illinois civil union lawyer | Chicago Illinois Family Law Blog
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.
The passing of Illinois’ civil union law has not only been cause for celebration for same-sex couples, but for wedding businesses as well. According to an ABC7 news report, Illinois wedding businesses are seeing substantial gains as more same-sex couples celebrate their civil unions. The civil union law has provided the catalyst for economic growth in a recession, albeit for a very specific niche.
Since the Illinois civil union law took effect on June 1, almost 1,500 civil union licenses have been issued only in Cook County. According to a Chicago Sun-Times article, 831 of those were issued within the first month of passing the civil union law. The first civil unions were celebrated by state and city officials on June 2 in Millennium Park. As same-sex couples see others celebrating their civil unions, it seems to relieve any misgivings of entering into and celebrating their own, which then encourages others.
As the nuances of Illinois’ civil union law come into focus, we continue to discuss the new benefits that civil union couples in the state have been given in our ongoing blog series. This post discusses what rights civil union spouses are given in relation to auto and property insurance.
Do insurers have to give civil union couples the same joint policies and discounts offered to married couples?
Yes. Insurers are required to offer the same contracts and policies to civil union couples as offered to married couples. If rates and/or discounts are offered based upon marital status by an insurer, they are required to treat civil union couples and married couples identically.
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