Illinois marriage equality rally planned for noon this Saturday

Fri. January 4, 2013 9:58 PM by News Staff

Hundreds are expected to rally in support of marriage equality in Illinois

Chicago, IL - With Illinois on the verge of legalizing gay marriage, a coalition of LGBT rights groups are calling on advocates and allies supporting full marriage equality to rally this Saturday outside the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph.

"We're the home state of President Obama and Land of Lincoln and our voices must be heard," said Lair Scott of Queer Fest America. Scott is a member of the coalition behind the hour-long rally, which is expected to draw hundreds of supporters to downtown Chicago.

The Chicago Rally for Illinois Marriage Equality was planned before a bill legalizing gay marriage in Illinois passed a Senate Executive Committee on Thursday. Lawmakers; however, will not act on the legislation until the next general assembly, which begins Wed., Jan 9.

Gay rights activists say now is not the time to stop pushing for equality.

"This rally is about coming together to show the community and lawmakers that Illinois is ready for marriage equality now," said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA). "It is important that all advocates of marriage equality are engaged throughout the state. We hope that gathering folks together will energize them to action."

The Gay Men's Chorus will open the rally at noon. Scheduled to speak are Scott of Queer Fest America; Martinez and Rick Garcia of TCRA; Ald. James Cappleman (46th Ward) and his husband, Richard Thale; Andy Thayer of the Gay Liberation Network; Matty Zaradich of All Saint's Episcopal Church Social Justice Group; Pastor Suzanne Anderson-Hurdle of Good Shepard Lutheran Church; Representative from the Chicago Teachers Union; Beth and Boyd Bellinger, spouses in civil union with twin children; Ryne Poelker of the International Socialist Organization; and Rachel Miller of Join the Impact Chicago (JTIC).

"Illinois is ready for full marriage equality," said Andrea Crain, a member of JTIC. "Civil unions are a second-class status and we want to send a message that all Illinois citizens must be treated equally under the law."

Martinez added, "We are on the precipice of passing marriage equality in Illinois, and by coming together as a community at this rally we can show that we have the support to get this bill passed. Lawmakers need to see that we have the support and this is how we can show them."

The event is organized by TCRA, JTIC, Queer Fest America and Gay Liberation Network.

As of 10 p.m. on Friday, nearly 500 people have indicated plans to attend on a Facebook page for the event.

Related: Illinois gay marriage bill moves forward, but at a slower pace

Sat. January 5, 2013 10:45:48 PM | Updated Adding new comments from Anthony Martinez