Pols court the gay vote at annual EQIL gala

Mon. February 9, 2009 12:00 AM by Brett Anthony

u.s. sen. roland burris addresses the crowd at the eqil gala

photo credit // frank failing

The annual EQIL gala has become a must-attend event for politicians

Chicago, IL - Chicago-based Equality Illinois, one of the Midwest's largest gay rights activism groups, held its annual black tie gala this past weekend in Chicago.

The "Justice for All" gala held Saturday at the Hilton Chicago is not only the largest LGBT-related black-tie gala in the Midwest, but it's the most influential LGBT-related political gathering for any politician who cares about the gay vote.

U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, Gov. Pat Quinn and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan were all in attendance along with a number of other state and local pols.

Burris told the crowd of about 1,100 "we are going to pass" a long-pending federal hate-crime bill that would prohibit violence against gays.

Some of the other politicians attending included Dawn Clark Netsch, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz. who is running in the 5th Congressional District to replace Rahm Emanuel.

The 5th district comprises the majority of the city's LGBT voters and Feigenholtz will be going head-to-head for the gay vote with Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley in March.

As evidenced Saturday night, Equality Illinois remains a powerful and respected political organization that continues its mission to secure, protect and defend equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Illinois.

EQIL was founded in 1992 by Rick Garcia, Arthur Johnston, the late Jon Henri Damski and lobbyist Lana Hostetler.

The organization was instrumental in the passage in the Illinois Senate and House of the non-discrimination bill (SB3186) in January 2005, which made Illinois one of only fourteen states that prohibit discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation.

ChicagoPride.com was a media sponsor of the "Justice for All" Gala.

Photos from EQIL's Gala:
Justice for All Gala, gallery one
Justice for All Gala, gallery two
Photos by Frank Failing

Related Website:
Equality Illinois