Illinois lawmakers could soon approve some medical benefits enjoyed by married couples to those in civil unions. Illinois’ civil union law provides those couples are entitled to the same rights and privileges as those in traditional marriages. But due to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, some federal benefits aren’t afforded.
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Randy Hannig, policy director for Equality Illinois, says Illinois is now considering its own Family Medical Leave Act, which gives an employee 12 weeks of unpaid leave to tend to a sick partner or child. “We find that this is one of those areas that because federal law is lacking, we should pick up the slack and take the lead by joining 10 other states which also has a state Family Medical Leave Act,” he says. The measure, H.B. 4724, barely passed a committee, on a party line vote. Hannig says Illinois’ act would cover only businesses with 50 or more employees.