On June 1, the state of Illinois began recognizing civil unions that offer homosexual and heterosexual partners many of the same rights allowed to married couples under state law. The rights now recognized just across the river from us include automatic hospital visitation rights, the ability to make emergency medical decisions for partners, the ability to share a room in a nursing home, adoption and parental rights, pension benefits, inheritance rights, and the right to dispose of a partner's remains.
It has only been two weeks, but nothing terrible has happened in Illinois.
The example of Illinois has helped my own thoughts on this subject become clearer and more urgent. I live in a city that has had a domestic partnership registry for more than a decade. I live in a city that seven years ago soundly voted its opposition to an amendment to the state constitution that bans same-sex marriage. I live in a city enriched and enlivened by its population of gay, lesbian, and transgendered residents.
June is LGBT Pride month. I use the occasion of its celebration to acknowledge my strong support for a civil unions law in Missouri.