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Illinois May Soon Offer Family Leave for Civil Union Spouses

By Nottage and Ward on March 12, 2012

One of the most difficult obstacles for civil union spouses to overcome in being awarded certain rights in Illinois is the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. The federal government affords certain rights and benefits under that definition to married couples, which are not afforded to same-sex civil union couples. According to WJBC, Illinois lawmakers are trying to work around this obstacle on the state level.

The Illinois civil union law states that civil union spouses are entitled to the same rights and benefits as those that are married, and so if the civil union law is to remain, certain measures should be taken. Illinois legislators are currently considering expanding certain medical benefits given to married couples to include same-sex civil union couples, more specifically, the benefit of medical leave. The proposed Family Medical Leave Act (HB 4724) would give employees 12 weeks of unpaid leave to tend to a child or sick partner. Though the proposed medical leave would only cover businesses with at least 50 employees, it is nonetheless a step in the right direction to combat the restrictions civil union couples face due to federal laws.

Same-sex civil union couples, domestic partners, and same-sex married couples across the nation face many challenges and will continue to do so while the federal government maintains its position. Equality for all couples is a long process but a worthy goal.

If you are considering entering into a civil union in Illinois or are already in a civil union and have questions about your legal rights, the committed civil union attorneys in Chicago at Nottage and Ward can provide you with the answers you need. Call us today at (312) 332-2915 for a consultation.

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