|Public Act 096-1513|
|SB1716 Enrolled||LRB096 04132 AJO 14173 b|
AN ACT concerning civil law.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
This Act may be cited as the
Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act.
Purposes; rules of construction.
This Act shall
be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying
purposes, which are to provide adequate procedures for the
certification and registration of a civil union and provide
persons entering into a civil union with the obligations,
responsibilities, protections, and benefits afforded or
recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses.
As used in this Act:
"Certificate" means a document that certifies that the
persons named on the certificate have established a civil union
in this State in compliance with this Act.
"Civil union" means a legal relationship between 2 persons,
of either the same or opposite sex, established pursuant to
"Department" means the Department of Public Health.
"Officiant" means the person authorized to certify a civil
union in accordance with Section 40.
"Party to a civil union" means a person who has established
a civil union pursuant to this Act. "Party to a civil union"
means, and shall be included in, any definition or use of the
terms "spouse", "family", "immediate family", "dependent",
"next of kin", and other terms that denote the spousal
relationship, as those terms are used throughout the law.
Nothing in this Act shall
interfere with or regulate the religious practice of any
religious body. Any religious body, Indian Nation or Tribe or
Native Group is free to choose whether or not to solemnize or
officiate a civil union.
Protections, obligations, and
A party to a civil union is entitled to the
same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and
benefits as are afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois
to spouses, whether they derive from statute, administrative
rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil or
Prohibited civil unions.
The following civil
unions are prohibited:
(1) a civil union entered into prior to both parties
attaining 18 years of age;
(2) a civil union entered into prior to the dissolution
of a marriage or civil union or substantially similar legal
relationship of one of the parties;
(3) a civil union between an ancestor and a descendent
or between siblings whether the relationship is by the half
or the whole blood or by adoption;
(4) a civil union between an aunt or uncle and a niece
or nephew, whether the relationship is by the half or the
whole blood or by adoption; and
(5) a civil union between first cousins.
Application, license, and certification.
(a) The Director of Public Health shall prescribe the form
for an application, license, and certificate for a civil union.
(b) An application for a civil union shall include the
(1) name, sex, occupation, address, social security
number, date and place of birth of each party to the civil
(2) name and address of the parents or guardian of each
(3) whether the parties are related to each other and,
if so, their relationship; and
(4) in the event either party was previously married or
entered into a civil union or a substantially similar legal
relationship, provide the name, date, place and the court
in which the marriage or civil union or substantially
similar legal relationship was dissolved or declared
invalid or the date and place of death of the former spouse
or of the party to the civil union or substantially similar
(c) When an application has been completed and signed by
both parties, applicable fees have been paid, and both parties
have appeared before the county clerk, the county clerk shall
issue a license and a certificate of civil union upon being
furnished satisfactory proof that the civil union is not
(d) A license becomes effective in the county where it was
issued one day after the date of issuance, and expires 60 days
after it becomes effective.
(e) The certificate must be completed and returned to the
county clerk that issued the license within 10 days of the
(f) A copy of the completed certificate from the county
clerk or the return provided to the Department of Public Health
by a county clerk shall be presumptive evidence of the civil
union in all courts.
Duties of the county clerk.
(a) Before issuing a civil union license to a person who
resides and intends to continue to reside in another state, the
county clerk shall satisfy himself or herself by requiring
affidavits or otherwise that the person is not prohibited from
entering into a civil union or substantially similar legal
relationship by the laws of the jurisdiction where he or she
(b) Upon receipt of the certificate, the county clerk shall
notify the Department of Public Health within 45 days. The
county clerk shall provide the Department of Public Health with
a return on a form furnished by the Department of Public Health
and shall substantially consist of the following items:
(1) a copy of the application signed and attested to by
the applicants, except that in any county in which the
information provided in a civil union application is
entered into a computer, the county clerk may submit a
computer copy of the information without the signatures and
attestations of the applicants;
(2) the license number;
(3) a copy of the certificate; and
(4) the date and location of the civil union.
(c) Each month, the county clerk shall report to the
Department of Public Health the total number of civil union
applications, licenses, and certificates filed during the
(d) Any official issuing a license with knowledge that the
parties are thus prohibited from entering into a civil union
shall be guilty of a petty offense.
A civil union may be certified:
by a judge of a court of record; by a retired judge of a court
of record, unless the retired judge was removed from office by
the Judicial Inquiry Board, except that a retired judge shall
not receive any compensation from the State, a county, or any
unit of local government in return for the solemnization of a
civil union and there shall be no effect upon any pension
benefits conferred by the Judges Retirement System of Illinois;
by a judge of the Court of Claims; by a county clerk in
counties having 2,000,000 or more inhabitants; by a public
official whose powers include solemnization of marriages; or in
accordance with the prescriptions of any religious
denomination, Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group, provided
that when such prescriptions require an officiant, the
officiant be in good standing with his or her religious
denomination, Indian Nation or Tribe or Native Group. The
person performing a civil union shall complete the certificate
and forward it to the county clerk within 10 days after a civil
Dissolution; declaration of invalidity.
person who enters into a civil union in Illinois consents to
the jurisdiction of the courts of Illinois for the purpose of
any action relating to a civil union even if one or both
parties cease to reside in this State. A court shall enter a
judgment of dissolution of a civil union if at the time the
action is commenced it meets the grounds for dissolution set
forth in Section 401 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution
of Marriage Act. The provisions of Sections 401 through 413 of
the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act shall
apply to a dissolution of a civil union. The provisions of
Sections 301 through 306 of the Illinois Marriage and
Dissolution of Marriage Act shall apply to the declaration of
invalidity of a civil union.
Application of the Civil Practice Law.
provisions of the Civil Practice Law shall apply to all
proceedings under this Act, except as otherwise provided in
this Act. A proceeding for dissolution of a civil union or
declaration of invalidity of a civil union shall be entitled
"In re the Civil Union of ... and ...". The initial pleading in
all proceedings under this Act shall be denominated a petition.
A responsive pleading shall be denominated a response. All
other pleadings under this Act shall be denominated as provided
in the Civil Practice Law.
The proceedings shall be had in the
county where the petitioner or respondent resides or where the
parties' certificate of civil union was issued, except as
otherwise provided herein, but process may be directed to any
county in the State. Objection to venue is barred if not made
within such time as the respondent's response is due. In no
event shall venue be deemed jurisdictional.
A marriage between persons of the
same sex, a civil union, or a substantially similar legal
relationship other than common law marriage, legally entered
into in another jurisdiction, shall be recognized in Illinois
as a civil union.
If any part of this Act or its
application to any person or circumstance is adjudged invalid,
the adjudication or application shall not affect the validity
of this Act as a whole or of any other part.