illinois civil union attorney | Chicago Illinois Family Law Blog
The passing of the Illinois civil union law was a major step towards marriage equality for same-sex couples, and though the state has not reached the point of true equality just yet, it does seem to be significantly closer. According to USA Today, Illinois lawmakers may pass a bill legalizing gay marriage to the Governor’s desk as early as January, when the General Assembly reconvenes.
As dedicated civil union lawyers in Chicago at Nottage and Ward, we applaud the efforts of Representative Greg Harris and Senator Heather Steans, who have spearheaded the push towards the legalization of same-sex marriage in the legislature. While both decline to comment on the status of roll-call votes in each chamber, Steans claims that they are closer to “being able to get it done.” And if the trend in the nation is any indication, it seems even more likely that it will, in fact, get done. Not only did President Obama speak in favor of legalizing gay marriage, but four states have legalized gay marriage or voted down bans on it since the November election.
The Democratic Party made big news when it adopted a presidential platform that embraces marriage equality for same-sex couples. Gay marriage has been the topic of much debate on a state and federal level and, for same-sex couples in Illinois, the issue has gone to court where a lawsuit against the State’s discriminatory marriage law is pending. While the law in Illinois gets sorted out, Illinois delegates are proud to support a political party that supports equal rights.
According to an article on WBNEZ.org, two Illinois delegates, a same-sex couple from Chicago, are very hopeful of the Democratic platform embracing gay marriage; not just because such a stance is a huge leap forward towards equality for all Americans, but because it hits very close to home.
The Illinois civil union law has spurred an ongoing battle between Catholic Charities and the state over the adoptive rights of same-sex couples. Under state law, adoption services under Illinois contracts are required to allow same-sex couples to adopt, as per the rights given to them by the civil union law. Catholic Charities, however, has refused to comply with the law because it contradicts the teachings of their faith. When the state declined to renew their contracts, Catholic Charities took their fight to court and still continue to fight the decision, except for the Peoria Diocese, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Illinois declined to renew its adoption services contracts with Catholic Charities of Peoria, Springfield, Joliet, and Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois in Belville when the organizations refused to provide adoption services to civil union same-sex couples, though they said that they would refer them to other agencies. This is still considered discrimination by the state and thus the cancelled contracts were upheld in court. All but the Peoria Diocese plan to appeal.
The Courier-News reports that the Public Service Committee in Kane County, one of the larger counties in Illinois, has approved a fee for civil union licenses to be implemented when civil unions become law on June 1. The fee is the same as the current fee to obtain a marriage license in the county, and was proposed by Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham.
The Committee approved the recommendation regarding the fee on Thursday, April 21. Now, the resolution goes before the county board, and if it is passed, the fee for a civil union license will be $27. A civil union certificate will cost $11. In order for the union to occur, a license is needed. However, the certificate is the evidence that the marriage occurred and needs to be filed with the county clerk’s office. Any additional copies of the civil union certificate will cost $4 apiece. Cunningham stated he believed it made the most sense to have the fee for a civil union license mirror the current fee for a marriage license.
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