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Financial Impact of the Illinois Civil Unions Act

This session, sponsored by The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's 7FLAG employee support network group, Harris Bank's Lions Pride employee support network group, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and the United Way, focuses on the impact of the Illinois Civil Unions Act.

The history of the Act, the financial benefits provided by the Act, and planning strategies for couples who decide to enter into a Civil Union are among the many topics that will be presented by our knowledgeable speakers.

This event is part of Money Smart Week Chicago 2011.

Bernard Cherkasov
Chief Executive Officer, Equality Illinois


Bernard Cherkasov is the Chief Executive Officer of Equality Illinois and an attorney by training. His experience includes negotiating with governmental authorities and elected officials on behalf of public corporations, arguing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, as well as assisting a wide range of clients with their legal needs. Prior to that, Bernard served at the Supreme Court of Israel as the International Law Clerk to Chief Justice Aharon Barak.


Bernard also brings public policy and advocacy experience to Equality Illinois. He had planned political advocacy and engagement strategies for Jewish community organizations in Washington, DC, analyzed hates crimes response effectiveness for the Anti-Defamation League, and participated in the strategic messaging and communications group at the American Civil Liberties Union's National Office.


Bernard is also deeply involved in his community. Currently, he served on the Board of Directors of AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, where he had been twice elected President. While living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Bernard was appointed by the Mayor to serve on the City’s CDBG Executive Committee. He is admitted to the bars of the Supreme Court of Illinois, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and the U.S. District Court for Northern District of Illinois.


Bernard has been honored with the Belfield Bates Award for public service, the Spitzer Fellowship in Public Policy, and the Public Interest Service Fellowship.


Bernard earned his Juris Doctorate from University of Michigan and his Master's degree, with the focus on the relationship of public policy, theology and law, from Harvard University.

Jill Metz
President of the Board of Directors, American Civil Liberties Union


Jill M. Metz was awarded her Juris Doctorate from Loyola University of Chicago in 1978 and began her own practice at that time. Ms. Metz is a renowned and experienced lawyer, who is repeatedly engaged to conduct educational workshops in the following areas: estate planning, civil unions, co-parent adoption, and domestic relations law.


Ms. Metz serves as the President of the Board of Directors for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois and Commissioner of Special Service Area #26. Ms Metz was inducted into the Lesbian and Gay Hall of Fame in 2006 for her outstanding work in the law and in support of and for the LGBT community.


She is the past legislative liaison for Lesbian and Gay Rights Committee of the Chicago Bar Association, former Chair of the Lesbian and Gay Rights Project of the ACLU, former President of the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, and former Treasurer of Stonewall Democrats.


Ms. Metz’s involvement in the gay and lesbian community reaches far beyond providing specialized legal services. Ms. Metz has tirelessly worked for the passage of a civil union bill as a step toward equal marriage, and she supports The Center on Halsted, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal Defense Fund, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, and political candidates for office that support equal rights.

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