The state that produced Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama has now added itself to the “almost but not quite equal” list. Either someone is allowed to marry or not. “Civil Unions” like “separate but equal” schools, etc, guarantee only one thing – you are not quite equal to your straight neighbours, your love and your relationship is not quite up to par with a straight one. Either a person is equal or not. Either a same-sex relationship is valid or not. Half-way measures such as civil unions only institutionalise discrimination and second-class citizenship.
I agree that civil unions are 2nd class, but still, to the ultraconservative religious groups a horror. But the big point is that they are a step on the way to full equality. Look at CT. and VT as examples.
And as the people discover that civil unions don’t hurt so called traditional marriage they will realize that CIVIL marriage for gay people will not also. It is a step process, not an all in one giant step sometimes.
And it gives the churches in particular some breathing room to discover the same thing, and tones down the rhetoric.
And yes, I am in favor of explicit laws protecting religious institutions, their close affiliates and direct employees from being harrassed legally or otherwise re being involved in marriage ceremonies with which they do not agree. That is fundamentally in our constitution, but explicit laws will prevent nuisance lawsuits.
The gay people will have their legally equivalent rights, the churches will be protected, and over time attitudes will change, and marriage equality under our civil law will spread to much of the USA
And the more moderate christian churches will also come around also, but churches change so slowly that legal equivalence for gay peoples relationship recognition is a key need
It’s a shame that inequality will still be enshrined in Illinois law but hopefully the day after this legislation comes into effect the campaign for full equality will begin.
Civil Unions laws are the new Jim Crow laws of the year 2000′s or the 21st century!