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.
The Illinois State Senate recently voted 34 to 21 in favor of allowing gay couples to marry, with the measure receiving four more votes than the bare minimum it needed to pass. Any upcoming vote in the House is likely to be more contested and difficult to win, but some politicians have said they expect the House to pass the bill in a matter of weeks. If that happens, Governor Quinn has agreed to sign the bill into law, which would make Illinois the latest state to officially legalize gay marriage.
The vote on gay marriage in the Illinois legislature was delayed until the next legislative session largely due to concerns that the bill would not probably not pass before the end of the current session. Two key supporters were unable to make the vote. This latest update comes at a time when the Illinois legislature and governor are likely to support the right of same-sex couples to marry.
Changing one's sex to the opposite of one's partner may be insufficient to obtain a legal marriage. A court is questioning whether it has the authority to grant a divorce to a couple when the man had previously been a woman. The man has undergone a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery but retained his uterus and ovaries. He gave birth to the couple's three children, aged 4, 3, and 2, receiving national recognition and writing a book about the experience.
The author of a new book written for women facing divorce has come up with five helpful tips to help prepare for the end of a marriage. While written with women in mind, the tips apply equally to husbands and wives.
Republican U.S. Representative Judy Biggert from Illinois recently declared that she considered same-sex marriage to be a state issue. She then went on to suggest that the federal government does not make laws regarding polygamy and bigamy, and that those are left up to the states.
A Cook County court has begun hearing a case that challenges the constitutionality of the definition of marriage under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Enacted in 1996, the act defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, effectively prohibiting same sex couples from obtaining a marriage license.
Eleven Republican and Democratic members of the Illinois General Assembly have taken a stance against same-sex marriage. Headed by Republican Senator Kirk Dillard of Westmont and Democratic Senator Bill Haine of Alton, the group of politicians filed an amicus curiae brief in defense of the current Illinois statutory definition of marriage as being between a husband and wife. The brief was filed in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal. The suit challenges the state's prohibition on same sex partner marriages, arguing that the ban is illegal under the Illinois constitution.
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.
Non-married couples are often left out of many programs that provide financial incentives to married couples -- even when the couple is in a committed relationship. This is especially true for same sex couples even though in many cases same sex partners are unable to legally marry. For example, a same sex couple cannot file joint federal taxes and take advantage of the reduced tax rates.