Marriage Supporters Rally in Chicago

IMG_0021

Supporters of same-sex marriage gather for a rally for legalization in downtown Chicago on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2012.
(Photo by pup ruff)

CHICAGO – More than 300 people braved cold temperatures to participate at the Chicago Rally for Illinois Marriage Equality at the State of Illinois James R. Thompson Center in the Loop on Saturday, Jan. 5.

The rally comes after a week of surprising progress during the lame duck session of the Illinois General Assembly. State Senator Heather Steans pushed a bill to get same-sex marriage legalized in the state. The original bill was stopped in committee but it was added to another unrelated bill that could be voted on before the new Assembly is sworn in on Tuesday.

Support for marriage equality has come from surprising quarters in the past week. The Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill., reported that State GOP Chair Pat Brady of St. Charles called on fellow Republicans to support the proposal. The Chicago Tribune reported that a coalition of black ministers have also called for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The event was organized by a coalition of independent activists including The Civil Rights Agenda, Join The Impact Chicago, Queer Fest America and the Gay Liberation Network. Andrea Crain of Join The Impact Chicago said the rally was to show support for the proposal and to encourage people to contact their legislators to vote yes on the proposal. If if the proposal does not pass before the new Assembly is sworn in, activists are calling for same-sex marriage to be legalized in Illinois in 2013. Speakers included representatives from the organization organizations, Chicago Aldermen Bob Fioretti and James Cappleman (Cappleman had a civil union with his husband of 21 years in September 2012) and private citizens.

If passed, Illinois would become the second Midwestern state and the second most populated state after New York to legalize same-sex marriage. It would also mean that a full 20% of American states have legalized same-sex marriage.

On the rally’s Facebook event page, Andrea posted this in the run-up to the event:

The following IL state senators need calls, especially from their constituents, to persuade them to vote yes on the marriage equality bill.

Bill Haine (D, voting no): (217) 782-5247

James Meeks (D, voting no): (217) 782-8066

Pam Althoff (R, but persuadable) – (217) 782-8000

Ed Maloney (D, tentative yes but wavering) – (217) 782-5145

John Sullivan (D, tentative yes but wavering) – (217) 782-2479 or http://www.senatorjohnsullivan.com/index.php/contact-us  — Sullivan tallies his calls and emails carefully and needs your encouragement.

Update: Ira Silverstein (D): (217) 782-5500 was voting NO but switched to AYE and helped pass the bill out of committee because his staff told him his voicemail was flooded with calls in support. GOOD WORK! Call him back and say thanks. Please pass this on. Call your own Senator also, even if he or she is not on this list.

To find your own state legislators, go to http://votesmart.org/ — just put your address into the big red box and then look under State Legislative in the results page.
pup ruff
ChicagoDen
[flagallery gid=17 name=Gallery]