According to an article in the Windy City Times this week, members of the LGBT community gathered in the Federal Reserve Bank's conference room earlier this month to hear about the recently passed civil-unions act and ask questions.

Chris Malone—president of the bank's employee-support group, 7FLAG, 7th District Friends of Lesbians and Gays—opened the informal meeting, and introduced the two guest speakers: Bernard Cherkasov and Jill Metz. Cherkasov, the CEO of Equality Illinois, talked with listeners about the grueling fight to get the act passed.

Metz—an attorney with her own firm, Jill M. Metz and Associates, who is also president of the board of directors for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois—explained the legal benefits the civil-unions act will provide and took questions from listeners. She said that the act affords same-sex unions the same rights and protections that married couples receive, including medical decision making, and the fact that income earned by either person in the relationship belongs to both members of the union. In addition, children born to parents in a same-sex union will be the children of both parents. This is important because couples had to file for second-parent adoption.

Metz cautioned listeners that even though the civil-unions act seems like a "dream come true," couples should still file for second-parent adoption and a civil-union certificate. The act is only recognized on a state level ( not federal ) ; therefore, couples cannot get social security for one another or file a joint federal tax return. If one member of the union is in the military, the civil-union certificate as grounds for discharge. Also, said certificates can complicate the adoption process.