Illinois Family Institute's Games Protest a Bust

Wed. July 26, 2006 12:00 AM by Kevin Wayne

Chicago, IL - The Illinois Family Institute's (IFI) anti-gay rally outside Steamworks fell flat on Saturday, July 22.

The protest, part of IFI's week-long "Love and Truth Offensive" to coincide with the Gay Games, was scheduled to run from 5:30 p.m. to Midnight, but the small group of IFI protesters reportedly left at 7:00 p.m.

Andy Thayer of the Gay Liberation Network, which countered the IFI's protest, tells the Windy City Times that "we had three or four times the number [IFI] had out here."

According to published reports, IFI had eight members present which included their outspoken executive director Peter LaBarbera, who was accompanied by an armed bodyguard.

LaBarbera and his conservative Illinois Family Institute targeted the Gay Games from the beginning, calling for several unsuccessful boycotts of Games sponsors. IFI also unsuccessfully pressured the Bush administration to revoke special visas allowing HIV-positive foreigners to compete in the Games.

Earlier this month, IFI presented a petition to get a same sex marriage referendum on the November ballot in Illinois; however, the Illinois State Board of Elections reviewed a random sample of the signatures and found only about 91 percent of those signatures were valid. The petition was rejected. LaBarbera plans to challenge the state's findings and move foward with the process.