Naperville couple Mike Isaac and Adam Stachowiak have been together for nearly a decade, co-own a pet shop and share a house together, according to a profile in the Naperville Sun. And with the passage of Illinois' civil unions bill which allows civil unions in Illinois, they look forward to the rights and privileges of committed heterosexual couples.
Besides the fact that they're both men, they're typical of couples in long-term relationships. Mike Isaac said his other half can be "kind of a slob," while Adam Stachowiak said his partner tends to worry too much about finances.
The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act is not limited to same-sex couples but was written with gays and lesbians in mind, allowing for "the obligations, responsibilities, protections and benefits afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses."
What remains to be seen is how Illinois family lawyers will handle the dissolution of a civil union, commonly referred to as a divorce.
Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the bill in the New Year, while most observers expect it to be enacted after June 1. Mike Isaac and Adam Stachiowiak are anxious to tie the knot for a number of reasons, including property and inheritance rights and the ability to make legal decisions for one another.
The pair met online while they were in college and began dating each other exclusively in 2002. They even held a commitment ceremony, which Mike Isaac said was "just like a normal wedding ceremony" but held only symbolic significance.
Both men described the process of acceptance after they came out to their parents but said everything's fine now. Mike Isaac said his partner's parents even call him their son-in-law:
"It's like a normal, spousal relationship. Now Adam and I forget we're different. We forget we're the weird ones on the block."
An Illinois family law attorney can best explain what couples need to know about the new civil unions bill once it becomes law.