CHICAGO — The ACLU of Illinois celebrated an Illinois Supreme Court decision confirming parental rights under the Illinois Civil Union Act on Thursday.
According to a statement from ACLUL of Illinois, Kris Fulkerson was seeking to exercise her rights as a stepparent under Illinois Civil Union Act. Fulkerson entered into a civil union with the father of the child, and acted as a step-parent to the child prior to the father’s death. An appellate court denied Fulkerson the ability to seek rights as a step-parent because she and her partner had entered into a civil union, rather than a marriage. Thursdays’s decision reversed that decision.
“I am so pleased by the Court’s ruling. This was not just a court case,” said Fulkerson. “It was about my family. When my partner and I entered into a civil union seven years ago, we understood that our civil union would give us all the same rights and responsibilities as a marriage. I became a step-parent to a child who became an important part of my life and the life of my entire family. We forged a strong relationship as a family, one that did not end – legally or emotionally – at the death of my partner.”
“This is a great decision, not only for the LGBTQ community but for all couples who decided to enter into a civil union,” said John Knight, LGBTQ & HIV Project Director for ACLU of Illinois. “The Court clearly recognized that when the Illinois General Assembly passed the Civil Union Act, it intended to extend to civil union partners all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, including those of a step-parent.”