Civil Union Bill Loses Momentum

01/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • James Janega Chicago Tribune

A proposal to allow civil unions in Illinois between same-sex couples has been stalled in the state legislature and seems likely to stay that way, as gay rights activists Wednesday plan nationwide "Day Without a Gay" rallies to protest California's Proposition 8 and other measures opposing gay marriage.

"This is going to be focusing on the economic aspect of what the deprivation of equal marriage rights means to our community," said Andy Thayer of the Gay Liberation Network in Chicago, which is planning a rally 11 a.m. Wednesday outside the Cook County clerk's office.

The demonstration to highlight pensions and survivors' benefits in Chicago occurs as the future of the Illinois Religious Freedom and Civil Unions Act grows uncertain.

First proposed in 2007 and running out of time before the current legislature expires, the bill would grant same-sex couples many of the rights given to opposite-sex married couples. There are two remaining legislative days on lawmakers' calendar in January--but its sponsor said it would take a back seat to the state's ongoing budget crisis.