Illinois Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
In November, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriages in Illinois. While Illinois previously allowed same-sex couples to participate in civil unions, Senate Bill 0010 now allows them to obtain the legal status marriage provides.
This legal status provides several benefits that civil unions don't necessarily provide. For example, a married spouse will be guaranteed the right to make medical decisions for an incapacitated spouse without having to provide a signed power of attorney. This also guarantees employment benefits for same-sex spouses, when such benefits depend on the couple being married. When added to the federal same-sex protections, such as social security survivors' and spousal benefits, marriage-based immigration rights, and federal spousal employment benefits, Illinois same-sex couples will now be guaranteed the full spectrum of rights, responsibilities, and privileges given to heterosexual married couples.
Same-sex couples in Illinois may begin marrying as soon as June 1, 2014 (though for those couples facing terminal illness, marriage licenses may be issued sooner in some counties). Those couples who are currently in civil unions who may wish to convert their union to a marriage will be able to do so by applying for a marriage license; returning the signed marriage certificate to the county clerk's office will officially solemnize the marriage.
With the rights and privileges of participating in marriage, however, come the same challenges heterosexual married couples face. And many same-sex spouse s in Illinois will likely be facing the reality of a possible divorce in the future. While the marriage and divorce laws can be confusing, they will now apply to both homosexual and heterosexual couples—and we have yet to learn what those effects will look like for homosexual couples. At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, we're invested in learning how the divorce statutes will be applied to and affect heterosexual couples. No matter your sexual orientation, if you are considering divorce and need a better understanding of the impact for you and your family, contact us today for a free consultation.