"Modern Family" star Jesse Tyler Ferguson lobbies for Illinois marriage equality

Sun. December 30, 2012 6:02 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

jesse tyler ferguson (right) and fiance justin mikita

photo credit // facebook.com/tietheknotorg

Bow Tie Lobby Day in Springfield on Thursday

Chicago, IL - As momentum for Illinois marriage equality continues to build, ChicagoPride.com has confirmed that Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson will be in Chicago and Springfield this week to lobby for Illinois' gay marriage bill.

Ferguson, who portrays Mitchell Pritchett on the ABC hit comedy, will join Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon in Chicago on Wednesday to launch marriage equality days of action. They will be joined by marriage equality advocates and allies at the Thompson Center to encourage Illinoisans to contact their legislators and join a Bow Tie Lobby Day in Springfield on Thursday.

"Justin and I are thrilled to be participating in Springfield's Bow Tie Lobby Day. Drawing attention to the importance of marriage equality at this level is exactly why we developed Tie The Knot," Ferguson said.

The openly-gay actor and his fiancé, Justin Mikita, recently launched "Tie The Knot," a not-for-profit organization that sells unique, limited-edition bow ties, with profits going to charitable organizations that are working for marriage equality throughout the country. The bow ties are sold through The Tie Bar, a Naperville-based company which Simon, Ferguson and Mikita will also visit on Wednesday afternoon.

"We are also excited to see how the citizens and legislators of Illinois do with their bow tying skills," joked Ferguson.

To commemorate the occassion, Ferguson and Mikita released a limited-edition Signature Black Wedding tie which is available through TieTheKnot.org or by visiting TheTieBar.com.

"Bringing marriage equality to Illinois is the right thing to do, and I appreciate the hard work by Rep. Greg Harris, Sen. Heather Steans and three-time Emmy nominee Jesse Tyler Ferguson to bring much-deserved attention to this issue," said Simon, a longtime advocate for marriage equality and LGBT rights.

The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (HB 5170), which would give gay and lesbian couples in Illinois the freedom to marry, was introduced in February by Harris and two other openly gay state representatives, Deb Mell (D-Chicago) and Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago).

Harris and State Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago) announced in early December that they were preparing to call a vote on House Bill 5710 sometime during the Illinois legislature's lame duck session in early January.

If approved, Illinois would become the 10th state to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.

On the web: www.Facebook.com/TieTheKnotOrg

Related: Illinois takes more steps toward marriage equality