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The Illinois State Bar Association voted Saturday to support the legal relationship known as “civil unions,” which would give unmarried couples, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, the same protections, benefits and responsibilities under state law that are provided to married couples. The bar association passed a resolution that gives its support to a bill pending in the Illinois House of Representatives that would recognize civil unions, the association said in a release. The legislation would protect the rights of people in civil unions with respect to social security benefits, pensions and adoption, the association said. Supporters of the resolution said the state’s current law discriminates against people in committed relationships who are unable or unwilling to marry. “Supporting civil unions is not only a vote for civil rights and human rights, but also economic rights,” said Joseph Bisceglia, a partner at Jenner & Block who was installed last week as the association’s president. “With this action, the ISBA has agreed to provide guidance and support for legislative proposals regarding civil unions.” The act would also recognize such civil unions made by couples in other states. California, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Vermont and the state of Washington currently have such laws and Oregon and New Hampshire will have them in January.

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