Pritzker Signs Bill Making Illinois Second State To Repeal HIV Criminalization

The governor also signed a series of LGBTQ legislation designed to change laws that he called "archaic"

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A series of LGBTQ-rights bills signed by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker will reverse “archaic” laws and change the way county clerks issue marriage licenses, the governor said Tuesday.

Pritzker signed four bills that will expand rights to the LGBTQ community.

One of the most historic, HB 1063, will make Illinois only the second state in the country to completely reverse the criminalization of Illinoisans living with the HIV virus.

Before the bill's signing, Illinoisans could face prison time and thousands of dollars in fines if they didn’t disclose their HIV status to their intimate partners. Advocates say the law discriminated against marginalized communities and prevented people from getting tested, fearing legal repercussions for knowing their HIV status.

Timothy Jackson, Director of Government Relations for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, says medication has made HIV undetectable in many people being treated for the virus. Studies have shown individuals who are undetectable can’t transmit the virus to others.

“It is going to be a sigh of relief to not have your health condition used against you criminally,” said Jackson. “We’ve had people tell us, I’m not getting tested because if I get tested and I come back positive, I could potentially be charged with this crime.”

Pritzker called the old laws archaic.

“They don’t decrease infection rates, but they do increase stigma,” said Pritzker. “It’s high time we treat HIV as we do other treatable transmissible diseases.”

HB 1063 will also prevent a State’s Attorney from accessing an individual’s personal health record for cases. The bill will take effect immediately.

HB 3709 expands fertility treatment coverage to same-sex couples. It also applies to women over 35, single persons, and those who cannot get pregnant naturally due to a medical issue.

HB 2590 requires a county clerk to issue a new marriage certificate with the new legal name on it if one of the parties to the marriage shows a legal name change order. This standard in HB 2590 is the same standard for making legal name changes on birth certificates, passports, and driver’s licenses.

SB 139 requires a county clerk to issue a new marriage certificate when an individual requests a correction to the gendered language on a marriage certificate, such as “bride” or “groom.” Additionally, a couple can remove the gendered language altogether, in which case “spouse” would appear on the marriage certificate.

Married in Chicago, Kathy Flores was stunned to learn Illinois wouldn’t change her marriage license to reflect her partner’s gender transition and name change.  

A cancer survivor, Flores says she’s been discriminated against in healthcare facilities. These new laws will provide a better sense of security.

“We needed those legal rights because of my health,” said Flores. “So, in order for us to be honored in that way, we need that legal paperwork to be in place.”

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