Civil Unions the New Gateway Drug to Gay Marriage Via the Courts?


Two state supreme courts (California and Connecticut) have ruled that passing civil unions is evidence of bias and discrimination against gay people -- the rational for striking down marriage laws and imposing gay marriage. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit agreed.

This is sad, because many people would like to provide legal protections for gay couples while protecting marriage as the union of husband and wife.

Will Illinois courts rule out civil unions as well?

The gay and lesbian civil rights movement in Illinois has long worked on forging a legislative path to marriage equality, buoyed last year by the passage of a law allowing same-sex civil unions.

But with uncertainty about a gay marriage bill moving through Springfield any time soon — the House bill introduced this year was pulled midway through the session — advocates are opening up a new path.

The gay rights group Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois each plan to file a lawsuit Wednesday against the clerk of Cook County, claiming that not issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the Illinois Constitution.

Activists say they will continue to press lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage. But these lawsuits mean that the judicial system, and possibly the Illinois Supreme Court, will play a role as well. -- Chicago Tribune