Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed two bills on Friday safeguarding LGBTQ+ rights in the state.
HB 1591 amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The Act previously prohibited out of state couples from obtaining and Illinois marriage license. The language before amendment stated, “no marriage shall be contracted in this State by a party residing and intending to continue to reside in another state or jurisdiction.” The amendment will now allow couples from outside the state to receive a marriage license.
The amendment in HB 1591 works in conjunction with the federal Respect for Marriage Act passed in 2022. Under federal law, states are now required to recognize legal marriages performed in another state, including same-sex marriages. Congress passed the Respect for Marriage Act due to concerns the Supreme Court could overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. A more conservative Supreme Court indicated in their decision eliminating a federal right to abortion that other rights extended under marriage and privacy, including Obergefell, may be reviewed.
Pritzker also signed HB 1596. The bill amends the Children and Family Services Act by removing gender specific pronouns. The removal of male and female pronouns is intended to make the statute more inclusive and representative.
Illinois stands in contrast to many other states advancing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ laws have been introduced in 2023 so far—a record high—with more than 70 becoming law, double the amount of anti-LGBTQ+ bills that became law last year. Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an LGBTQ+ rights group, recently declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the US.