Today a law will go into effect in Illinois allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions and attain some of the same benefits enjoyed by married couples, such as the right to visit a partner in the hospital and the right to make decisions about the partner's medical care. Hundreds of same sex couples went to the courthouse this morning to obtain licenses for civil unions.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) signed the law in January. The bill would not, however, allow same sex couples to obtain marriage licenses.
Currently, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington DC allow marriage of same-sex couples. Seven states, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Delaware, and Hawaii allow same-sex couples to form civil unions or domestic partnerships, which carry some of the legal benefits of marriage.