The Associated Press is
reporting that an Illinois House legislative committee has approved a
bill to grant gay and lesbian couples the right to civil unions.
House Bill 2234 was approved by the
House Youth and Family Committee by a vote of 5-4 Wednesday. State
Representative Greg Harris, an openly gay Democrat from Springfield,
introduced the bill along with 12 Democratic co-sponsors.
The measure would not legalize gay
marriage in the state. It would create a separate legal framework
that offers many marriage-like benefits for gay couples, including
the right to visit their partners in hospitals, make medical
decisions and more. The bill would also recognize legal gay
marriages and civil unions performed elsewhere as civil unions.
Opponents argue that civil unions
amount to gay marriage without the name.
The bill will proceed to the House
floor for a vote.