Governor Pritzker Signs New Laws to Improve Health and Well-being of LGBTQ Illinoisans
Howard Brown Health commends Governor Pritzker for his signing and support of legislation that helps ensure health equity for LGBTQ Illinoisans. Here is a look at the four important bills that the Governor signed on July 27.
HB 1063: HIV Decriminalization in Illinois
Thanks to the advocacy and leadership from Representative Carol Ammons, Senator Robert Peters, and the Illinois HIV Action Alliance, HB 1063 is now law. HB 1063 repeals the state’s outdated and stigmatizing HIV criminalization law. This law threatened arrest, prosecution and incarceration to people living with HIV (PLWH) for having consensual sex, sharing syringes, or donating blood without disclosing HIV status. PLWH could be prosecuted regardless of if HIV was even transmitted. Proponents of the HIV criminalization law hoped that it would help reduce HIV transmission. In reality, research shows that HIV criminalization laws actually harm PLWH by further stigmatizing HIV and discouraging disclosure of HIV status. This undermines public health interventions that encourage testing and disclosure of HIV status as critical strategies to ending the HIV epidemic. Furthermore, HIV criminalization laws disproportionately harm LGBTQ people and Black and Brown communities who are already over-policed. The passage of HB 1063 is a critical step in advancing our state’s goal of getting to zero new HIV infections and improving health and well-being for people living with HIV. HB 1063 is effective immediately.
HB 3709: Infertility Insurance Coverage for LGBTQ People
HB 3709 updates the state’s existing infertility insurance law to be inclusive of LGBTQ people and single parents seeking to start families. Infertility was previously defined as “the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse,” and insurers that provide pregnancy-related benefits were required to also cover services for infertility, such as in vitro fertilization, alternative insemination, and embryo transfer. LGBTQ people and single people wanting to use these services to start a family were often denied insurance coverage because they did not meet the heteronormative definition of infertility. HB 3709 expands the definition of infertility by adding that “a person’s inability to reproduce either as a single individual or with a partner without medical intervention” also qualifies as infertility, and people who meet this definition should qualify for coverage for infertility services from insurers regulated by the Illinois Insurance Code. HB 3709 also prohibits insurers from imposing copays, deductibles, waiting periods, or other limitations on coverage for infertility services that are different from those imposed on benefits for other services. Howard Brown’s alternative insemination program works with many LGBTQ clients wanting to start families, and this new law will help to increase access to these services. Thanks to the lead sponsors Representative Margaret Croke and Senator Laura Fine for leading this work. HB 3709 is effective January 1, 2022.
HB 2590 and SB 139: Updating and Correcting Name and Gender Markers on Marriage Certificates
Thanks to the work of lead sponsors Representative Ann Williams and Senator Sara Feigenholtz, as well as advocacy from Equality Illinois and Chicago House, both HB 2590 and SB 139 have been signed into law and will help transgender and non-binary individuals see themselves reflected in their marriage documents. SB 139 establishes a process for individuals to correct or remove gendered language from marriage certificates. It also encourages county clerks issuing these documents to be more mindful of those who identify as non-binary or transgender. HB 2590 requires county clerks to issue new marriage certificates that reflect legal name changes upon request. These new laws remove unnecessary barriers to acquiring documentation that accurately reflects a person’s identity. HB 2590 is effective immediately and SB 139 is effective January 1, 2022.