Illinois Reaches 5,000 Inferior Civil Unions As Attorney General Stands For Marriage Equality

There is a lot of exciting news to report out of Illinois for same-sex couples. Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) has announced she will be working to support lawsuits from Lambda Legal and the ACLU arguing for marriage equality under the state’s constitution. The suits name Cook County Clerk of Courts David Orr as the defendant, but he supports same-sex marriage as well. With Democratic majorities in both chambers of the legislature, it remains unclear if any party will actually argue against the suits in court. Conservative groups will surely try, but unlike with California’s Proposition 8, there isn’t a ballot initiative to defend, so it seems unlikely any outside groups would actually have standing to intervene on behalf of discrimination.

New research shows that Illinois needs marriage equality. In the year since the state legalized civil unions, 5,000 couples have taken advantage of them, but unfortunately, those unions have not been treated equally. Here are some of the many situations in which same-sex couples have experienced unfair treatment:

  • Filing for taxes.
  • Obtaining health insurance.
  • Buying a house.
  • Getting a civil union in all counties.
  • Applying for a birth certificate in both parents’ names.
  • Picking up or dropping off a prescription for a sick civil union partner at a pharmacy.

Clearly, civil unions aren’t working in Illinois, just as they’ve been proven not to in New Jersey. It seems, though, that there won’t be anybody to stand up and argue otherwise in court, which means marriage equality could be a shoe-in for Illinois in the near future.