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Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act

The Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (750 ILCS 75/1) became effective in the State of Illinois on June 1, 2011. The Act creates a legal relationship between two persons of the same or opposite sex who form a civil union. The Act provides that the parties to a civil union are entitled to the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits that are afforded or recognized by the laws of Illinois to spouses. The law further provides that a party to a civil union shall be included in any definition or use of the terms “spouse,” “family,” “immediate family,” “dependent,” “next of kin,” and other terms descriptive of spousal relationships as those terms are used throughout Illinois law. This includes the terms “marriage” or “married,” or variations thereon. If policies of insurance provide coverage for children, the children of civil unions must also be provided coverage. The Act also requires recognition of civil unions or same sex civil unions or marriages legally entered into in other jurisdictions.

The terms and requirements of the Act are incorporated into existing Illinois law, including the Illinois Insurance Code. Therefore, beginning June 1, 2011, and thereafter, all contracts of insurance issued by Illinois-licensed insurers on Illinois risks, or renewal contracts issued on Illinois risks, or contracts in force on that date, will comply with the Act.

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