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Illinois LGBT groups form coalition for marriage equality

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

We’ve been following positive signs for marriage equality in Illinois, where just last week state legislators said that they will push an equal marriage bill during the lame-duck session in January and where two lawsuits filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU have been merged into one federal challenge to declare Illinois’s marriage laws unconstitutional.

Yesterday, Lambda Legal, Equality Illinois and the ACLU of Illinois announced that they were partnering with a broad range of business, labor and faith organizations in the state to form a new coalition called Illinois Unites for Marriage, which will focus exclusively on the passage of marriage equality legislation in early 2013.  From the new organization’s inaugural press release:

“Illinois Unites brings together a diverse group of individuals and organizations from across Illinois, including business groups, labor, faith organizations, Republicans, Democrats and grassroots supporters. The coalition is being organized by Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois.

“‘We are uniting to urge members of the Illinois General Assembly to let all Illinoisans express their love and life-long commitment through civil marriage,’ said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest LGBT advocacy organization.

“‘The momentum is undeniable – allowing same-sex couples to marry is the right thing for Illinois,’ said Jim Bennett, Regional Director of Lambda Legal. ‘It’s best for our state that our government treat all families with equity and respect. Nine other states now have full marriage equality. It’s time for Illinois to act.’

“The legislation, currently called HB 5170, would give gay and lesbian couples in Illinois the freedom to marry and thereby enter a life-long commitment of responsibility and respect.  Recent polling indicates that a majority in Illinois supports giving same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Meanwhile, national polls as well as the November elections confirm that the American people have turned a corner on the issue.”

Illinois Unites says that it will work along with Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Heather Steans, the marriage bill’s lead sponsors, to build support and momentum for the measure in the new year.

Other organizations that have joined on for the Illinois Unites effort include the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the Anti Defamation League, Freedom to Marry, HRC, SEIU and the Chicago Bar Association.

2 Comments

  • 1. Duration & Convexity  |  December 23, 2012 at 12:57 am

    Fantastic fantastic work! Our leaders are making so much stellar progress in their campaigns, and being effective in their message. We have strength in numbers and it's going to require working hand in hand to continue to see this wave of progress!

    Keep up the phenomenal work team!

  • 2. Gerfery  |  December 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

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