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Will Illinois Gays Get Civil Unions via Last-Minute Legislative Earmark?


Openly gay State Rep. Greg Harris plans to attach a clause legalizing same-sex civil unions to an unrelated shell bill, which is traditionally introduced when legislative deadlines must be met; it often includes no more than a title and a few words describing the law’s intent. Because Illinois’ session ends May 30, Harris says this is the only way to give gays and lesbians protections this season. There’s no date attached to the the bill, which means civil unions could begin as soon as 30 days after the bill’s passage. Says Harris Rick Garcia, political director for Equality Illinois: “We get it out of the House and then senators only have a few hours of being beat up by our opponents rather than three days or a long weekend. Since there is a perfectly legitimate way of doing it in one day, that’s what we’re going to do.”