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IL Adopts New LGBTQ+ Protections       06/10 08:10


   CHICAGO (AP) -- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed into law two 
measures aimed at safeguarding the rights of LGBTQ+ people as other states move 
to restrict the community, just days after the Human Rights Campaign declared a 
state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans.

   One of the new laws will update language in existing acts to be more gender 
inclusive in order to affirm LGBTQ+ youth in foster care, and the other will 
make it easier for LGBTQ+ couples to marry. The laws will be effective on Aug. 
8 and on Jan. 1, 2024, respectively.

   Illinois is one of several U.S. states with Democratic-majority legislatures 
that has worked to reinforce LGBTQ+ rights, as Republican-led legislatures in 
other states advance bills that target the community, including restrictions on 
gender-affirming care, bans on transgender youth participation in sports, and " 
bathroom bills." The two new pro-LGBTQ+ Illinois laws were signed about a week 
into Pride month, a season intended to celebrate the lives and experiences of 
LGBTQ+ communities, but which this year takes place in a contentious political 

   "Some of our surrounding states seem to be focused on taking away hard-won 
rights for the LGBTQ+ community, and we must remain vigilant and aggressive in 
ensuring that Illinois is not only a refuge state and a sanctuary state for 
LGBTQ communities, but that we call out the hatred, punitive legislation, and 
entirely unnecessary regression that we're seeing," said Sen. Mike Simmons, who 
sponsored both bills and is the only "out" member of the Illinois Senate.

   The Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday declared that LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. 
are " under attack."

   The nation's largest organization devoted to the rights of lesbian, gay, 
bisexual, transgender and queer Americans released a guidebook pointing to laws 
it deems discriminatory in each state, and counted more than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ 
bills that have been signed into law this year.

   The NAACP last month issued a travel advisory for Florida, a popular 
warm-weather destination in the U.S., warning Black and LGBTQ+ tourists of 
"openly hostile" recent laws and policies championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and 
Florida lawmakers.

   The Illinois bills garnered nearly 2,000 opponents, including hundreds of 
individuals and the Illinois Family Institute, who registered their disapproval 
of the pro-LGBTQ+ legislation.

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