Illinois is the 21st U.S. state, admitted to the Union on December 3, 1818. Its most populous city is Chicago, and the state capitol is located in Springfield.

LGBT Rights in Illinois: Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Illinois on June 1, 2014, under a bill passed in the state legislature and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn on Nov. 20, 2013. Illinois has protected LGBT persons from discrimination since 2006, based on legislation enacted in 2005. Illinois has recognized hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or heterosexual persons since 2001. The law does not protect attacks based on gender identity as such, but gender identity cases can be prosecuted as perceived sexual orientation cases since the state criminalizes attacks based on one's actual or perceived sexual orientation. The state permits adoption by gay individuals or partners, including second-parent adoptions.

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Activists rally at Chicago's Thompson Center on Jan. 5.Photo: Daniel Guerrero, Chicago Phoenix

Illinois LGBT activists to demonstrate against Cardinal George

Thursday, January 17, 2013
Activists from the Gay Liberation Network, a longtime Chicago-based direct action LGBT rights group, are calling on the local community to join them early next month in a protest against Cardinal Francis George, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, due to his vocal opposition against... [ Read more → ]
Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel signs petition supporting marriage equality

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
CHICAGO -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel has signed the "ILove Marriage" petition, pledging his support for legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois, according to an announcement by Lambda Legal. "Mayor Emanuel has been on the forefront in advocating for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in... [ Read more → ]

Business leaders urge Illinois lawmakers to pass marriage equality bill

Monday, January 14, 2013
A coalition consisting of fifty Illinois business leaders and organizations on Sunday joined in urging the state's General Assembly to pass the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would grant gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry. The support represents a broad array... [ Read more → ]

Cook County, Ill., offering wallet-sized civil union, marriage certificates

Saturday, January 12, 2013
Same-sex couples in Illinois now have an easier way to prove their civil union. Cook County Clerk David Orr unveiled wallet-sized civil union and marriage licenses Thursday, designed specifically for same-sex couples in a civil union or married couples with different last names. [c]Image courtesy... [ Read more → ]

Lawmakers to reintroduce Illinois same-sex marriage bill Wednesday

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The chief sponsors of legislation in that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois plan to reintroduce the bill Wednesday shortly after the start of the 98th General Assembly, according to one of its chief sponsors. [ Read more → ]
Rick Garcia speaks in front of the Thompson Center. Photo: Ryan Nanni, Chicago Phoenix

Community rallies for passage of Illinois marriage bill, warns opposition

Saturday, January 5, 2013
Nearly 200 people rallied at the Thompson Center in Chicago on Saturday to demand action on pending legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. [ Read more → ]
Illinois state capitol in Springfield.

No vote on Illinois marriage equality; bill held for next General Assembly

Friday, January 4, 2013
A coalition of lawmakers, activists and organizations backing a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois announced Thursday that despite intense efforts to pass the legislation in the lame duck session of the current General Assembly, a full vote on the bill may not happen. [ Read more → ]

Senate committee approves Illinois gay marriage measure

Thursday, January 3, 2013
SPINGFIELD, Ill. -- Legal same-sex marriages are one historic step closer to becoming law in Illinois. [ Read more → ]
Rep. Greg Harris (center) and Sen. Heather Steans (right) at the state capital. Photo: Tony Merevick.Photo by Tony Merevick, Chicago Phoenix.

Illinois marriage vote uncertain due to absent senators

Thursday, January 3, 2013
Activists and lawmakers backing legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois are regrouping and recounting potential “yes” votes in the Illinois Senate after key members of the chamber reportedly said they will be absent from Thursday’s proceedings in the General Assembly’s lame duck session. [ Read more → ]

Illinois marriage equality bill stalled in state Senate by ‘technicality’

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Consideration of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois will no longer take place in a Senate committee of the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday night. [ Read more → ]
Pat BradyPhoto: Illinois Republican Party

Illinois Republican leadership backs marriage equality bill

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
With support building for legislation that would give gay and lesbian couples in Illinois the freedom to marry, two prominent Republican Party leaders on Wednesday declared their support for the bill. [ Read more → ]

Illinois marriage equality bill to be considered in State Senate Wednesday

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Illinois State Sen. Heather Steans (D) said Tuesday a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois will be heard by a Senate committee Wednesday night and a full Senate vote on a bill could come as early as Thursday. [ Read more → ]
Cardinal Francis GeorgePhoto by Adam Bielawski, via Wikimedia Commons

Chicago Cardinal urges Catholics to oppose marriage equality bill

Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Chicago's Cardinal Francis George officially entered the political debate over same-sex marriage on Tuesday, issuing a pastoral letter that urges parishioners to contact state legislators and voice their opposition to a planned bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. [ Read more → ]
Cardinal Francis George

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George: Same-sex marriage ‘violates natural law’

Sunday, December 30, 2012
With Illinois state lawmakers poised to consider a marriage equality bill in the lame duck session that begins Wednesday, Catholic bishops and other advocates of "traditional" are taking a new approach: same-sex marriage simply violates natural law. [ Read more → ]
Jesse Tyler Ferguson

‘Modern Family’s’ Jesse Tyler Ferguson to lobby for Ill. same-sex marriage bill

Sunday, December 30, 2012
As state lawmakers prepare to vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois, support has come in from coalitions of LGBT rights organizations, voters, hundreds of local clergy, President Obama — and now — from ABC’s Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson. [ Read more → ]
Barack Obama

Obama urges Illinois lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage

Saturday, December 29, 2012
President Barack Obama on Saturday urged the Illinois General Assembly to vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in his home state. [ Read more → ]
David E. Smith

Ill. hate group leader: ‘There are no round triangles, and no gay marriages’

Friday, December 28, 2012
Just as there are "no round triangles," there are "no gay marriages." So says David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, the anti-gay organization working to defeat efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. [ Read more → ]

Chicago Sun-Times: Marriage equality is ‘just the right thing to do’

Wednesday, December 26, 2012
As Illinois lawmakers prepare to consider legislation next month that would legalize same-sex marriage, the Chicago Sun-Times on Tuesday endorsed marriage equality. [ Read more → ]

Hundreds of religious leaders back Illinois marriage equality bill

Sunday, December 23, 2012
As lawmakers, coalitions and activists prepare for a potential vote early next month on legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois, even more support for the bill has arrived from the local religious community. [ Read more → ]

Anti-gay religious groups launch coalition opposing Illinois marriage equality

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
As lawmakers prepare to bring same-sex marriage legislation up for vote in the Illinois General Assembly early next month, a group of conservative religious organizations have formed a coalition against the bill. [ Read more → ]

East Aurora, Ill., school district dissolves transgender policy committee

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
AURORA, Ill. -- After over two months of contentious debate, controversy and uncertainty, the East Aurora School District 131 has called off the creation of a new policy that would add protections for transgender and gender nonconforming students. After hearing over 30 members of the... [ Read more → ]
Illinois state capitol building in Springfield.

Sponsors say vote on Illinois marriage equality bill coming in January

Sunday, December 16, 2012
The legalization of same-sex marriage in Illinois could be just around the corner. The chief sponsors of a bill in the state’s General Assembly that would legalize same-sex marriage said Thursday they’d bring the legislation up for vote during the lame duck session beginning Jan. 2, or early next month. [ Read more → ]

Illinois school district puts transgender policy committee on hold

Thursday, December 13, 2012
The future of an Ad Hoc committee charged with creating protective policy for East Aurora School District transgender students is in question after its chairman declined to schedule further meetings due to intense opposition from local religious groups and residents. The brouhaha over the creation... [ Read more → ]
Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Ill.)

Illinois governor hopes marriage equality bill goes forward next month

Monday, December 10, 2012
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn told reporters Monday he hopes Illinois lawmakers will send a marriage equality bill to his desk during the early January lame duck session. [ Read more → ]

Court denies anti-gay groups’ efforts to intervene in Ill. marriage equality lawsuit

Friday, November 30, 2012
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Sophia Hall rejected motions to intervene in the trial challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage Friday by two anti-gay churches and the Illinois Family Institute, an anti-gay hate group. [ Read more → ]
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