Illinois will become the sixth state to allow same-sex civil unions beginning next year. The Illinois House of Representatives approved the historic measure on a 61-52 vote. The legislation now moves to the Senate where it needs at least 30 votes.
The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (SB 1716) passed with a razor-thin 61-52 majority vote. Sixty votes were needed. The bill will provide the spousal rights to same-sex partners on surrogate decision-making for medical care, burial decsions, wills, adoptions, as well as accident and health insurance.
SB1716 was supported from the Democratic leadership in Springfield, including Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton. Gov. Pat Quinn campaigned on the issue and urged legislators to fast track the bill.