Letters to the Editor

Allow common law marriage in Illinois

I am writing to voice my displeasure on a decision that has been made on a person’s right to draw a widow’s pension by Social Security.

A lady I know recently told me that after divorcing after five years of abuse, she met another man and eventually they started living together. Neither one of them wanted to marry because of abuse suffered in their previous marriages. They lived happily until the man passed away. He left her some money and the home they shared.

She recently tried to apply for widow’s benefits, only to be told because Illinois is not a common law state, she cannot receive any of his Social Security even though they lived together for 20 years. This seems wrong to me because Social Security pays benefits to gay couples and Illinois has made gay marriage legal.

Another lady I know divorced after 7 1/2 years, then lived together with the same man another three years. When he died, same thing. I find this disturbing. We can allow gay marriage but not common law; that to me is a double standard. I feel state representatives need to allow Illinois to become common law.

Yes, I realize as a Christian woman that living together without marriage is wrong, but so is gay marriage. As far as my friend, she could use the benefit but at 60 years old she will work until she dies.

Again, this is sad.

Donna Kepner