Boystown business owner sends clear message on marriage equality

Thu. June 6, 2013 9:51 AM by News Staff

marriage equality sign outside halsted's

photo credit // andy ambrosius/lakeview patch
Chicago, IL - Unfinished business by the Illinois House has one Boystown business owner speaking out on marriage equality.

"I was extremely disappointed and, like many of us, I had high expectations that I felt were warranted given that we have a Democratically controlled House and the majority of citizens in this state are in favor of legalizing gay marriage," said Mark Liberson, who owns Elixer, Halsted's Bar and Grill, Hydrate Nightclub and Replay.

Just one day after the Illinois House failed to vote on Senate Bill 10, the legislation that would have brought same-sex marriage to Illinois, Liberson placed pro-marriage equality banners outside all four of his bars in Boystown.

"Probably the most upsetting thing to me was the failure to call a vote," Liberson told "I feel that by not calling a vote we have allowed those who would vote against us to hide in the shadows rather than forcing them to state their position. Even if we lost it would have been clearer to us where to focus our energies going forward."

The banners read, "Equality doesn't need a summer break! We want a vote! Madigan: beyond denying us the right to marry - you also deny us the right to know our enemies? Shame, Shame!"

Liberson said he hoped the message is clear and will help call out House Speaker Michael Madigan, who along with state Rep. Greg Harris, the bill's sponsor, has faced much criticism over the failure to call the legislation.

"We have been betrayed by Mike Madigan and it further taints the name Madigan in this state," commented Liberson. "I hope others lend their voices to this call for him to act and use the muscle he has used many times before for causes less critical than one addressing inequality in our state."

The signs will remain in place until full marriage equality becomes reality in Illinois, according to Liberson.

"As a community we must continue to expand our base of allies and be prepared to continue this battle till the right thing is done," he concluded.

The deadline for SB-10 was extended until Aug. 31, offering a small opportunity for passage over the summer. Otherwise, the measure could be called in the November veto session.

WATCH: Greg Harris and Deb Mell impassioned statements on SB10 failure