A bill legalizing gay marriage passed an Illinois House committee vote late Tuesday night but not much will change for employer-sponsored benefit plans in the state. Illinois already recognizes spousal-equivalent civil unions so employers with insured plans are already required to cover civil union partners to the same extent they cover spouses.

“Civil unions are equal to spouses under state law [in Illinois],” explains Todd Solomon, partner with McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago. “So, if you’re an insured plan governed by Illinois state law and your insured plan covers spouses, your insured plan must cover civil union spouses.”

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