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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Reception hall manager bans lesbian couple, refuses to ‘celebrate that sin’

Saturday, June 23, 2012
MOLINE, Ill. — A same-sex couple from Davenport, Iowa this week said they were told they could not rent a reception hall in neighboring Moline, Ill., because the couple is gay. [ Read more → ]
Lisa Madigan (left) and Anita Alvarez

Illinois state attorneys refuse to defend state’s ban on same-sex marriage

Friday, June 22, 2012
CHICAGO -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez on Thursday announced that they will not Illinois's 16-year-old ban on same-sex marriage. [ Read more → ]

Illinois judge combines Lambda Legal, ACLU marriage equality lawsuits

Thursday, June 21, 2012
A Cook County, Ill., judge on Thursday consolidated the two separate lawsuits representing 25 Illinois gay and lesbian couples asserting the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. [ Read more → ]

Cook County State’s Attorney: Illinois gay marriage ban unconstitutional

Friday, June 15, 2012
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez held a press conference with County Clerk David Orr, the defendant in two lawsuits seeking marriage equality, both advising that same-sex marriage should be legal in Illinois. Alvarez filed a motion in support of the lawsuits Thursday, admitting that the state’s ban is unconstitutional. [ Read more → ]

Another victory against DOMA, same-sex couples sue for marriage equality in Illinois

Monday, June 4, 2012
Another major blow to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last week, and twenty-five couples sue for marriage in Illinois. [ Read more → ]

Chicago-area gay club burns, fire seen as suspicious

Monday, June 4, 2012
OAK PARK, Ill. — A fire destroyed The Velvet Rope Ultra Lounge, an Oak Park, Ill., gay nightclub in what the owner suspects as an anti-gay arson early Sunday morning, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune. [ Read more → ]

Illinois civil unions not treated equal to marriages, study finds

Saturday, June 2, 2012
As the Illinois civil unions law turned one June 1, the nearly 5,000 couples throughout the state who registered for a license over the past year have encountered many legal and everyday life obstacles that reminds them a civil union is different from marriage – precisely the opposite intent of the legislation. [ Read more → ]

Illinois school district bans GLSEN material over children’s diversity book

Friday, June 1, 2012
ERIE, Ill. -- An Illinois school district has banned all student materials provided or endorsed by GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network, including learning materials and various programs aimed at preventing bullying. [ Read more → ]
Lead plantiffs Patrick Bova and Jim Darby, who entered into a civil union in 2011.

Lambda Legal, ACLU announce lawsuits seeking marriage equality in Illinois

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois on Wednesday filed two separate lawsuits representing 25 same-sex couples and their families seeking the freedom to marry in Illinois. [ Read more → ]

Lambda Legal, ACLU to announce lawsuit seeking marriage equality in Illinois

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois will announce two separate lawsuits Wednesday morning seeking same-sex marriage rights for Illinois gay and lesbian couples. [ Read more → ]

Anti-bullying legislation fails to pass Illinois state Senate

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Legislation that would require Illinois schools to create anti-bullying programs and fully explain how they would investigate bullying instances failed to pass in the state Senate Tuesday amid fear it could be used to promote acceptance of homosexuality. [ Read more → ]

Illinois governor clarifies stance, backs marriage equality

Monday, May 14, 2012
For the first time in his political career, Illinois' Gov. Pat Quinn publicly endorsed marriage equality for LGBT couples, following an outpouring of support from dozens of elected officials after President Barack Obama’s declaration of support for such unions earlier this week. [ Read more → ]
Eric Unger

Gay Illinois State University student says attack was a hate crime

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. -- An openly-gay Illinois State University student is recovering from several injuries he suffered from what he said was an anti-gay hate-inspired attack in front of his apartment near the Normal, Ill. campus early Saturday morning. [ Read more → ]

State lawmaker: Votes ‘aren’t there’ for marriage equality in Illinois

Monday, April 16, 2012
Illinois State Rep. Greg Harris (D–Chicago) said he would not call his same-sex marriage bill to a vote during the Spring legislative session in the General Assembly. He said the votes “aren’t there” and he doesn’t see an advantage of having legislators on the record as a “no” when they could later become a “yes” vote. [ Read more → ]

Chicago’s LGBT Howard Brown Health Center to repay feds $715K

Tuesday, April 3, 2012
CHICAGO -- The Howard Brown Health Center, a nationally recognized LGBT health care organization, on Tuesday announced it will repay $715,000 to three separate federal agencies to settle a claim that the clinic improperly used research grant monies. [ Read more → ]

Chicago launches LGBT health action plan

Saturday, March 31, 2012
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Department of Public Health unveiled a new LGBT health strategy to community leaders and advocates Friday as part of the city’s Healthy Chicago initiative. [ Read more → ]

Illinois Senate subcommittee kills anti-gay adoption bill

Friday, March 23, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- A bill that would amend the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act to allow religiously based child welfare institutions to decline adoption to couples in a civil union was killed in Springfield Friday by activists from the ACLU of Illinois and The Civil Rights Agenda. [ Read more → ]

Chicago city council considers modified transgender protections ordinance

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
CHICAGO -- Ald. Joe Moreno introduced an ordinance in the Chicago City Council Wednesday that would set specific guidelines for police to follow while handling transgender people. [ Read more → ]

Chicago ordinance would create police transgender issues commission

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
CHICAGO -- Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno and a group of local LGBT rights activists are pushing for an ordinance that would establish a transgender issues commission in the Chicago Police Department as well as set guidelines for police to follow while handling transgender people. [ Read more → ]
Rahm Emanuel

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledges support for marriage equality bill

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
CHICAGO — Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged his support for a new bill introduced in the General Assembly last week that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. Emanuel’s support for the bill comes nearly a day after Gov. Pat Quinn suggested that he was unsure about his stance on same-sex marriage, despite having signed the civil unions bill into law last year. [ Read more → ]

Marriage equality bill introduced in Illinois General Assembly

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) on Wednesday introduced the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act in the General Assembly, a bill that would allow same-sex marriage in Illinois. [ Read more → ]

Downstate Illinois GOP lawmakers push for civil union exceptions

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
A Southern Illinois lawmaker is leading another attempt to add adoption exceptions to the state’s civil unions act, which if passed, would allow religious institutions the ability to deny adoptions to couples in civil unions. [ Read more → ]

Advocacy group’s newspaper ad rebukes Chicago Archbishop over anti-gay remarks

Sunday, January 1, 2012
CHICAGO -- Truth Wins Out, a non-profit advocacy group that fights anti-LGBT religious extremism -- stepped up its campaign against Cardinal Francis George with a full-page ad in Sunday's Chicago Tribune, rebuking the Chicago Archbishop for his recent comments comments likening gay activists to the Ku Klux Klan. [ Read more → ]

2011: An ‘epic year of transformation’ for marriage equality in the U.S.

Saturday, December 31, 2011
One leading advocate called 2011 an “epic” year for marriage equality. Was it? While only one state -- New York -- enacted full marriage rights for same-sex couples, it was the most populous state to do so. Five other states also moved closer to marriage equality than ever before. Public opinion shifted dramatically towards supporting equality. And the Obama administration announced that it no longer considers a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act constitutional. [ Read more → ]
Francis George

Chicago Cardinal George backs away from gay ‘Ku Klux Klan’ comment

Monday, December 26, 2011
According to ABC News Chicago, Cardinal Francis George has began to backtrack on comments likening gay activists to the Ku Klux Klan, even after earlier refusing to do so. Last week Chicago’s Roman Catholic leader decried a rerouting of the 2012 June LGBT Pride parade route to a path that would take the march in front of a Catholic church, saying “You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.” [ Read more → ]
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