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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 10, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 50
National News
Section One
ALL STORIES
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National News

Illinois passes civil-union law
The Illinois Legislature passed a civil-union bill December 1 and Gov. Pat Quinn said he will sign it into law.

Gay or straight couples will be able to enter into a civil union starting in July. The unions will carry the same state-level rights as marriage.

The vote in the Senate was 32-24. The vote in the House of Representatives was 61-52.

[These days], legislator after legislator talks about 'my Gay daughter,' 'my Gay brother,' Equality Illinois Director of Public Policy Rick Garcia told Windy City Times. The most politically powerful thing Gay people can do is to come out to family and friends. ... Illinoisans are middle-of-the-road, very steadfast folks, so I think [this bill's passage] bodes well for our community across the country.

Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson welcomed the new law as a step, but said civil union is no substitute for marriage.

States that have created civil union as a means of both giving and withholding - providing legal protections while withholding the freedom to marry and all its meaning - have found that civil union falls far short of marriage with all its tangible and intangible significance in our lives, Wolfson said.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley sounded a similar note December 2, saying: Eventually marriage will take place. It has to be. ... We have to move faster.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. In addition, New York and Maryland recognize same-sex marriages that take place elsewhere in the nation or world.

Civil-union or domestic-partnership laws that grant all state-level rights of marriage are in place in California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington. Laws that grant same-sex couples some of the rights of marriage are in place in Colorado, Hawaii, and Maine.

California is a further case unto itself. Same-sex marriage was legal from June to November 2008, when voters amended the state constitution via Proposition 8 to put a stop to it. The couples who married then are still legally married, as are other same-sex couples who live in California and got married anywhere in the world before Prop 8 passed. Gay couples who married somewhere else after Prop 8 passed, or who marry elsewhere in the future, receive every state-level right and obligation of marriage in California except for the legal right to call their marriage a marriage when they are in California. They are not recognized under the state's domestic partnership law, but rather are married couples who are denied use of the word marriage.

Elton John to sing against Prop 8
Elton John will perform a private concert in Beverly Hills, California, on January 19 to raise money for the ongoing federal lawsuit against Proposition 8, the voter-passed constitutional amendment that re-banned same-sex marriage in California.

The concert, to benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which hired the Gay side's superstar attorneys, Ted Olson and David Boies, will take place at the Green Acres estate of billionaire political fundraiser Ron Burkle.

We are deeply honored to have the support of Sir Elton John, said AFER Board President Chad Griffin. The American Foundation for Equal Rights stands for the enduring principle that all Americans are created equal, and believes that ending state-sanctioned discrimination is a critical step we must take toward ending the hate crimes and suicides that continue to claim the lives of young Americans.

John has not always been a supporter of same-sex marriage. On November 12, 2008, eight days after voters passed Prop 8, he told USA Today: What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word 'marriage.' ... I don't want to be married. I'm very happy with a civil partnership. If Gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership. ... Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.

Prop 8 was struck down as unconstitutional at the federal district court level. The ruling is currently on appeal at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard oral arguments on December 6.

For concert ticket information, e-mail events@afer.org.

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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