Celebrating Illinois’ openly LGBT elected officials

GoPride.com News Staff, ChicagoPride.com
May 19, 2017

Friday, May 19, is ‘Celebrate Your Elected Officials Day.’ According to Wikipedia, all 50 states have been served by openly LGBT elected politicians in some capacity. In Illinois, 5 openly LGBT legislators have served in the General Assembly. Here's a look at those currently serving and their accomplishments for the LGBT community.

Friday, May 19, is ‘Celebrate Your Elected Officials Day.’ According to Wikipedia, all 50 states have been served by openly LGBT elected politicians in some capacity. In Illinois, 5 openly LGBT legislators have served in the General Assembly. Here's a look at those currently serving and their accomplishments for the LGBT community.

Openly-gay Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) has represented Illinois’ 13th district since 2007. He replaced Larry McKeon, Illinois first-ever openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly. (McKeon died in 2008 at the age of 63 after suffering a stroke.) In 2010, Harris sponsored The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection & Civil Union Act, which was signed into law on Jan. 31, 2011 by Gov. Pat Quinn. The act established civil unions in Illinois. Later, Harris was instrumental in bringing marriage equality to Illinois in 2013.

Ald. Deb Mell, was the Illinois’s third LGBT legislator and served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2009 to 2013. She left to become a member of the Chicago City Council, where she continues to serve the the 40th district located on Chicago's northwest side. Mell along with Harris and Rep. Kelly Cassidy introduced a marriage equality bill in 2012. The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act was signed into law Nov. 20, 2013 by Gov. Pat Quinn.

 

Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) became Illinois’ fourth LGBT legislator in April 2011 when she was selected to represent the 14th district, on Chicago’s North Side, following incumbent Harry Osterman’s election to the Chicago City Council. Today, Cassidy is one of three openly LGBT members of the Illinois General Assembly, alongside Harris and Rep. Sam Yingling.

 

Rep. Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake) became the first openly gay person elected to the state legislature from outside of Chicago in 2012. He is the fifth LGBT state representative ever elected. He also played an important role in building support for the passage of the Illinois marriage equality bill in 2013.

 

 

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