Gay and lesbian couples won’t have to testify against each other in state courts. They will be able to file wrongful death suits on behalf of a deceased partner. They will have access to each other’s pensions. They will never be turned away from visiting a sick partner in a hospital.

Such are the rights that would be available under a civil unions bill that passed both state houses this week, and that after the governor’s promised signature, would be expected to go into effect next summer.

The ACLU of Illinois tirelessly advocated for these changes that would extend basic fairness to all couples in Illinois. To read more about the law and the ACLU’s position on the new law, go to the Chicago Tribune’s page-1 story.

For a look at how the national media covered the momentous occasion, check out the Associated Press story, which ran in publications across the country.