Yesterday, the Illinois Senate passed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. The bill allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions and attain some of the same benefits enjoyed by married couples, such as the right to visit a partner in the hospital and the right to make decisions about the partner’s medical care. Sponsored by Representative Greg Harris (D-13), the bill passed by a vote of 32-24 in the Senate and has already passed in the House. The bill does not, however, allow for same-sex marriages in Illinois. Joe Solomonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign, stated “HRC applauds the Illinois Senate for recognizing that our families need the security of legal recognition now by swiftly passing a civil unions bill.” Currently, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington DC give marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. Five states, California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington, allow same-sex couples to form civil unions or domestic partnerships.