Governor Quinn Signs Law to Recognize Civil Unions in Illinois

Lawmakers, couples, and supporters gathered at the Chicago Cultural Center to witness Gov. Pat Quinn sign a historic piece of legislation into law today.

The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act will give gay and straight couples in Illinois many of the legal rights afforded to married couples.

“Today is an important day in the history of our state because today we are showing the world that the people of Illinois believe in equality for all,” said Governor Quinn. “We look forward to individuals and businesses from across the country choosing to move to Illinois where we believe that everyone is entitled to the same rights. I would like to thank Representative Harris and Senator Koehler for their hard work, and I am proud to sign this into law.”

The legislation allows civil unions to be open to all adult couples and afford them the state-level protections essential to all families. Under the act, couples will be allowed basic rights like visiting their partner in the hospital or making emergency health care decisions.

Illinois is the sixth state to recognize civil unions. The law will go into effect June 1st, 2011.