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Gov. Quinn Will Sign Civil Unions Bill Next Year

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Same Sex Marriage

(Credit: AP)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Gov. Pat Quinn said Friday that he will wait until the new year to sign legislation that legalizes civil unions for same-sex couples in Illinois.

The legislation, passed by the General Assembly this week, would give many of the same rights to gay and lesbian couples that married heterosexual couples already have.

Quinn said Friday that he will hold a bill-signing ceremony early next year. He has praised the legislation as historic. It goes into effect in June, after Quinn signs the legislation.

The governor said the bill will attract businesses and conventions to Illinois because the state has showed itself to be “welcoming, accepting, hospitable place.”

Opponents have criticized the legislation, calling it a move toward same-sex marriage.

The Illinois State Senate approved civil unions on Wednesday by a vote of 32-24. The House passed the bill the day before.

RELATED STORY: The Gay Rights Movement In Illinois: A History

The measure will give same-sex couples all 648 legal benefits of marriage. These include the right to visit a sick partner in the hospital and make decisions about their medical care, and property inheritance rights. But the bill does not recognize same-sex marriage.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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