Updated May 29, 2009, 6:15 p.m. The bill has been placed on "Calendar Order of 3rd Reading - Short Debate," according to the Illinois General Assembly web site.
Springfield, IL--(ENEWSPF)-- Senate Bill 1716 has moved to Third Reading, according to Illinois State Rep. Greg Harris. The bill will establish Civil Unions in Illinois. "Civil Union" means a legal relationship between 2 persons, of either the same or opposite sex, according to the bill.
According to the Illinois House Democrats web site, "Third reading" means the bill is read for a third and final time before the full chamber. After the sponsor explains the bill, members of the chamber can ask questions. When debate is completed, the chamber votes on the bill.
According to the ILGA web site, the bill:
Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Creates the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. Defines "civil union" as a legal relationship between 2 persons, of either the same or opposite sex, established in accordance with the Act. Provides that a party to a civil union shall be entitled to the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses. Prohibits certain civil unions. Provides that the Director of Public Health shall prescribe forms for an application, license, and certificate for a civil union. Contains provisions regarding: application for a civil union license; certification of a civil union; and duties of the county clerk and Department of Public Health. Provides for dissolution and declaration of invalidity of a civil union. Provides that a marriage between persons of the same sex, a civil union, or a substantially similar legal relationship other than common law marriage, legally entered into in another jurisdiction, shall be recognized in Illinois as a civil union. Contains provisions regarding construction, application, religious freedom, severability, and other matters.
The bill has already passed the Illinois Senate. Harris told one participant in a thread on his Facebook page that the bill is ready for a vote in front of the full house if he chooses to call it. "This is the last step," Harris said.