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The bill passed the Illinois General Assembly with bipartisan support. HB 217 becomes effective on January 1, 2016. Illinois joins California, New Jersey, Oregon, and the District of Columbia in protecting LGBT youth from “conversion therapy.”
HB 3552 expressly allows a person to designate his or her gender identity in funeral and burial instructions and requires that the instructions be followed. Such instructions may include, but are not limited to, appearance, chosen name, and preferred pronouns. The individual may make such instructions regardless of whether he or she has obtained a court-ordered name change, changed the gender marker on any identification documents, or underwent any transition-related medical treatment. These instructions must be faithfully carried out by the person authorized to control the disposition of the decedent’s remains and by funeral homes.
“With this bill, transgender Illinoisans have solace that their last wishes will be respected,” said Cherkasov. “We thank Sen. William Delgado and Rep. Will Guzzardi, the bill’s chief legislative sponsors. HB 3552 is even more special as it is the first bill Rep. Guzzardi passed out of the Illinois House, evidence of his commitment to equality for all Illinoisans.”
The legislation is necessary because of situations where a person’s gender identity was altered or disrespected by family members or funeral directors. At a time of mourning, this has caused shock to friends and family members of the deceased and demonstrated a lack of respect.
HB 3552 passed the Illinois Senate unanimously and the Illinois House with a bipartisan 79 votes. The bill becomes effective on January 1, 2016.
Previously, Gov. Rauner signed another top priority than enhances Illinois hates crimes protections. HB 3930, which explicitly covers gender identity and protect LGBT community centers from institutional vandalism, was signed by the governor on July 20.
Despite the approval of these bills, there remains important unfinished business during the continuing legislative session: Equality Illinois remains focused on ensuring a fully-funded, fair, and responsible Fiscal Year 2016 budget blueprint that protects vital services for the most vulnerable Illinoisans, including homeless youth and individuals living with HIV/AIDS. As a member of the Responsible Budget Coalition, Equality Illinois opposes service cuts and supports revenue enhancements to ensure vital services are funded.