SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- The Illinois Senate has approved civil unions, putting Illinois on the verge of granting official recognition to gay and lesbian couples.
The measure passed 32-24 Wednesday. It now goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, a strong supporter.
Civil unions would give gay couples many of the same rights as marriage -- for instance, the power to make medical decisions for a seriously ill partner.
Critics say this would amount to same-sex marriage under a different name.
Some senators argued the Legislature shouldn't be discussing civil unions when Illinois faces a massive budget deficit that should get lawmakers' full attention.
The bill is SB1716.
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