The Associated Press
WHAT IT IS: The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions granting them many rights already afforded married couples. Illinois law will continue to limit marriage to one man and one woman, and civil unions still are not recognized by the federal government.
WHAT IT DOES: Civil unions give couples the right to make funeral and end-of-life decisions, the right to share a room in a nursing home, automatic hospital visitation, adoption and parental rights, pension benefits, inheritance rights, the right to decide how to dispose of a partner's remains, and the right not to testify against each other in court.
WHEN IT HAPPENS: As of June 1, couples may get a license for a civil union only in the county where the ceremony is to be performed. Couples then must wait at least a day before being allowed to enter into a civil union. The license expires 60 days after being issued.
WHAT IF ALREADY MARRIED: Marriages of same-sex couples in other states are acknowledged in Illinois and negate the need for a civil union.Tags: