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      UPDATE: Ill. senate approves civil unions

      UPDATE: December 3 at 1:28 p.m.

      Gov. Pat Quinn says he will wait until next year to sign civil union legislation giving gay couples many of the same legal rights as heterosexual married people.

      Quinn said Friday he expects to hold a bill-signing ceremony early in the new year. Illinois lawmakers passed the landmark legislation earlier this week during the fall veto session.

      The governor has praised the new law calling it "historic."

      The law goes into effect in June, after Quinn signs the bill.

      Quinn says the bill will attract conventions and businesses to the state because Illinois is showing itself to be a "welcoming, accepting, hospitable place."

      Opponents have criticized the legislation because they say it's a move toward same-sex marriage.


      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 to 24.

      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.

      Click here to read more on the Illinois General Assembly website.