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Issues

What Is The Freedom to Marry?

Marriage is about love, commitment, and family. The new Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which goes into effect on June 1, 2014, guarantees that all civil marriages, regardless of whether they are between opposite-sex or same-sex couples, will come with the same protections, rights, and responsibilities for the married couples and their children. Same-sex parties to a marriage and their children will be treated under Illinois law in the same way that it recognizes marriages of opposite-sex couples. Additionally, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act respects the guarantees of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, allowing free exercise of religion and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference.

Gay and lesbian individuals want to get married to make a lifetime commitment to the person they love and to protect their families. Governments use the institution of marriage to recognize and protect family units. There are 1,138 federal rights and protections and 648 Illinois rights and protections for married couples and their families.

Some of these rights include:
•  Veteran spousal benefits
•  Ability to put the entire family, including a partner and his/her children, on one medical and/or life insurance plan
•  Automatic inheritance, even without a will
•  Privilege from testifying against a partner in court
•  Ability to make medical decisions for a partner in an emergency
•  Right to joint parenting, adoption, foster care, and visitation of children
•  Right to take unpaid leave from work to care for a sick partner
•  Ability to file joint tax returns and use tax benefits for married couples