The Chicago Family Law Blog

Opposite Sex Civil Unions in Illinois

More and more couples eligible to get married in Illinois are eschewing that right and choosing to enter a civil union instead. As you may already know, only opposite sex couples are allowed to legally marry in Illinois. Same-sex couples do not have this option and must enter into a civil union instead.

While civil union and marriage may be similar, they are not identical. And to show their solidarity with same-sex couples, opposite sex civil unions have been on the rise, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

The office of Cook County Clerk David Orr launched a survey of why opposite sex couples choose to enter into a civil union. Of the 46 heterosexual couples who responded to the survey, showing solidarity with their same-sex counterparts was the number one reason given, reports the Sun-Times.

Choosing to enter a civil union instead of getting married is a big decision. While the symbolic act of showing solidarity with same-sex couples is important, opposite sex couples entering a civil union should be aware that there may be some legal drawbacks as well.

For example, Illinois civil unions may only confer state benefits, and a couple joined together in a civil union may not be recognized under federal law. This means that an opposite sex couple in a civil union may have to file separate tax returns and may not be recognized for certain federal benefits like social security survivors' and spousal benefits, veterans' spousal benefits, immigration rights associated with marriage, federal spousal employment benefits, and certain tax benefits.

Opposite sex civil unions are on the rise as couples show solidarity with same-sex couples. However, if you are considering a civil union instead of marriage, you may want to speak with a family law attorney to learn of any legal drawbacks.

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