Illinois residents may be aware of the new legislation that seeks to bestow marital rights on couples who were considered domestic partners until now. Illinois has joined the group of states where same-sex couples can live legally as a married couple. However, there are as many opponents to this legislation as there are supporters.
In a recent incident, some of the opponents sought to excommunicate the Governor who openly extended support to same-sex marriages in Illinois. In a joint statement, it was stated by the pro-life initiative that any politician who extends support to homosexual marriages will be automatically excommunicated from the faith. The opponents of same-sex marriages cite reasons for saving the institution of marriage and families by not allowing such marriages.
However, the Illinois legislature has initiated the procedure of granting legal status to same-sex marriages by passing a gay marriage bill. The bill needs to be passed by both Houses before it is final. According to the current law, same-sex partners can enter into a civil union and will be entitled to the same rights as that of a married couple.
The rights granted to same-sex partners under the law include the right to file joint tax returns, the right to make health care decisions for the other partner, coverage under employer insurance plans, the right of inheritance and the right to refuse to testify against a partner. However, since not considered legal marriages, partners in civil unions are not entitled to social security benefits or the right to file joint federal tax returns. That is why there is a need for the new legislation.
If the relationship ends, the couple faces the same issues as other divorcing couples. These may include disputes over child support, child custody, property division and spousal support. Since the rights of same-sex marriages are not as clearly defined as that of marriages between heterosexual couples same-sex partners may need to get additional information in order to amicably resolve the issues stemming from separation. Professional advice may provide information and also help to safeguard the rights of same-sex partners in the case of a separation.
Source: LifeSite News.com, “Catholic group calls on Illinois bishops to excommunicate pro-gay ‘marriage’ politicians,” Kirsten Andersen, Jan. 8, 2013