The Illinois General Assembly legalized civil unions in 2011. While this was an important step forward in family law for gay and lesbian couples, the law created, in effect, two tiers of marriage. The traditional kind and a "sort of skim-milk marriage," as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader put it during a recent oral argument.
When lawmakers in Illinois lawmakers propose a bill that would have a big effect on certain married couples, it is important that those couples not only understand how they could be affected but also how they can voice their opinions about those changes. Changes to Illinois divorce law will not only affect those seeking to dissolve their marriage but could also impact the steps couples take before they get married.
Birth should be a time of joy, but for some women it is not so simple. For these women, childbirth also can mean a child custody battle with the person who allegedly raped them. Some Illinois lawmakers recently proposed a measure that would help these women.
Most Illinoisans likely have dreamed of winning the lottery. Cash may have been tight with the bills piling up. Or they may have wanted the freedom to find a different job, but could not risk leaving their current one. For one lucky man, that dream came true and with it came the end of a major family law issue: back child support.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard not one, but two cases that may have important implications for same-sex partners in Illinois. One case involves the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which blocks legally married same-sex couples from many federal benefits that straight couples enjoy. The other case concerns California's Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage.