What Rights Will Civil Unions Offer?

A Chicago Tribune story did a great job of summing up what this bill does and does not do for same-sex couples.

A few things it will do:

  • Protects couples from having to testify against one another in court
  • Offers surviving partner the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit
  • Guarantees surviving partner the right to automatically inherit deceased partner’s estate in the absence of a will
  • Provides surviving partner the right to survivor pension benefits
  • Allows partners to visit one another in the hospital
  • Authorizes partners to make medical decisions for one another
  • Gives couples with children joint custody
  • Requires companies providing spousal medical insurance to cover same-sex partners
  • Mandates nursing homes to permit couples to share a room

Things it won’t do:

  • Does not offer a partnership recognized by all states. Rights granted by Illinois could be lost if a couple moves or even travels in other states.
  • Does not provide any federal rights, benefits, or protections. For instance, a couple in an Illinois civil union cannot file federal taxes jointly or receive survivor Social Security benefits.

Let me know if there are any other critical points to add to either of these lists.

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One Response to “What Rights Will Civil Unions Offer?”

  1. Aydene Militello Says:

    The State of Illinois has finally recognized the voting power of the LGBT Community. The Pentagon has finally recognizeds how much they lose in Service Members who are LGBT and must live with the fear of being discharged for their genetic sexual disposition.
    Reality over ingrained prejudice based upon misunderstandings and fear is a difficult pill to swallow. It means having to admit you’re out of date, out of touch, ill informed, narrow in your view of the World as it is.
    I’m saddened that Mayor Daley will no longer be the Mayor of Chicago. Over the years I have attended his Annual LGBT Dinner and his Salute to LGBT Veterans. He’s an honorable fellow. I pray Maggie and he will have a good life after his retirement. He’s been a long time advocate in Illinois.

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