Talking points in Support of Illinois Civil Union Bill
Talking points in support of the Illinois Religious Freedom: Protection AND Civil Union Act – House Bill 1826
The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act offers basic fairness and protections for all families in the State of Illinois. It would protect opposite-sex, same-sex and senior couples, and shield all religious denominations from being compelled to recognize any relationship that is outside their faith tradition.
Key Talking Points
Gay and lesbian Illinois residents keep our communities safe as firefighters and police officers, staff our hospitals, build our cities, and pay taxes. Unfortunately, these individuals and their families are denied hundreds of protections and responsibilities offered by the state of Illinois. We should extend these basic legal protections to all persons in Illinois.
The legislation allows committed opposite-sex, same-sex and senior couples, many of whom have been in a committed relationship for decades, to participate in medical decision making, to control the disposition of a deceased partner’s remains, to visit a loved one in the hospital and to share a nursing home room. It is a simple matter of fairness to provide basic protections like these to all committed couples in our state. Real people are being denied these protections right now in Illinois.
The widows of Illinois residents often lose their pensions – which they need to maintain quality of life - if they remarry. Civil unions could give opposite-sex, same-sex and senior couples the benefits and legal recognition they deserve without forcing people to lose needed pension benefits.
The legislation will have minimal fiscal impact to the State of Illinois’ budget. It provides fairness and protection to opposite-sex, same-sex and senior couples without burdening taxpayers.
Same-sex families with children need legal protections now. Currently, when a parent in a same- sex relationship dies, the surviving partner and their children are not guaranteed pensions and other survivor benefits. This uncertainty is not good for children; it undermines their financial health and well being.
The legislation protects religious institutions – specifically saying that no religious denomination can ever be forced to solemnize any relationship to which it objects.
Since the time of Abraham Lincoln, Illinois’ has demonstrated an historic commitment to increasing fair and equal treatment for all citizens. This legislation advances that tradition.