State Passes Package of Legislation on LGBTQ+ Rights

State Passes Package of Legislation on LGBTQ+ Rights

The state of Illinois has passed legislation that aims to advance the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in Illinois.

The four pieces of legislation expand infertility treatment coverage for same-sex couples and women over 35, allow those getting married to choose gender-neutral certificates and those already married to have their certificates updated, and repeal the archaic HIV criminalization law.

Previous state legislation includes providing financial aid to transgender students who would otherwise be denied, bringing inclusive curriculum into schools to ensure LGBTQ+ history is represented in the classroom, expanding Medicaid to cover gender-affirming surgery, and putting in place the Getting to Zero plan to end HIV in Illinois in a decade.

In a state of Illinois news release, Gov. JB Pritzker said said the new laws “advance Illinoisans’ ability to live their fullest lives as their truest selves.”

“In our continued efforts to shape a safer and more inclusive Illinois, my administration is on a mission to lift up and empower those who too often have been overlooked or forgotten,” he said.

The package of bills signed into law Tuesday(July 27, 2021)  includes:

  • HB 3709, which updates the state’s existing infertility insurance law to include LGBTQ+ families and single parents, while reducing the wait time for women over 35.
  • SB 139, which establishes a process for individuals to correct the gendered language on their marriage certificates.
  • HB 2590, which creates a uniform standard that county clerks must adhere to for name changes on marriage certificates.
  • HB 1063, which repeals an HIV criminalization law.

“These pieces of critical legislation are a commitment to justice,” said Lt. Gov Juliana Stratton. “We will continue this important work of ensuring Illinois is an inclusive state that is safe for members of our LGBTQ community to be their authentic selves and live free from discrimination.”

HB 3709 expands insurance coverage for infertility treatments coverage to include same-sex couples, women over 35, single persons, and those who cannot get pregnant naturally due to a medical reason. Therefore, granting discrimination protections for individuals accessing fertility treatments.

Currently, coverage requirements are limited in scope, only protecting infertility treatments for women under the age of 35 who are unable to become pregnant after one year of trying, women over 35 who are unable to become pregnant after six months, and women who are unable to conceive without medical intervention.

This legislation increases coverage in the insurance code to be more inclusive for LGBTQ+ families, single parents, and women over 35. HB 3709 takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

SB 139 updates marriage certificates by allowing married couples to request a new marriage certificate from the county clerk free of any gender identifying language. This includes changing language to gender-neutral terms such as “spouse.” SB 139 takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

“Now that we have Marriage Equality in Illinois, those who marry in Cook County are able to choose how they identify on that special day,” said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. “But documents from the past can cause painful reminders of past stigmatization, or present bureaucratic issues in other jurisdictions.”

HB 2590 creates a uniform standard that county clerks must adhere to for name changes on marriage certificates. This is the same standard when making legal name changes on government documents such as birth certificates and driver’s licenses.

County clerks can issue new marriage certificates if the marriage occurred in Illinois and if legal documentation of the name change is provided. HB 2590 is effective immediately.

HB 1063 modernizes the approach to public health regarding HIV in Illinois, by decriminalizing the transmission of HIV. Currently, individuals living with HIV face the threat of arrest, prosecution, and incarceration due to their HIV status, regardless of whether they transmit HIV to another individual.

SOURCE: state of Illinois news release