Thursday, January 3, 2013

Illinois Considers Marriage Equality

As I mentioned yesterday, the Illinois General Assembly is currently considering a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. 

Called the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, the bill would not only allow same-sex couples to marry, it explicitly notes that religious organizations would not be required to solemnize any marriage.

The law would also recognize civil unions, or "substantially similar relationships[s]" performed in other states, as civil unions in the state, and would recognize legal marriages performed in others states as marriages. It also appears to allow couples who are currently civil union'ed in Illinois to retain that status or to voluntarily convert their relationship to a legal marriage. (I forsee further legal complications and infamous grey areas!)

Of course, regardless of the outcome of this state-level bill, legally married and civil union'ed same-sex couples will continue to not have access to most of the federal rights, benefits, and privileges of marriage.  We can thank the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) for that.

Also of note, the proposed marriage equality bill in Illinois also amends the bill's use of the oxymoronic "generic masculine" in the marriage act. Laws in Illinois, as well as the State Constitution, generally use "man," "he," and "him" to refer to all human beings. In the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, however, I saw at least two added "or hers" in the text.

That little tidbit isn't going to get attention, but I say kudos for the eradication of that common microaggression against women. (Don't tell the Cardinal though, we don't want to piss him off any more than he already is!)

No comments: