Civil unions coming to Illinois as early as next summer

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Yesterday the Illinois state Senate approved legislation that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, which would give them many of the same rights and benefits as heterosexual married couples. (Not the Federal ones, obviously. Also, straight people can get a civil union, too! If they want to for some reason.) Obviously this isn't quite as awesome as allowing everyone to simply get married, but it's certainly a step in the right direction! From CNN:

According to the language of the bill, it will provide "adequate procedures for the certification and registration of a civil union and provide persons entering into a civil union with the obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses."

Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, pledged in his recent re-election campaign to sign the bill.

The bill had previously faced a much tougher battle in the House; still, you never really know how these things will go until all is said and done. (If you want specifics: one Republican senator crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats, leading to a final vote of 32-24.) So congrats, gay couples living in Illinois: you can finally visit your partner in the hospital while he or she is critically ill.

(Note: above couple almost definitely not from Illinois.)