Pleasant news: Illinois gets civil unions

The Illinois Legislature approved civil unions today, and the governor said he’d sign the bill into law.

What’s most remarkable to me is that it’s pleasant news—not amazing, big news.

Remember ten years ago when Vermont created and approved civil unions? It was the kind of headline that immediately got slapped onto the top of the New York Times home page.

Today’s news from Illinois is getting dramatically less attention outside of Illinois. This is probably fair, but when I reflect on it for more than a moment, the news does feel significant. Especially for a state in the Midwest.

No, it’s not marriage. Yes, Iowa miraculously has marriage, but that was accomplished through the courts. Illinois has now gone farther toward marriage than any other state legislature across the Midwest.

In practical terms, I would gladly take an Illinois civil union–particularly joint adoption rights–over the absence of protections we presently have where I live.

At a time when elected bodies are more and more dysfunctional and so much of the blue in the region was overtaken by red, the news from Illinois is encouraging, if not thrilling.

Now: what’s next?


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