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Gay rights advocates praise Illinois civil union law

Illinois became the latest state to recognize legal same-sex unions today when Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law the Illinois Religious Freedom and Protection and Civil Union Act, allowing civil unions for the first time in the state. The unions will begin June 1.

"Illinois is taking an historic step forward in embracing fairness and extending basic dignity to all couples in our state. We commend Gov. Quinn for signing this bill," said John Knight, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Project of the ACLU of Illinois.

Camilla Taylor, senior staff attorney at the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal, announced the launch of Civil Union Tracker, a resource for Illinois couples and families considering a legal union in the wake of the new law.

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Illinois legislature approves civil unions

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn plans to sign civil union bill into law

Illinois will begin offering civil unions to gay and straight couples next summer, after the state legislature approved a bill last week.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will hold a ceremony in January to sign the bill into law, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Dec. 5. The law will then take effect in June.

“The passage this week of the civil unions legislation was historic. It’s a landmark law, it’s headed my way and I think it will be the law of the land of Lincoln in the coming year,” Quinn told the Associated Press.

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DOMA faces new legal challenges

Two separate legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act were filed today. The first, brought forward by the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), was filed today in Connecticut representing plaintiffs from Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire.

The lawsuit is challenging the constitutionality of DOMA’s Section 3, which prohibits federal acknowledgment of same-sex marriages performed where such marriages are legal. The lawsuit specifically addresses couples married in Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, according to GLAD.

Same-sex marriages are legal in those states.

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Furor continues over Miss. high school that dumped prom rather than allow lesbian couple

Constance McMillen pushes for gay couples to attend prom

FULTON, Miss. — The media whirlwind continues for Constance McMillen, the Mississippi student whose desire to take her girlfriend to the high school prom led to the cancellation of the event and a lawsuit from the ACLU against the school district.

McMillen’s media appearances have included “The Wanda Sykes Show,” the CBS Early Show, MSNBC and “The Joy Behar Show,” according to the Facebook page “Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to the Prom!” set up by the ACLU. At press time, the page had almost 290,000 fans.