Let’s Pass a Civil Unions Bill This Year

Rep. Greg Harris

Representatives of the Illinois Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry met with other allies, including Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, last night to discuss our plans to promote the recognition and rights of same-sex couples in Illinois. Those in attendance included members of several faith traditions.

The group decided to come together as the Illinois Interfaith Committee for Civil Unions. Yes, it’s another long name with another long acronym, but I see it as fitting well with the work of this coalition. Some activists say that anything short of marriage rights is a second-class status and therefore an unacceptable compromise.

As for me, however, I know that social change often moves more slowly than we might hope. We currently have no recognition for same-sex couples in Illinois whatsoever, so a law allowing for civil unions – while not ideal – would represent a big step forward. Civil unions in Illinois would allow for same-sex couples to enjoy many of the rights already enjoyed by opposite-sex couples.

A law allowing for civil unions in Illinois are the short-term goal. Marriage recognized by both the state of Illinois and the federal government may be a slightly longer-term goal… or at least I hope it takes only slightly longer. But whether full marriage equality takes another year or another 20 years, I am prepared to continue advocating until that day arrives.

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