With this week’s victory over California’s Proposition 8 and next week’s likely passage of equal marriage legislation in the State of Washington, gay activists say “this is the year” to pass marriage rights legislation in Illinois.Â They are launching the drive for a gay marriage bill in Illinois at 10:30 AM this Sunday with a protest in front of Holy Name Cathedral, 735 N. State Street, Chicago.
“While a majority of lay Catholics support equal rights for gays â€“ at a greater rate than even the general public â€“ they are tragically misrepresented by the Church leadership, which has been a bitter opponent of equal rights for LGBTs and women,” said Andy Thayer of the Gay Liberation Network.
With the wins in California and Washington, some Springfield legislators say they will now make a serious push for equal marriage legislation this year in Illinois.Â As they do so, gay activist say that the “usual suspects” will bray loud and clear about how “unfair” equal rights legislation is, and demonize LGBT people in the process.
Chief among them will be Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George.Â George is already on record comparing lesbians and gays to the KKK, and repeatedly defended that comparison before finally issuing what many considered an inadequate apology.Â George, as head of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, spent tens of thousands backing the anti-gay referendums Proposition 8 in California and Question 1 in Maine.
After the passage of the civil unions bill in Illinois, George pompously predicted, “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square.”
“As marriage equality moves forward this year in Illinois, look for Cardinal George to once again take his bigotry out from under wraps, trying to lean on Illinois legislators to vote against equality,” said Thayer. “As a cover for this bigotry, look for him to try to play the victim role again, falsely stating that equal marriage legislation in Illinois would somehow force the Catholic Church to celebrate marriages it chooses not to. We won’t sit back and take it â€“ as Californians fatefully did with the Mormon Church before the passage of Proposition 8.Â We will proactively push back against this bigotry now.”
Sunday’s protest was initiated by the Gay Liberation Network and is supported by the 8th Day Center for Justice, the Chicago Rainbow Sash Movement, Dignity Chicago, and Equality Illinois. For more information, call GLN at 773.209.1187 or email LGBTliberation@aol.com