An additional -- and somewhat overlooked -- provision in Illinois' civil unions legislation would allow straight couples to apply for a civil union license if they don't want to wed but want the legal protections spouses currently enjoy. This is critical for some widows and widowers who would otherwise forfeit survivor's benefits from a public pension or Social Security if they remarry. Thankfully, the Tribune tugged at that thread in a story today:
Courtney Greve, spokeswoman for Cook County Clerk David Orr, said the clerk's office gets weekly calls from heterosexual couples who don't want to marry but are interested in some sort of domestic partnership. Some, she said, are young couples facing a loss of health insurance, who want to wait to get married until they can plan a more elaborate wedding. The county's domestic partnership registry is not open to heterosexual couples.
One of the paper's columnists, Eric Zorn, also has a nice piece this morning about how the new change will help promote tolerance across the state. Read it here.