Same-sex marriage will take effect in June in Illinois. Many gay couples were delighted after the court approved the same-sex law in the state. Some of them have waited a long time in order to get married in Illinois, while others entered a civil union or created domestic partnership agreements to protect their best interests.
Recently, a lesbian couple became the first gay couple to get married in Illinois. The state approved the marriage as one of the gay partners was terminally ill and, therefore, may not make it until June. After the first successful gay marriage, many couples who entered into civil unions attempted to get married sooner by showing proof that one of them is terminally ill.
Based on the recent ruling by a federal judge, many same-sex couples who are facing terminal illness may not live until June 1, which is when the implementation of same-sex marriage is anticipated, thus depriving them of their right to get married. Obtaining a marriage license gives temporary relief to those who have limited time to live with their loved ones.
Getting married also enables gay couples to obtain federal benefits. Once the state has implemented the same-sex marriage in June, gay couples can formally enter marriages and be recognized as husband or wife. However, gay couples should know that not all marriages last, which is why it is important for everyone involved to understand how to protect themselves in the event of a divorce.
Same-sex couples who are about to enter a marriage can draft a prenuptial agreement. Various issues can be addressed in the agreement, such as property division and spousal support. However, child custody issues cannot be put in such an agreement. The document should be carefully written in order for it to be enforceable in the event of divorce. Gay couples may also wish to consult a legal professional if they have concerns regarding a civil union, domestic partnership or divorce.
Source: Msnbc.com, “Same-sex couples facing terminal illness in Illinois can wed immediately,” Clare Kim, Dec. 17. 13