We are continuing our discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court and same-sex marriage. The Illinois General Assembly is just one of many state legislatures grappling with the issue; several states are preparing for votes to approve constitutional amendments the define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
As Illinois nears the end of the first year of the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, the General Assembly is gearing up for a debate about same-sex marriage. Civil unions may grant same-sex couples many of the same rights and responsibilities that a married couple has -- including the right to divorce -- but, for proponents, it is not marriage. This is not the only state dealing with the issue, either.
Marriage and divorce laws differ from state to state, just as they differ between Canada and the United States. Generally, if your marriage is recognized in one state or one country, it will be recognized in another. And if you follow the laws of Illinois when you got married, you should be able to get divorced in Illinois, assuming again that you follow the divorce laws.
We are successfully avoiding a post about Kelsey Grammer's custody issues by talking about a law that is up for debate by elected officials about 8,000 miles away from Chicago. The Philippines is one of two countries in the world that prohibit divorce, and a handful of advocates are saying it's time that changed -- even in such a strong Roman Catholic culture.
The U.S. Department of State recently announced a revision to passport applications that has elicited a wide range of responses from advocacy groups. The words "mother" and "father" have been replaced by gender-neutral "parent 1" and "parent 2" on the child's application. The change has sparked a lively exchange of views about the definition of family.
Researchers at Indiana University released the results of a survey this week that shows a definite shift in Americans' definition of family. Data gathered in 2003, 2006 and 2010 from more than 2,300 interviews revealed that, over the past seven years, Americans have increasingly recognized both straight and gay unmarried couples as families -- a trend that is noteworthy to family law attorneys in Illinois and around the country.