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Equality Illinois reports: 1,600 civil unions in first month since law took effect

Equality Illinois reports: 1,600 civil unions in first month since law took effect

An estimated 1,618 total civil union licenses were issued across Illinois this past month since the state’s Civil Unions Law took effect June 1, according to Equality Illinois.

The LGBT advocacy group said it polled staffers in each of the state’s 102 county clerks offices, and found that gay and lesbian couples applying for civil unions were represented in 83 of them — or just over 80 percent.

According to EQ Illinois, “many clerks offered stories about the excitement that permeated their offices, especially on the first day civil union licenses were offered.”

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Randy Hannig, the group’s Director of Public Policy, said that he was certain the total number of Illinois residents now in civil unions is “drastically higher” than the 1,618 figure they arrived at. Hannig points out that many other Illinois couples who had entered into a marriage or civil union in other states prior to Illinois’ law taking effect are now, in the eyes of the state, also legally recognized.

But for Illinois same-sex couples, a loophole in the state’s tax code due to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, in a decision reached by the Illinois Department of Revenue, disallows same-sex couples in civil unions the ability to file joint returns which means taxation at the higher single rates, which EQ Illinois has labeled discriminatory.

It does provide official recognition from the state and many of the same rights that accompany opposite-sex marriage, including the right to inherit a partner’s property and to make medical decisions for a partner.

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