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Illinois legalizes same-sex marriage

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With a stroke of a pen, Illinois now recognizes same-sex marriages. The passage culminates after a long and difficult journey that saw the legislation pass in the Senate, then languish in the House last session.

This session, however, an alliance that included the ACLU, labor and even a former head of the Illinois Republican Party propelled the measure from idea to reality. In a narrow vote in the House, the measure passed 61-54, one vote more than necessary for passage.

But the small margin did not dampen the celebration afterwards. Indeed, many Illinoisans came together to celebrate the historical passage.

The law will take effect June 1, 2014 - though courts and the legislature may allow couples to get married sooner.

With its passage, Illinois same sex couples naturally have turned their attention towards wedding bells. One couple that had been together for 15 years and had two children, for example, chose not to enter into a civil union when Illinois first started offering them. The couple was holding out for marriage, a dream they can now realize. And they can do it with their kids as key parts of the wedding.

But while many celebrate the law as a momentous achievement, it does not change a fundamental reality of relationships: They can end. For same-sex couples who experience this reality, they will have to deal with the same issues that opposite-sex couples deal with such as child custody, spousal support and property division.

When these issues arise, whether couples in a same-sex or opposite-sex relationship, may benefit from discussing their case with an experienced family law attorney.

Source:, "Illinois governor signs same-sex marriage into law," Nov. 21, 2013

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