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Colorado Moves Toward Approving Civil Unions

By Nottage and Ward on April 6, 2011

According to CNN, the Colorado Senate recently approved a civil unions bill that would provide same-sex couples with many of the same rights already afforded to heterosexual couples. Senate Bill 172, which was approved by a 23-12 vote, would grant the right to share medical decisions, apply for family leave, and inherit property, among other rights, to same-sex couples in a civil union. The legislation now goes to the Colorado House.

Currently under Colorado law, only a man and a woman can be married. This bill would authorize two unmarried adults to enter into a civil union, regardless of their gender. Previously, in 2006, voters in Colorado rejected a domestic partnership measure.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, in the United States, Washington, Oregon, New Jersey, Nevada, and California allow same-sex couples to have access to nearly all of the state-level benefits of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships. Additionally, this year, the governors of Illinois and Hawaii signed civil union bills into law.

In Illinois, the “Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act” goes into effect on June 1and will grant same-sex couples the right to enter into civil unions and the right to many benefits that were previously only enjoyed by heterosexual couples, including health insurance, parental rights, healthcare decision rights, and more.

Entering into a civil union has many benefits. However, there are important distinctions between a civil union and marriage, which should be considered prior to entry into such a union. The Chicago civil union lawyers at Nottage and Ward can answer your questions about civil unions in Illinois and help you understand its impact. For over 20 years, our attorneys have practice family law exclusively, including domestic partnership agreements, child custody issues, and more. To learn more, call 312-332-2915.

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