State Marriage Watch: Civil Unions In Illinois, Draconian Legislation Introduced In Utah

In today’s installment of State Marriage Watch, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn will sign a bill recognizing same-sex unions, while lawmakers in Utah are considering legislation to prohibit same-sex couples from making contractual arrangements:

– ILLINOIS: This afternoon, Gov. Patrick Quinn will sign SB1716, the “Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act,” which allows gay and straight couples to enter into civil unions. They will receive some of the same benefits available to married couples, “including the right to visit a sick partner in the hospital, disposition of a deceased loved one’s remains and the right to make decisions about a loved one’s medical care.”

– WYOMING: On Friday, the House Judiciary Committee narrowly defeated House Bill 150, which would have enacted civil unions in the state. Opponents claimed civil unions were a stepping stone to marriage equality and one witness even argued that “contrary to the media’s portrayal of gay couples as loving and healthy, there were “mental and physical health risks involved” with homosexual relationships.”

– COLORADO: State Sen. Pat Steadman said he will soon introduce a measure allowing civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. In 2006, voters approved Amendment 43 to the Colorado constitution, specifying that “only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Colorado.” A 2010 poll by Greenberg Quinlan Roster Research and American Viewpoint showed that 72 percent of Coloradans support legal recognition of gay couples. Republicans hold a slight majority in the state senate (33-32) while Democrats control the house (20-15).

– RHODE ISLAND: The House Judiciary Committee will take up a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Rhode Island on Wednesday.

– UTAH: State Representative LaVar Christensen (R), who pushed through the state’s same-sex marriage ban, has “reintroduced a bill he tried to run in 2006 which prohibits same sex couples from making contractual arrangements such as wills and financial arrangements.” HB 182, slides in under the generic title ‘Voiding Transactions Against Public Policy’ but would “strip even more rights away from the same sex couples who desperately depend on contractual arrangements as Utah denies them any of the inherent protections afforded to any other couple.”

For a complete overview of the latest developments in the marriage battleground states of Rhode Island, Maryland, New York, California, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Wyoming, Iowa, and New Mexico, click here.