolating the meaning of a bill from its title. the “Academic Freedom” bill, of course, is a complete misnomer.

  • penguinsaur

    More proof that these ‘religious’ groups just hate gays. Or are they protecting the sanctity of civil unions?

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    I oppose civil unions, but I also oppose state-recognized marriage. I’m an advocate of “Household Corporations”, wherein any set of cohabitants (lovers, extended family, college roommates) can pool resources and gain visitation rights and even retain custody over children. Each group incorporating would have to include procedures for dissolving the corporation- essentially a pre-nup, which would be boilerplated with an eye towards removing the need for lengthy divorce proceedings.

    And so on. I just think the whole gay marriage issue is missing the real problem: the way we handle government sponsorship of relationships is just wrong. Extending a wrong thing to include more people doesn’t change the fact that it’s wrong.

    //No, I’m not poly. I can’t stand people- why would I want to be around more of them?

  • Lost Left Coaster

    Household corporations? Good luck with that one. I’m also in favor of granting flight to creatures of a porcine nature.

  • dhoffman5

    I already don’t understand any mindset that would oppose equal marriage for all people

    We do. Any man can marry any woman. That goes across the board, without regard to race, religion, economic status, or anything. I don’t have any special rights over gay people.

  • Nick

    This civil union bill seems to have replaced a similar bill that proposed changing the Illinois marriage act. My guess is this one will stay off the radar while the fight for the civil union bill continues.

  • Joel

    Did anyone catch the “that’s the way marriage has been for 6000 years comment?” Hmmm. I wonder where he got that number from? Do we need any more proof that the people opposing equality are primarily religious bigots?

  • Vincent

    I am bothered by the term “natural marriage”.
    There’s nothing natural about marriage.
    No other animal in the entire world has marriage. Marriage does not exist outside of culture.

  • Jerry Priori

    We do. Any man can marry any woman. That goes across the board, without regard to race, religion, economic status, or anything. I don’t have any special rights over gay people.

    Fine then let’s proclaim Islam the official religion of the land. Everyone is equally free to worship only Allah. The new law would not be discriminatory against Christians because nobody would be free to worship Jesus – all are equal.

    As a straight person who can marry someone of the opposite sex, whom you love and desire, you most certainly do have special rights over gay people. Or do you not know what “gay” means?

  • dhoffman5

    Or, let’s let polygamists and pedophiles (as long as the children consent of course) and people who want to marry bears have “equal rights” also. What makes gays so special? What if three of them want to marry each other?

  • medussa

    Hey, Hoffman, if you want bears to have equal rights (you said it, no one else here did), then you’ll need to have them paying taxes, allow them to serve in the military and give them citizenship rights.
    The point is, we’re talking consenting adults wanting to be able to choose their partners. You, as a straight person, can cross the border to Mexico, meet someone of the opposite sex, get married within 24 hrs and thereby give them the right to live here and gain citizenship and spend the rest of your life with them. I, on the other hand, had to let the love of my life get deported back to Germany because there was no way we could legalize our 4 year relationship, without involving a sham marriage partner (which is a felony, by the way).

    So don’t give me this “I have no Special Rights” spiel.

    If the gov’t decides I don’t get the same rights as others, then I have been made a 2nd rate citizen, in which case I want to pay less taxes, and be less bound by the laws, since I clearly get less protection from those laws.

    And yes, Joel, I did catch the 6000 years comment, further proof of the Thomas More Thinktank’s limitations.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Methinks Rep. Harris has a nice tie.

    Mealsothinks dhoffman5 is a Poe.

  • Vincent

    Hoffman may be a Poe, but I have heard some interesting discussions on polygamy.
    Pedegamy and bestiagamy obviously are ridiculous, but why not let 3 consenting adults form a union?

    From a legal stand point it’s clearly because if you don’t draw a limit the rules about succession, healthcare etc. get unwieldy. If the government is going to stick its nose in marriage, it needs to do it equally, but it will have to impose some limits.
    The solution is get government out of the marriage business.

  • Tom

    I am gay. I oppose “civil unions”, for the same reason that people opposed the “colored” water fountain, and for the same reason Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus. “Civil unions” are not equality. I will not accept second class citizenship in the land of equals.

    I’m not asking for my marriage rights: they are my birthright as an American and I will not let that be taken from me. I am stating that the US constitution demands that I have equal rights to marry, and if my boyfriend and I ever decide we want to marry, FSM help anyone who tries to stand in our way!

  • Revyloution

    Tom, I think that stepwise progress is the best approach. The civil rights movement picked off their rights one by one, and built up speed from the momentum.

    I would like to see Civil Unions available to all couples, not just homosexual couples. Then we could use the word ‘Marriage’ as a social contract, with no legal ramifications.

    Joel, I caught that too. Somehow history only goes back six thousand years. Oh, and all 6k years only had one man, one woman marriages. Ya, Right.

  • AxeGrrl

    dhoffman5 wrote:

    Any man can marry any woman. That goes across the board, without regard to race, religion, economic status, or anything. I don’t have any special rights over gay people.

    Of course you do.

    Any man can marry any woman…..but a WOMAN can’t. In that regard, you indeed do have a ‘special right’ over that gay woman.

  • AxeGrrl

    Vincent wrote:

    I am bothered by the term “natural marriage”.
    There’s nothing natural about marriage.
    No other animal in the entire world has marriage. Marriage does not exist outside of culture.

    Exactly. I was hoping Harris would call him on that….

    ‘natural marriage’ simply does not exist ~ it’s yet another example of the anti-same-sex marriage folks trying to slap the ‘unnatural’ label on homosexuals; when we all know (well, those of us who’ve had these discussions/debates zillions of times) that when the natural/unnatural issue comes up, it almost always happens like this:

    Person A: ‘homosexuality is wrong because it’s unnatural’

    Person B: ‘but homosexuality exists among animals in the wild. How could that be labelled unnatural?’

    Person A: ‘well, some animals eat their young too. just because something is ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it’s right!

    Person B: ‘uh, what?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X