Governor Quinn Announces First Day of Marriage Equality
CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn today announced that all couples in Illinois are now able to receive the rights and protections of marriage. The Governor led the charge for historic legislation he signed in November to make Illinois the 16th state in the nation to embrace full marriage equality, and today that law takes effect. The new law is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to make Illinois the most welcoming state in the nation.
"Today is a special day and I thank everyone who worked so hard to pass marriage equality and put Illinois on right side of history," Governor Quinn said. "All couples across Illinois can now receive the rights and protections under the sacred vow of marriage. The Land of Lincoln has always been a place to embrace all people and today we stand as an example for the rest of the nation."
Starting June 1, 2014, the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act goes into effect statewide, giving everyone in Illinois, regardless of gender, equal access to the status, benefits, protections, rights and responsibilities of marriage. Governor Quinn first called for marriage equality in May 2012 and made it a top legislative priority, featuring it in his 2013 State of the State address. In November, the Governor signed the historic bill in front of thousands at the University of Illinois at Chicago's UIC Forum.
In addition to equal access benefits and protections, current provisions in the Affordable Care Act require all insurance companies to offer the coverage to all couples, regardless of their gender. This means that all married couples and their children can now enroll in a plan together in Illinois and may qualify for financial help on the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Marriage and other qualifying life events may allow you to get coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace through a Special Enrollment Period, but you must enroll in a plan within 60 days of your marriage or other life event. A Special Enrollment Period also allows you to make changes to your current plan, like adding your spouse and their children, changing carriers, and possibly getting financial help. To learn more about your coverage options or to find free in-person help in your area visit GetCoveredIllinois.gov or call 866-311-1119 Monday - Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In 2011, the Governor signed into law historic civil union legislation. For the more than 6,000 couples across Illinois who have joined in a civil union, the law also allows the ability to convert a civil union to marriage and make the marriage date retroactive to the date of the civil union. When applying for a Special Enrollment Period, be sure to use the date your civil union was converted to a marriage.