Thursday, December 2, 2010

Illinois State Senators Hutchinson, Wilhelmi, vote to recognize civil unions in Illinois

The Illinois State Senate passed SB 1716 which would recognize civil unions in Illinois.  According to the Illinois Senate Democrat's webpage,:
"The legislation was debated at length this week in both the House and the Senate. The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday 32-24-1 and Governor Pat Quinn has stated his intent to sign the measure.
Under the legislation, Illinois for the first time would recognize civil unions, thereby granting certain rights and responsibilities to same sex – and opposite sex – couples who enter into the unions.
Some of the rights would include the ability to :    
-Make medical decisions as is afforded to opposite sex spouses
-Share nursing home rooms;
-Have hospital visitation rights, as family;
-Obtain employer-based health insurance if offered to spouses;
-Share in retirement benefits;
-Receive inheritance."
State Senator Toi Hutchinson, whose 40th district includes much of Eastern Will County, voted in favor of the bill, as did State Senator AJ Wilhelmi, who represents the 43rd District.
Hutchinson spoke on the floor of the Senate during debate regarding SB 1716.  The following is a transcript of live blogging of that debate from the Illinois Review:
"Senator Toi Hutchinson -- My husband was born into an interracial marriage.  They chose where they lived as to where interracial marriage were allowed.  There are couples in marriage -- many persons chose not to participate in the sacrament of marriage.  This does nothing to confer federal rights of marriage, this bill doesn't take anything from anyone. 
In my home, we teach our children those principles of kindess and charity.  My children hear that gay people deserve the same respect everyone else does.  I care about all that live in my 40th District.  Not just the ones that look like me.  This bill is about fairness and equality.  We will make this decision not in fear of the next election.  I urge an Aye vote."