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As the November elections get closer, the debate over same-sex marriage rages on in Illinois and across the country. Recent announcements by CEOs and political parties have added fuel to the fire. Over the last two years, there have been major changes in Illinois as to the rights of same-sex couples. Last year, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a law legalizing civil unions between couples of the same sex. Furthermore, as this blog mentioned in the past, a lawsuit was also filed seeking to legalize gay marriage in Illinois.

Recently, Governor Quinn has restated his support for same-sex marriage and for President Obama’s stance on the issue. He said that he will continue to advocate for gay marriage. Additionally, he claimed that he would sign a law that legalized marriage for same-sex partners if the legislature created such a bill.

While this is encouraging news for many same-sex couples, until same-sex marriage is legalized in Illinois, same-sex partners will need to take extra precautions to ensure their rights are protected.

Without the right paperwork, same-sex couples may not have the decision-making powers in times of crisis. A life partner agreement between the partners can help make it so each partner can be protected in case of unforeseen circumstances, including the end of the relationship. Other documents like power of attorney, living wills and other estate planning tools can also help to ensure decision making power in case of medical emergency.

If same-sex marriage does become legal in Illinois, these extra steps will no longer be necessary. But for now, couples need these protections.

Source: WBEZ 91.5, “Gov. Quinn reiterates support for same-sex marriage,” Jewell Washington, Aug 9. 2012