What is a civil union?

A civil union is a legal relationship granted by the State of Illinois. Partners who enter into a civil union in Illinois are entitled to the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits that state law provides to married spouses.

However, civil unions entered into in Illinois are not recognized under federal laws. Partners to a civil union in Illinois are entitled to almost none of the obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits that federal law provides to married spouses.

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1. What is a civil union?
2. When do civil unions become legal in Illinois?
3. Are civil unions only for gay and lesbian couples?
4. Can we enter into a civil union if one or both of us are 16 or 17 years old?
5. Can we enter into a civil union if either of us has been married or in a civil union before?
6. Do we need a license to enter into a civil union?
7. Where do we get a license and how much does it cost?
8. Do we both need to be present at the county clerk’s office to apply for a license?
9. Who can certify our civil union?
10. Do we need to have a religious ceremony in order to enter into a civil union?
11. If I enter into a civil union in Illinois, will it be recognized in other states?
12. If I entered into a same-sex marriage, civil union or domestic partnership in another state, do I need to enter into a civil union again in Illinois?
13. If my partner and I registered as domestic partners in Cook County, do we need to enter into a civil union?
14. If my partner and I had a religious ceremony but have not entered into a legal relationship in any state, do we need to enter into a civil union?
15. What happens if we enter into a civil union and our relationship later ends?
16. Can I sponsor my civil union partner for immigration?
17. Can I cover my civil union partner under health insurance and other benefits provided by my employer?
18. Are benefits that my employer provides to my civil union partner taxable?
19. Can my civil union partner and I file jointly for federal income tax purposes?
20. Can my civil union partner and I file jointly for state income tax purposes?
21. Will my civil union partner inherit my possessions after I die?
22. If I die, will my civil union partner be entitled to receive Social Security survivor benefits?