Illinois Recognizes New Marital Relationships
The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act went into effect on June 1, 2011. The law provides important new rights under state law not only to gay and lesbian couples, but also to same-sex couples who have chosen not to marry. This article discusses expanded rights available to couples entering into civil unions in Illinois in the areas of estate planning, health care decisions, ownership of real estate, and claims against life insurance proceeds. We also discuss some concerns that may lead opposite-sex couples to consider a "civil union" instead of marriage.