Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a same-sex civil unions bill into law on Monday to the objection of traditional marriage advocates.
David E. Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute said recognizing civil unions is merely a stepping stone to legalizing same-sex marriage.
"Marriage was not created by man or governments," Smith asserted. "It is an institution created by God. Governments merely recognize its nature and importance."
Illinois is the sixth state to allow gay and lesbian couples to enter into civil unions. Under the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, which goes into effect June 1, couples will have access to the same state rights and protections already entitled to married couples.
Quinn declared, "[T]oday we are showing the world that the people of Illinois believe in equality for all. We look forward to individuals and businesses from across the country choosing to move to Illinois where we believe that everyone is entitled to the same rights."
The bill was sponsored by Sen. David Koehler (D-Peoria) and Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago), who is openly gay.
Traditional marriage advocate Smith has called the legislation divisive and unpopular. He further contended that the bill does not promote the general welfare of the citizenry.
The unique relationship between a man and a woman, he said, provides particular benefits to society, chief among them, the procreation and nurturing of the next generation.
Smith also argued, "Homosexual behavior is not equivalent to race and gender diversity is essential to marriage. It is intellectually dishonest to argue otherwise."
Same-sex civil unions are legal in California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia.