Marriage Equality — The Choice to Love

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear five gay marriage cases last month, gay marriage is effectively legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The ruling signals a sea change for gay couples, who will now have the same legal rights as hetereosexual couples – such as health care benefits, inheritance rights and deductions on tax returns as married couples. Same-sex marriage in Illinois was legalized by a law signed on November 20, 2013 by Governor Pat Quinn that took effect on June 1, 2014. Before that, Illinois had established civil unions as of June 1, 2011, when Governor Quinn signed legislation on January 31, 2011. As a family law practitioner, marriage equality carries with it several responsibilities. As much as it is wonderful to marry, marriage is a deliberate decision that requires both planning and commitment, especially if children are part of the union. My experience in creating and dissolving civil union agreements to date is that there is little difference between my hetereo and homosexual clients. Love is a choice and planning is essential. When things don’t work out, the heartache is the same.

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