The Supreme Court deciding in favor of same-sex marriage has been an incredible victory for those who have been denied equal protection of fundamental rights. Having the right to marry expanded to all persons interested, regardless of their sexual orientation, has many contemplating the possible repercussions that may affect persons who entered into civil unions and domestic partnerships because marriage was not available to them. Because civil unions and domestic partnerships were honored by states where same-sex marriages were not permitted and by corporations who wanted to extend benefits to domestic partners of their employees, the future of domestic partnerships and the benefits that were provided to domestic partners is being decided.
Domestic Partnerships/Civil Union Law in Illinois
Domestic partnerships and civil union law in Illinois became effective initially on June 1, 2011. Civil unions were provided equally to both same-sex and opposite-sex partners interested in civil unions; the union provided partners benefits that were enjoyed by spouses within the state.
The Rights and Obligations of Illinois’ Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships
According to an article published by the Illinois State Bar Association, the civil unions were the state’s attempt to rectify disparities between men and women who were not permitted to marry their same-sex partners within the state and share in the same obligations, duties, responsibilities, and benefits that opposite-sex couples could enjoy through marriage. However, the rights, obligations, and benefits were only provided from the State of Illinois, and not from federal law or another state’s laws. Civil unions in Illinois allowed Illinois civil union partners to be joint parents to children born within the union, seek maintenance at the termination of the relationship, provide access to custody, visitation and support rights in the case of children begot through the civil union, and automatic medical and death-related rights such as hospital visitation, medical decision-making, money damages for wrongful death, and other spousal/family benefits provided by employers.
The Future of Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions: Could Their Disintegration Do More Harm than Good?
Though civil union rights provided significant benefits to couples living and working in Illinois, those rights did not extend past state lines, and employers across state lines did not have to acknowledge the relationship. The issue at the center of the upheaval of the marriage laws provides a situation where domestic partnerships and civil unions are no longer necessary, so potentially the scrapping of these programs would mean that beneficiaries of these relationships would have to marry to continue to receive benefits under the new laws. The question at the center of this debate is: now that marriage equality is here and present, why should there be various layers of relationship statuses among the populace? Are civil unions and domestic partnerships obsolete now?
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County
Domestic partnerships and civil unions may be on the chopping block. If you and your partner are not able to take advantage of the benefits of your civil union, it is important to speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC. Contact our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.
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