Category Archives: Political

Chicago Chick Fil A Boycott Today

While the local Chick Fil A owner says ““We are a family of deep Chicago roots – my husband and I both came from
city worker families (teachers, police, laborers) and Steve is a city
worker,” she noted. She also said they’ve supported, hospitals, schools,
churches and even LGBT groups.” – really?  I would like to see where and how she made a LGBT donation last year.  Still, a portion of all food sold goes to the CEO who then pumps a couple million a year into the anti gay movement.

Sure. We all have freedom of speech. And Chick Fil A and many other businesses may be against gays. But yet there is a debate about whether or not people should patronize Chick-fil-A restaurants.

a corporation openly supported organizations dedicated to racist or
religious discrimination, would those who support Chick-fil-A support
such a business?

Probably not openly, but their desire to support an openly anti-gay corporation shows their bigotry nonetheless.

Please do the right thing.  Join the boycott. 

More importantly, help spread the boycott.  Join the 4:30 PM boycott re-launch event today (Wednesday, Aug. 8) at 30 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago (near
the “Chicago” stop on the Red Line el).  We will have posters and
stickers available so that you can take a direct role in helping spread
the boycott.  Please join the Facebook event here and then invite your Facebook friends to also participate.


Rahm Emanuel Say he will Block Chick Fil A From Opening any More Stores in Chicago

Chick Fil A backlash continues!!

Chicago Alderman
Proco “Joe” Moreno says he won’t allow Chick-Fil-A to open a restaurant
in his Northwest Side ward because of the company’s anti-gay worldview,
and Mayor Rahm Emanuel is offering his support, the Chicago Tribune reports:

you are discriminating against a segment of the community, I don’t want
you in the 1st Ward,” Moreno told the Tribune on Tuesday.

stated his position in strong terms, referring to Cathy’s “bigoted,
homophobic comments” in a proposed opinion page piece that an aide also
sent to Tribune reporters. “Because of this man’s ignorance, I will now
be denying Chick-fil-A’s permit to open a restaurant in the 1st Ward.”

The alderman has the ideological support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago
values,” the mayor said in a statement when asked about Moreno’s
decision. “They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This
would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

The proposed restaurant, in the Logan Square neighborhood, would be the second to open in the Windy City.

The Mayor of BOSTON, has also vowed to KEEP  CHICK FIL A OUT of their city!!
I am SO PROUD, that our Mayor, Rahm Emanueal and the Mayor of Boston has stood up to this company!

If you are eating at the store on Chicago Ave, PLEASE STOP!!

Lauren Silich, the owner of Chicago’s sole Chick-fil-A, is asking Emanuel to have a sit down to iron things out.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

[Silich] invited Emanuel to meet her, her husband and
management staff at her restaurant.
 The mayor’s office had no immediate

In an interview today, Silich addressed Emanuel’s comments.

“I get it,” Silich said in an interview. “I’m from here as well.”

“I just want people to know there’s a local face to this
controversy,” she added.

“We’re not a corporate face. We love our city.”

In a letter sent to the media, Silich also said that she and her
staff are committed “serving all of our guests with honor, dignity and
respect.” She went on to highlight Chick-fil-A’s immediate economic
impact: “We alone created 97 jobs this past year and our passion is
building leaders for future generations, regardless of sexual
orientation or beliefs.”

While this may be true, she may not believe what the CEO believes, and she may treat gay people “with respect”  HOWEVER. a portion of ALL PROFITS go to fight GAYS AND LESBIANS.

So go to another chicken shack! It is sad this local store is caught in the crossfire.



Gay Liberation Network August 1st Meeting

Chicago ’s Multi-Issue, LGBT
 Direct Action Group!

attention to equality and liberation for LGBTs, against America ‘s wars,
supporting labor and immigrant rights, and more, the 
Gay Liberation Network
is there. 

We meet at 7 PM on the first Wednesday of each month at the
Berger Park Cultural Center , at the northeast corner of Sheridan Road
and Granville Avenue (about 3 blocks east of the “Granville” Red Line el

See you AUGUST 1st!  at 7pm.


Candace Gingrich in Chicago March 29

It’s poetic justice (or perhaps just an accurate reflection of real
life) that GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has a half sister who
is not only lesbian, but also married and a gay-rights activist.

Candace Gingrich-Jones visits Northeastern Illinois University for a speaking gig Thursday 29.

Accidental Activist: A Personal & Political Journey

 March 29, 2012

Thursday   7pm  FREE

The Accidental Activist, the title of Candace Gingrich-Jones’
1996 autobiography, captures best her path to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender (LGBT) advocacy well. Her involvement in the movement for
queer equality began in 1995 when her brother, Rep. Newt Gingrich,
R-GA., was elected House speaker and she had an opportunity to make her
voice heard. Since then she has not stopped advocating for the issues
importance to the LGBT community.


The Bible and Homosexuality 101

As some of you readers may know, a certain person, who shall remain nameless, has been harassing Best Gay Chicago, trying to shove bible quotes down our throats. He has actually been calling our office 20-30 times a day, and the police are now involved. His own church, urged us to get a restraining order.

The postings have generated lots of comments – and someone from PFLAG  Detroit posted this:

The Bible has long been used by
society to discriminate against, and persecute gays and lesbians. Careful
study, however, reveals that while the Bible does condemn homosexual and
heterosexual cult prostitution, it says nothing about loving committed
homosexual relationships. Jesus himself said nothing about homosexuality,
which leads many to believe it was not one of his main concerns.

Unfortunately, many passages from the Bible are often taken out of
context, or interpreted without consideration for the cultural aspects
associated with the time period in which they were written. To emphasize
this point, consider the following sentence: “He was such a neat
man.” In order to understand the writers meaning, you must consider
the time period in which it was written. If this sentence were written in
the 1900’s it would be assumed that the word “neat”, was a
reference to the man’s tidiness. If it were written in 1996, however, the
word “neat” could be interpreted to mean both tidy, or the
presence of admirable qualities.

Many versions of the Bible exist. Each reflects the limited scientific
knowledge, personal beliefs of its translators, and the social beliefs of
the time period in which it was translated. Personal biases, and societies
prejudices have unavoidably distorted the Bible’s many translations. In
addition, it is sometimes difficult to find a current word that accurately
defines the Hebrew or Greek term in question. Unfortunately, this has
resulted in the mistranslation of some of the more ambiguous text
contained in the Bible. 

Perhaps the two most widely abused verses used to condemn homosexuality
come from Leviticus.

You shall not lie with man as one lies with a women; this is an

Leviticus 18:22

If a man also lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them
have committed an abomination; they should surely be put to death.

Leviticus 20:13

First of all, the Holiness Code of Leviticus was written primarily as a
ritual manual for Israel’s priests. Christians today are not bound by the
rules and rituals described in Leviticus.
(Galatians 3:22-25) If
Christians today insist on using this passage to condemn homosexuality,
then they are also bound by the other rules and rituals described in

Among other things, the Holiness Code of Leviticus prohibits:

Sexual intercourse during a women’s menstrual cycle


Wearing certain types of jewelry

Eating certain kinds of meat

Wearing clothing made from blended textiles (cotton-polyester

Cross-breeding livestock

Sowing a field with mixed seed

Eating or touching the dead flesh of pigs, rabbits, & some
forms of seafood

Men cutting their hair or shaving their beards

The Holiness Code also endorses polygamy and requires Saturday to be
reserved as the Sabbath. Obviously, it is unfair to use these passages to
condemn homosexuality, while ignoring the fact that most Christians do not
follow the rest of the rules and rituals outlined in the Holiness Code of

It should also be noted that the word abomination was translated
from the Hebrew word
toevah and means something found detestable by
God because it is unclean, disloyal, or unjust. The term
is generally associated with idolatry and the Canaanite religious practice
of cult prostitution. (Ezekiel) Given
toevah’s strong association
with cult prostitution it is unlikely that this passage applies to loving
responsible homosexual relationships.

PFLAG Detroit does an awesome job analyzing the bible and I encourage you to take a look. It gives us good ammunition, for when we are attacked by those preaching the bible.


Barack Obama Book By Chicago’s Hermene Hartman

How cool is this?

 Fund this new book, The Barack Book, for a $25 pledge, and you get a copy of the book, when it comes in November!

It’s like putting your order in advance now – and helping bring this very awesome book to the marketplace.

2012 many books will be published on President Obama as he comes up for

Chicago’s Hermene
Hartman, Bob Starks, and Derrick Baker have a unique perspective on the
man.  They were there from the beginning.  And Barack is their friend. 

the long-time publisher of N’DIGO, a weekly targeted at Chicago’s black
middle class, Hartman was the first to cover the young, black Chicagoan
rising in the political ranks.  First he was her friend, then he became
an Illinois senator, and then the President Obama we all know today.
 Hartman and colleagues Starks and Baker recognized the political
potential of Mr. Obama early on and since 2003 have covered him from a
unique black Chicago perspective.

you have supported Obama from the beginning, now is your chance to
remain involved in spreading the man’s worldwide significance via The Barack Book.

books published or movies made is a tough business these days.  Artists
and writers are taking it upon themselves, to get their own seed money,
to bring their products to the marketplace.

This trio  of writers  are using Kickstarter to fund the creation of The Barack Book 
and need your involvement to help cement President Obama’s legacy. 
They have less than 3 weeks to raise the $15,000 needed to get this
project off this ground. And if you pledge $25 – you will get a copy of
the hardcover book, when it comes out this November. If you can pledge
more, there are  even more incentives!

Please help fund this very important book from Chicago, on Barack Obama.


From Illinois to Hollywood – Elliot London

Filmmaker Elliot London

is one to watch in Hollywood.

The charismatic director/producer calls himself a dreamer, and now
he’s offering you the opportunity to share his dream of making a movie
that’s very close to his heart.

The 30-year-old London, born in Australia, but raised in America,
says growing up gay was not always easy, especially in Rockford,

With that in mind, his latest short film, The Wedding Dance, tells the story of marriage equality — but he promises, with a twist.

London plans to start shooting in Los Angeles in a few weeks, but
like so many small independent filmmakers, he needs additional funding
to complete the project, so he’s taken the unusual and highly creative
step of using social media to entice investors who can actually receive a
credit on the film. chatted with London about his journey from America’s Heartland to Hollywood — and what it was like to intern for Jerry Springer along the way!

Like most small independent films these days, the filmmaker must raise their own  funds. London is currently trying to raise $5,000 – and he already has  $4,400!  He just needs  $600  within the next 16 days, to get things rolling!   Stop by his page  and find out more, how you can help!

(Did you see his  short  called   306?  Set in Chicago, IL, this 11 minute short film
shows a day in the life of a young man. Without a single word spoken,
‘306’ is full of emotion and shows us exactly how Eric (played by Brian
, from Wisconsin) feels at all times. Beautifully shot and great acting.


Equality Illinois’ 2012 Gala: Justice for All FEB 11

see and be seen!

 At one of the most elegant, important  and fun LGBT events of the

With over 1,000 guests in attendance, including elected officials,
candidates, and other VIPs, the Gala is one of the most impactful ways
to support full equality for LGBT people.

This is the biggest event of its kind in the Midwest!

The  most  amazing Silent Auction, I have ever seen! 
With over 150 items! 

Hilton Chicago
720 South
Michigan Avenue

6pm – Midnight

Learn more and purchase your tickets today.
Simply click above   or call 773-477-7173.
Tickets  start at $300
We look forward to celebrating with you at the Gala!

Equality Illinois (EQIL) was founded in 1991 to secure, protect and
defend equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
throughout Illinois. In 2000, the Equality Illinois Education Project,
our 501(c)(3) arm, was created to focus on the educational and
charitable aspects of the mission. EQIL�s initiatives extend throughout
every sector of Illinois life, reaching individuals and organizations
both in the LGBT community and the mainstream, across the private,
public, and nonprofit sectors.


Equality Illinois Contributions to Help LGBT Rights Advancement

A personal letter, from Bernard Cherkasov, Equality Illinois..

As you know, this year has indeed been a year of tremendous successes for LGBT people in the state, including Illinois becoming just the sixth state to legalize civil unions. Because of your generous support of LGBT equality work and the efforts of supporters like you, we have taken a significant step toward full equality for every family in Illinois! 

There is so much more to do to achieve full equality for LGBT Illinoisans. We have an incredible about of work to do in 2012. If you have not yet done so, please make an additional tax-deductible, end-of-year contribution to help Equality Illinois move forward with our statewide educational work next year. 

My thoughts keep returning to the individuals and families for whom we fight every day. I think of the impact that our LGBT-rights progress has on them and our larger community. I am thankful for the greater protections and safeguards that are available in Illinois. Yet, there is still so much work to be done.  

That is why I ask you to stand with us as we move forward in our battle for equal protections under the law. Will you, please, make an additional tax-deductible, end-of-year contribution to help us advance our aggressive statewide LGBT-rights agenda?

LGBT Illinoisans are counting on 
your support, and we cannot succeed in achieving full equality without you. 

Thank you again for your support. Let’s keep moving forward!


Bernard Cherkasov
Chief Executive Officer

P.S. Remember that your generous end-of-the-year donation to Equality Illinois Education Project, a 501(c)(3) organization, is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. 


Cardinal Francis George compared Gay Pride Parade to the Ku Klux Klan

Cardinal Francis George compared next year’s Gay Pride Parade to the Ku Klux Klan!  (Appearing on Fox’s Chicago station).

“You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something
like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against
Catholicism,” Cardinal George said.

“That’s a little strong analogy, Ku Klux Klan,” Fox Chicago’s Dane Placko noted.

“It is,” Cardinal George agreed. “But you take a look at the
rhetoric, the rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some of the
gay liberation people. Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church.”

State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D) on Wednesday called on Cardinal George to apologize.

The CCWC coordinators, already imagining  a New Years/Epiphany ad in the
Windy City Times, are exploring options for a paid ad which will in
some way be a counter message to George.  Watch for it in this week’s
WCT.   And, watch Facebook and listserv traffic for further updates
including a press release which you might consider tailoring and using

You may  call the Cardinal’s office (312-534-8230) and demand an apology for this offensive and hurtful statement.


Breaking News! Illinois will Allow Same Sex Couples to File Joint Taxes

After months of discussion with the Illinois Department of Revenue, EQUALITY ILLINOIS received word today that the State of Illinois will allow same-sex
couples in a civil union to jointly file their 2011 state tax returns
just as married spouses are currently allowed to do so. 

Since the beginning of June when same-sex couples
first started entering into civil unions, no one could speak with
certainty about how this new status would affect state tax policy.  We
immediately reached out to the Illinois Department of Revenue and
started the process of figuring out a solid solution to this problem. 
Illinois law specifies that couples in a civil union are afforded the
same rights and benefits as married spouses, so why should same-sex
couples’ state tax status be any different? 

Under the new guidelines issued by the Department
of Revenue, same-sex couples in a civil union may elect to file state
taxes as “married, filed jointly” or “married, filed separately” – the
same options opposite-sex married couples may choose.  If applicable,
couples would check a box for “same-sex civil union return.”  To
determine the adjusted gross income to include on state filings, couples
will have to complete a pro forma federal IRS return.

In order to ensure that couples in a civil union
were afforded the same rights as other spouses, we needed the leadership
of Gov. Quinn and Revenue Director Brian Hamer, and we thank them for
standing up for equality.  We are grateful to them and their respective
staffs for their commitment to equal treatment for same-sex couples.

With this new development, Illinois becomes the
tenth state, along with Washington, D.C., to allow same-sex couples to
file joint state tax returns!


Occupy Chicago to Occupy City Hall Today!

is making no friends this week. 

Peace and social justice activists upset at Chicago police harassment of Occupy Chicago and verbal threats against those planning to protest the May 2012 G8/NATO summits will launch a non-violent action dubbed “Occupy City Hall” beginning at 1:30 PM, Wednesday, October 26 at the intersection of LaSalle and Jackson.  The action will include a march on City Hall.
In light of the City’s arrests of peaceful Occupy Chicago protesters exercising their 1st Amendment rights last Saturday night and the Saturday before that, activists will be demanding that the City drop all the charges against the protesters.  During and after the arrests, senior CPD officers and other city officials repeatedly remarked that the City’s arrests of over 300 were a dry run for crackdowns on anti-G8/NATO protesters next May.

In addition to dropping the charges against Occupy Chicago participants, we will also be demanding that the City allow a permanent 1st Amendment encampment for the Occupy movement, just as many other major cities now do.


Rahm is Proposing to Do Away With LGBT Council

Though an influential group of 200 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Chicagoans stood up behind Mayor Rahm Emanuel and endorsed his candidacy earlier this year, many LGBT activists in the Windy City expressed alarmed at the new mayor’s latest move: a proposed budget that eviscerates their community’s city-sponsored advisory council.

At the latest meeting of the city’s Advisory Council on LGBT Issues, the Windy City Times reports that many council members are hoping to “go down fighting” against their council being combined with the city’s Women’s Issues Advisory Council under a new name: the advisory council on Gender and Sexuality.

Some council members object both that the words “lesbian,” “gay,” “bisexual” and “transgender” have been removed from the council’s title and that they were not consulted with concerning the change.

In a previous story addressing the cuts, the Windy City Times reported that the council’s director, Bill Greaves, will lose his job as of January 1. The council’s chair Beth Kelly said the change “sends a message that Chicago does not care about this community.” Kit Duffy, the first-ever LGBT liaison to the mayor, added that the change “signals a lack of recognition, and I think it signals an ignorance of impact.”



OCCUPY CHICAGO resumes tonight 10-22-2011

Important Occupy Chicago

Protest Tonight! (Saturday)


6:30 PM – LaSalle Street & Jackson Blvd.


The Gay Liberation Network is a proud supporter of Occupy Chicago’s movement for economic justice and end to the wars which rob other nations of their right to self-determination while robbing us of resources that could be put to far better uses.


Here is a message from Occupy Chicago about why you should attend tonight’s protest:


Sisters and Brothers:


As many of you know, 175 people were arrested last Saturday night, during an attempt to set up a 24 hour protest in Grant Park. Many who were arrested were teachers, students, workers, union members, people with and without work, young and old.

At Occupy Chicago we understand this as a gross violation of our First Amendment right to peacefully assemble. Free speech and assembly is a 24 hour right. It does not magically disappear at the park’s Curfew. In a world that continues to have its public space privatized, indeed that continues to have all things public stolen from us, it is essential that we reclaim and build a public space to bulwark ourselves against the oncoming tide ofcorporate greed. We are trying erect a public space, one that is not owned or sponsored, where ideas, democracy, and the resistance against the ever increasing cuts that affect all us, can be fostered.


This is why, on Saturday, 10-22-2011, we will again march out and try to encamp at a yet undisclosed location. This time we march with the full support of the SEIU, CTU, National Nurses United, Stand Up Chicago, Jobs with Justice, the United Electrical Workers, and more. We are joining forces with the rank and file workers of this city who are caught in the same struggle and willing to engage in the same fight. Let us rally in the name of the workers; let us march against a system bent on stealing our futures; and let us end with the construction of a new public sphere: Occupy Chicago’s new permanent home.


Come help us rebuild the public sphere, take back our right to free speech, and demand that the charges against those arrested last week be dropped. Come march with us. Come stand against austerity with your brothers and sisters. Come help us rebuild and take back what has been stolen from us.


Where: Jackson and LaSalle        When: 6:30 pm,


Occupy Chicago
Follow  OC  on  Facebook.


Chicago Gay Pride 2011 – And Tips for Next Year


Chicago’s gay pride usually brings out about 500,000  people…but last weekend brought out about 750,000 people!  The BIGGEST Chicago pride ever. Thanks in part to perfect weather in a growing shift in heterosexual attitudes.

Behind  the scenes,  vandalism by haters struck the parade. Early in the day,  it was discovered that tires had been slashed on each of the 51 floats being stored at a float-building company several miles south of the parade route. The company’s owner discovered the damage about 5 a.m. Sunday; the floats were fine when he left the building at 8 the previous evening, so the damage occurred late
Saturday night or very early Sunday. The vandalism appeared to be an antigay hate crime.

The parade stepped off on time at noon in the heavily gay north side Lakeview neighborhood. Chicago’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was at the head, receiving loud cheers from spectators. This was the first appearance in the parade by a Chicago mayor since previous mayor Richard M. Daley’s first year in office, 1989. Daley, who was the first mayor to participate in the parade, did not make a repeat appearance because he declined to work on Sundays, and he instead hosted a Pride-related reception on another day.

“Behind Emanuel was a kaleidoscopic collection of politicians, teachers, motorcyclists, drag queens and librarians, among many others,” the Tribune reported. There were about 250 total parade entries, including floats, decorated vehicles, and marching contingents.

Cute gay boys in t-shirts…YAY!
Cute gay boys in hats…..YAY!

Cute STRAIGHT BOYS giving me NIP!  BIG  YAY!
It is a known fact straight girls love the LGBT’s.  But more and more straight girls boyfriends are loving us. This year brought out record numbers of heteros, and everyone played along nice! Except for a couple bad hetero eggs I met near Addison, who started pushing and threatening us,  the day was bliss!


Straight A&F models and their friends….YAY!
Tan gay boys and their girlfriends…..Fun Fun!


 and then…..






And WHY can’t you pick up after  your selves? 
You are seriously going to leave all of that trash in the streets?

Really? I am sure these people do not leave around here, and could care less.

But show some respect next year.

BEST(and WORST)GayChicago


Gay Couples say Civil Unions a step in the Right Direction, for Chicago

Chicago – Cook County Clerk David Orr said his office issued 203 civil union licenses   on the first day they were able to  in Illinois. 

Orr’s office said Wednesday evening that many couples arrived before the clerk’s office opened in downtown Chicago.   But officials say the office saw a steady stream of couples applying for civil unions until the office closed at 7 p.m.

The first civil union license was issued Wednesday morning to Janean Watkins and Lakeesha Harris of Chicago, who arrived at midnight to be the first couple in line at the Daley Center, according to the release.
(They started the line at Midnight last night!)

“This is a day long in the making,” said Orr, who is on assignment in Macedonia as an election monitor.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 150 couples had obtained licenses at the Clerk’s downtown office, including a few dozen at the Clerk’s five suburban offices. At least two of the couples were heterosexual, the release said.

Harris and Watkins have six children and have been together more than a decade.

Another couple, Pam Voss and Melody Fairchild started dating 13 years ago. “It’s nice to finally have your relationship validated,” Voss said.

Qadree and Troy Holmes, who have been together for six years, met at a barbeque Qadree hosted. Although the couple had a wedding ceremony in 2007 at their church, they were grateful for the opportunity to have a civil union.

Hyde Park residents James Darby, 79, and Patrick Bova, 73, the oldest couple to obtain their civil union license Wednesday, have been a couple for nearly a half century. The youngest couple were Elena Denise Cano, 21, and Jannett Lopez, 20.

Because Watkins and Harris were first in line to receive their civil union license, they received a gift package from several sponsors, including: a two-night stay at the Palmer House Hilton; free Eli’s Cheesecake each anniversary for the rest of their lives; a $100 gift certificate to Wilde Bar & Restaurant; a Starbelly Studios photo shoot with three complimentary prints; a $100 Downtown Bar & Lounge gift certificate; and a $50 LaSalle Flowers gift certificate.

More than 80 other “presents” were donated and raffled off at a reception hosted by the Clerk’s office. Grand prize winners Jef Johnson and Allen Nichols received a 2-hour party cruise from Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, which includes complimentary wine and beer as well as a gift basket with champagne, chocolate and more (valued at $2,500).

In north suburban Lake County, County Clerk Willard Helander reported that six couples were in line for their civil union licenses by 8:30 a.m. As of 3:30 p.m. 15 civil union licenses had been issued in Lake County, according to Helander’s office.

Married couples have 1,138 federal rights, protections and responsibilities.
Civil Unions provides legal protection to couples at the state law level, but omits federal protections, as well as the dignity, clarity, security and power of the word “marriage”.

Civil unions give couples the right to make funeral and end-of-life decisions, the right to share a room in a nursing home, automatic hospital visitation, adoption and parental rights, pension benefits, inheritance rights, the right to decide how to dispose of a partner’s remains, and the right not to testify against each other in court. It is more than we had before!  I’ll take it. For now.


Cook County to Shower Happy Couples With Presents on June 1st – The first Official Day of Civil Unions

June 1st will be an exciting day for the Cook County Clerk’s office.  Not only will we be issuing our very first Civil Union licenses, but we will shower the happy couples with the wonderful presents donated by area businesses.”  said   David Orr, Cook County Clerk.


Illinois will begin offering Civil Union licenses at every county clerk’s office on June 1. The Cook County Clerk’s office will open its downtown office early to mark the momentous occasion. “I’m thrilled this day has finally come,” Clerk David Orr said. “This will be a joyous day for all couples – gay and straight – who want to make history as part of the inaugural group of civil unions.”



Wednesday, June 1. The Clerk’s downtown Chicago Vital Records office will open at 7:30 a.m.



Before 6 a.m., couples should line up outside the Daley Center’s northeast door, located near Randolph and Dearborn Streets. The Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St., will open at 6 a.m. Couples should take the escalators down to the lower level (Pedway) and line up outside the Vital Records office, Room CL-27.



Civil Union licenses will be available to same-sex and heterosexual couples. The Clerk’s office encourages all couples who wish to get a license on June 1 to visit the downtown office (not a suburban office). All couples need to meet the following criteria:


• Be at least 18 years old;

• Not be related to one another;

• Have valid, current identification, such as driver’s license, state ID or U.S. passport;

• Pay a $35 license application fee. Cash preferred. MasterCard, American Express & Discover accepted. Personal checks and Visa will not be accepted.

• Couples who are currently registered as Domestic Partners in Cook County will receive a $20 discount and their domestic partnership will be automatically dissolved.

• Any couple planning to participate in a June 2 ceremony – including the Millennium Park event hosted by the City of Chicago, Lamda Legal, Equality Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Judges – MUST obtain a license from the Clerk’s office on June 1.

A license is valid for a ceremony held within 60 days of the issue date. By law, couples must wait until the day after they obtain their license to have their Civil Union ceremony performed so June 2 is the first day Civil Union ceremonies can be held. Within 10 days of a ceremony, Civil Union officiants must return the completed license for it to be certified and recorded by the County Clerk.


Civil Union “presents” have been donated by 20 local businesses. The first couple in line at 7:30 a.m. will receive a gift package. Other presents will be distributed by raffle; couples in line by 7:30 a.m. will be eligible. The Clerk’s office will invite all couples back to a party room for cake and chocolate, donated by Eli’s Cheesecake and Illinois Nut & Candy.



Wilde Bar & Restaurant

Transistor Starbelly Studios Photography Restoration Salon

The Palmer House Hilton

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Sierzega & Associates, Ltd.

Mendell on the Move

LaSalle Flowers

Lambda Legal

Lady Gregory’s

Illinois Nut & Candy Goodman Theatre

Eli’s Cheesecake

Downtown Bar & Lounge

Crew Bar + Grill

Chicago’s First Lady Cruises

Best Gay Chicago

Angel’s Restaurant

ADH Meetings & Events


HOMOPHOBIC Schuyler County Sheriff Don Schieferdecker Should Resign


Oh, But YES HE DID. And he got caught!

The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), an Illinois’ statewide LGBTQ advocacy and political organization, is calling for the resignation of Schuyler County Sherriff Don Schieferdecker after it was reported that he posted a comment on Facebook that referred to a co-worker as a
“little fag Jew boy.”

“It is absolutely incomprehensible that an elected official would use such language to refer to a subordinate.  I don’t care if it was meant in jest or not. I don’t care if he meant for everyone to see it or not. The fact is, the comment is now public and there should be consequences for statements such as this,” stated Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “Not only is this remark extremely hurtful to many Illinoisans, it sends a message to folks that it is okay to use such language. It sends the message that it is appropriate to mock Jewish people and people who are gay or part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community.”

“There is no room for bigots in this state,” said Lowell Jaffe, Political Director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “As a Jewish descendent and a member of the LGBT Community, this comment turns my stomach. The Sheriff is a very public figure and an elected official; he is a leader. His comments do not show leadership, they reek of discrimination and ignorance. Think of what this says to a child, especially a child who may be struggling with their sexual identity.”


  The Civil Rights Agenda is asking residents of Illinois, especially residents of Schuyler County, to contact the Sheriff and respectfully ask him to step down. Schuyler County Sheriff Don Schieferdecker can be reached at (217) 322-4366, or by email at

“I am extremely sorry,” Schuyler County Sheriff Don Schieferdecker told AOL News this afternoon. “I have spent over 30 years of my life here giving public service, and I have never intentionally done anything to hurt anyone for any reason. … All I can do is say I am sorry. … I am extremely sorry [and] I beg people’s forgiveness.” –  he is sorry he got caught!

 Schieferdecker apologized for making a derogatory post on Facebook.Schieferdecker made the comment under a photo of what appears to be a young boy with his mouth hanging open. The poster wrote: “Look, I found a fag,” to which Schieferdecker replied in a post that has apparently been removed:

“Yup and his mouth is open, his glasses are off, he’s ready, little fag Jew boy.”

Contacted by AOL News, Sheriff Schieferdecker admitting making the comment:

“It was a — what I thought to be a harmless joke between friends and employees that I wasn’t aware of that was going out worldwide,” Schieferdecker said. “I mean it was a response to a joke and it was sent out as a joke.”  WTF?

“We will be watching this very closely,” said Anthony Martinez. “We will be contacting the elected officials in the area, and other organizations and groups within the state that will work with us to ensure that the Sheriff is held accountable for his discriminatory remarks.”

Best Gay
(Who you calling a fat jelly doughnut?!)


Run Off Election Between James Cappleman and Molly Phelan April 5th

For those of us who live in the 46th ward, it was a great relief to see Helen Schiller get off her throne as Alderman.  But it was  a neck in neck race between James Cappleman and Molly Phelan, that ended in a tie, and now there are still a few more weeks ahead until the big decision on April 5th, will crown our new  Alderman.

I have to say, I am a little shocked. We have strongly supported Cappleman since day one. Yet we see a lot of people in the gay community throwing their support behind Phelan…..and that worries me. Did we learn nothing from Schiller?  I hear Molly say that she will work with landlords to ensure that the ward continues to have ENOUGH AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING to maintain cultural diversity.- I think we have ENOUGH.  STOP! She sounds just like Schiller talking and I for one, do not want more of that!

HUD actually says a community needs to offer at least 20% affordable housing. The 46th ward  has  24%  already.


Economic Development:
1. He will work with the area businesses to assist them with discouraging aggressive panhandling, public drinking and graffiti
2. Will work with social services to hold their clients more accountable for their behavior
3. Will work with community members and businesses to create a Ward Development Master Plan
4. Will overlay this master plan with a retail market survey to identify needed businesses for the area.
5. Will use the $1.3 million dollars in menu funds for improvements including more streetscaping, pedestrian lighting, planters, and public art to attract foot traffic in the area
6. Will promote more street fairs, music festivals, and farmers’ markets in retail areas to bring more consumers to the ward.
Public Safety within the Ward:
1. Will immediately respond to any violent incident within the ward and inform the community of plans to address the situation
2. Will collaborate with the police and CTA to reduce the rate of crime around El stations and bus stops
3. Will continue to work with police commanders from 20th & 23rd Districts to assist with coordinating public safety issues that border one another within the 46th Ward
4. Will identify residential buildings with high rates of 911 calls and require their managers to create a plan to address the causes of crime on their property or face serious consequences
5. Will encourage area schools to participate with Explorers, a Police-sponsored program that helps reduce gang activity.

Community Input:
1. Will create a committee involving community organizations to vote on development, zoning, and TIF issues. 2. Will have monthly community-wide forums to get community input on controversial matters before a City Council vote.
3. Will have an up-to-date ward website
4. Will hold expanded office hours into the evenings and every weekend
5. Will require City departments to offer random customer service surveys and have the cumulative scores from these surveys made available to the public.

James is an active neighbor and regularly attends Belmont Harbor Neighbors Association, East Lakeview Neighbors, Lakeview Citizens Council, Buena Park Neighbors, and Truman Square Neighbors.

He also has been involved with Clarendon Park Neighborhood Association, Lakeside Neighbors, Magnolia-Malden Neighbors, Beacon Block Club, Fix Wilson Yard, Uptown Neighborhood Council.

James also is active with the following CAPS Beats 2024, 2311, 2312, 2313, 2322, and 2323.

For the past ten years, James has been on the board of directors for the Uptown Chicago Commission (UCC), a not-for-profit neighborhood organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for all Uptown residents. He just finished serving his second term as the board president. James has helped form block clubs, organize service projects, and create open access to necessary information for residents throughout the 46th Ward.

James’ long-time partner of 18 years, Richard Thale, is chair of the 23rd Police District’s Court Advocacy Committee and a CAPS facilitator for Beat 2312. In response to gang violence within a block of their home, they both organized and attended positive loitering events for 14 straight Fridays in late 2009.

Just this week, Cappleman announced the support of more progressive leaders: State Senator Heather Steans and Alderman Mary Ann Smith!


Equality Illinois PAC, a political action committee affiliate of Equality Illinois, has announced its endorsement of James Cappleman for 46th Ward Aldeman.

Mark your calendars for the next debate…Thursday, March 24 at 7pm. Location to be announced soon.

If you’d like to know more about James give us a call at 312-725-VOTE (8683)
 or  James for Change.


Civil Union Tracker PLUS LGBT Wedding Expo

We know that many couples are looking forward to celebrating their civil union with family and friends after the law goes into effect on June 1, 2011.

The LAMBDA LEGAL/Equality Illionis Civil Union Tracker system aims to ensure that same-sex and different-sex couples who have a civil union (either because they have applied for one in Illinois, or because their out-of-state marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership qualifies as a civil union in Illinois) are treated fairly under Illinois law.

We know from experience in other states that have adopted civil union laws, that many couples and their children encounter problems getting respect for their relationships, whether in hospitals settings, by insurers, employers, schools or in other situations. While not all unfair treatment leads to legal action, knowing more about your rights will help you respond.

Please join our Illinois Civil Union Tracker. Complete the form and you will be connected to our team of experts who will help you navigate this new territory in Illinois. If you or someone you know is having trouble getting proper treatment as a couple in a civil union, contact the Illinois Civil Union Tracker Team.


ALSO – LGBT  WEDDING  EXPO  in Chicago  Sunday  March 27th.

The Wedding Expo, presented in partnership with the Rainbow Wedding Network will take place on Sunday, March 27 from 1 to 4pm at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in Chicago.  The event is open to the general public, and tickets, required for admission, can be obtained at

“Same-sex couples across the State have waited for a long time for their relationships to have legal recognition.  Now that civil unions are law, we want to support these happy couples in planning their celebrations.” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.

With the theme of “Same Love, Same Rights,” the 3rd annual LGBT Wedding Expo will provide a backdrop for couples to connect with LGBT-friendly business professionals who can assist blissful couples with planning their civil union weddings or other ceremonies. Representatives from Equality Illinois will be available to answer any questions attendees may have about civil unions in Illinois.  A diverse group of gay-friendly businesses will participate, including photographers, event coordinators, officiants, ceremony and reception venue representatives, cake decorators, entertainment representatives, floral designers, travel planners, and legal resource professionals.

Chicago Gay and Lesbian Wedding Expo
Sunday March 27, 2011       1:00pm-4:00pm
Holiday Inn Mart Plaza       350 West Mart Center Drive       Chicago, IL 60654

Michael Snell and Best Gay  is now  offering  Civil Union Photography for your special event!
Contact us  at  773-878-5323  if you want details about hiring us!


Anti-Gay Rev. Byron Brazier Joins Rahm Emanuels Team

Chicago mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel’s transition team cochairs include the Reverend Byron Brazier (pictured), whose denomination denounces homosexuality.
The transition team has no LGBT people among its cochairs, but it does have a minister from an antigay religious denomination…..should we be worried?

Bernard Cherkasov, chief executive director of Equality Illinois, indicated the lack of LGBT representation in Emanuel’s transition team should not be a cause for alarm for the community. His organization’s PAC joined a large coalition of LGBT community leaders in endorsing Emanuel’s mayoral campaign last month.

“We look forward to working with the team of co-chairs to help identify the priorities for the city of Chicago, including the priorities of the LGBT community, and figure out a path to addressing them as soon as the mayor is in office,” Cherkasov said.

Brazier’s presence on the transition team is an eyebrow-raising choice, however. Brazier’s father and the previous pastor of the Apostolic Church of God, the late Bishop Arthur, supported the Federal Marriage Amendment. Additionally, the church is affiliated with the Pentecostal movement, which generally condemns homosexuality as sinful.

Rev. Irene Monroe, coordinator of the African American Roundtable of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion, said Emanuel’s selection of Brazier while not including any LGBT co-chairs was an intentional, and troubling, choice.

“It is a great concern,” Monroe said. “Why that particular church when there are so many progressive churches he can choose from?

Monroe added that the inclusion of Brazier reminded her of Obama’s inclusion of anti-gay leaders in his team: “I think what bothers me most about that is that progressives like Rahm and Obama don’t mind taking LGBT money for their campaigns and don’t mind our vote, but when it comes to full-throated advocacy, they invariably either let us down or leave us waiting like this time is never the right time for them to hit these particular issues.”


Rahm Emanuel LGBT Party This Weekend Friday Feb. 11




Music by DJ Oscar

Valet parking is available

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by BOKA catering will be served

Come out and show your support.
Advance tickets online now.  


LGBT Coalition to Host Mayoral Candidates Forum February 9th

A broad coalition of Chicago-area LGBTQ organizations are hosting a Chicago Mayoral Candidates Forum on LGBT issues.

The Forum will be held on February 9, 2011 at Adler School of Professional Psychology. 17 North Dearborn Street, Chicago.  6-8pm!
The coalition is offering the candidates the opportunity to speak directly to the LGBTQ community and to educate voters as to their vision of the office of the Mayor of Chicago with a focus on issues directly impacting LGBTQ people.  Moderating the event will be Tracy Baim, Publisher and Executive Editor at Windy City Media Group. 
All the major candidates, including Gery Chico, Rahm Emanuel, Carol Moseley-Braun, Miguel del Valle, William Walls, and Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins, have accepted the coalition’s invitation to participate in the Forum.
The coalition is coordinated by leaders from the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Affinity Community Services, Amigas Latinas, the Association for Latino Men for Action, Equality Illinois and LGBT Change.

The organizers’ goal for this forum is to educate the community on the candidates’ positions and commitments to LGBT inclusion in City Policy. This forum is the culmination of a three-month long process which included community forums held across the city of Chicago that aimed to inform and educate the community and candidates on LGBTQ concerns via issue questionnaires.  Completed questionnaires, as well as additional information on the process, are available at Equality Illinois .
This is the first time that such a broad coalition of LGBT organizations has come together to participate in the electoral process. 

Best Gay


Anti-Gay and Pro-Christian CHICK FIL A Opens in Chicago

Up until now,
Chick-fil-a   has been reserved
 for our right wing suburbs
 but they are planning a few
downtown stores now –
first signs are up now  downtown.

Over the years, the company’s operators, its WinShape Foundation and the Cathy family have given millions of dollars to a variety of causes and programs, including scholarships that require a pledge to follow Christian values, a string of Christian-based foster homes and groups working to defeat same-sex marriage initiatives.

“If you’re eating Chick-fil-A, you’re eating anti-gay,” one recent headline read. The issue spread into Christian media circles, too.

The company’s Christian culture and its strict hiring practices, which require potential operators to discuss their marital status and civic and church involvement, have attracted controversy before, including a 2002 lawsuit brought by a Muslim restaurant owner in Houston who said he was fired because he did not pray to Jesus with other employees at a training session. The suit was settled.

On a petition posted on the Web site , it asks the company to stop supporting groups perceived as anti-gay, including Focus on the Family, an international nonprofit organization that teamed up with Chick-fil-A a few years ago to give away CDs of its Bible-based “Adventures in Odyssey” radio show with every kid’s meal. As of last weekend, it had 25,000 signatures.

Yes, Chick-fil-A Says, We Explicitly Do Not Like Same-Sex Couples !

Bet Chick-fil-A wishes this month would end. Over the past few weeks, the restaurant chain’s deep ties to the anti-gay movement have been exposed and uncovered by a number of activists, most notably Jeremy Hooper at Good As You. Whether it’s Focus on the Family, the National Organization for Marriage, the Pennsylvania Family Institute, or Exodus International, Chick-fil-A ties run deep.

Of course, the President of Chick-fil-A wants gay people to share no hard feelings. The restaurant will gladly feed homosexuals gobs of chicken sandwiches, after all. But when it comes to marriage, Chick-fil-A believes strongly that same-sex couples just don’t deserve equal rights.   W T F?!

Join the Chicago Boycott !

Best Gay


Gov. Pat Quinn to Sign Civil Unions Legislation into Law Monday, Jan. 31

ILLINOIS gets one step
closer to gay marriage! 

Gov. Pat Quinn will sign the
civil unions bill into law on Monday Jan. 31.  

With this law, Illinois joins the handful of U.S. states that have expanded recognition and rights to all families. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the signing of this historic legislation. In 2006 LGBT couple were recognized in Cook County under the
Domestic Partnership Equality Amendment Act of 2006.

Civil unions will provide legal recognition of gay couples and give them some of the same benefits automatically available to married couples, including the right to visit a sick partner in the hospital, disposition of a deceased loved one’s remains and the right to make decisions about a loved one’s medical care.

Mind you I said  SOME.  It is still not a civil marriage. Marriage comes with about 600+  perks. Check out Strangers in the Eyes of the Law: 648 Reasons Why Marriage Equality Matters .  But we are getting one step closer to marriage.

The ceremony will take place in downtown Chicago. 4 p.m.  at the  Chicago Cultural Center, 78 East Washington Street.

The civil unions law won’t take effect until June 1 (?) or July 1st (?), which will give registrars and county clerks time to get ready to hand out civil union licenses.

Homosexual and heterosexual couples will be allowed to form civil unions. This is a great idea  for heterosexual seniors who may be coupled but don’t want to be married, but still need and want some rights and perks. Even two aging straight men who are best friends can benefit from this new law.

Dissolving a civil union will mean a trip to divorce court.

Best Gay


Russia’s Foremost LGBT Leader Nikolai Alekseev in Chicago Feb. 26th

The Gay Liberation Network is proud to announce that through working with activists in several other cities, we have organized a USA tour by Russian gay leader Nikolai Alekseev and GLN co-founder Andy Thayer for Feb. 26th through March 7th. 
The tour will kick off with a 2 PM, Saturday, Feb. 26th event at the Merlo Public Library, 644 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago.
LGBT activists in Russia have faced beatings, government bans, intimidation and arrests simply for trying to establish their right to demonstrate for equal rights, let alone winning the rights themselves.

All major religious denominations and political parties in the country have called for continued government repression. Yet after more than five years of “illegal” protests and legal battles in the courts, Russian LGBTs may be on the verge of a major breakthrough in the struggle for LGBT rights in Russia. If so, it will be a victory for greater Russian democracy as well.

While organizing for rights in the streets through protests, Russian LGBTs alone among the numerous opposition movements in the huge country have also pursued a lengthy battle in the Russian and international court systems. Their strategy bore fruit late last year with a sweeping, landmark victory in the European Court of Human Rights. Combined with the recent firing of virulently homophobic Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov,
Russian LGBTs now face a unique opportunity to finally win the right to demonstrate in Moscow without threats of violence or arrest.

Russian authorities are confronted with a choice: Jeopardize closer ties to Western Europe by ignoring the court ruling, or gain greater international legitimacy by being seen as a nation improving its human rights record. The answer will come on May 28 when LGBTs have scheduled Moscow Pride 2011.

Please join Russia’s foremost LGBT leader, Nikolai Alekseev of Gay Russia ( ) for a community meeting to discuss how we can win greater LGBT rights worldwide. Joining Alekseev will be Andy Thayer of the Chicago direct action LGBT rights group, Gay Liberation Network ( ), who has participated in the last two “illegal” pride demonstrations in Moscow and written extensively on the subject.

Other cities in their Feb. 26 – March 7 tour are New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and San Francisco. For more information on events in these cities, email


Rahm Emanuel Fighting to be Mayor of Chicago


Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff who had been the overwhelming favorite in the Chicago mayoral election, has been taken off (?) the ballot, court officials said – creating an opening for the Latino candidates in the race.- Actually there is confusion and conflicting stories if he is ON or OFF! First he was said to be taken off the ballot –  then the Illinois Supreme Court decided that Rahm Emanuel can run for mayor.

With only a month to go before Chicago’s mayoral election, the campaign has taken a series of headline-grabbing turns while candidates continue to court the city’s LGBT voters.

The field has narrowed from the 20 candidates who had initially filed petitions to succeed outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley to the four who will appear on the Feb. 22 ballot.

Rahm Emanuel, Carol Moseley Braun, Gery Chico and Miguel Del Valle all have relatively strong pro-LGBT records, including support across the board of marriage equality-an issue also championed by Daley. While Emanuel  is  the frontrunner in both polls and fundraising, many of the city’s leading activists continue to urge LGBT Chicagoans to closely follow the campaign.

A coalition of LGBT leaders, including representatives from many of the city’s leading service and advocacy groups, organized a series of three community forums held in November and December that allowed Chicagoans from across the city to provide input on a questionnaire distributed to each of the leading candidates.

Responses to that comprehensive questionnaire -which addresses HIV/AIDS funding, homelessness, police harassment and other issues-have now been posted on Equality Illinois’  Web site in advance of one final community forum at the Alder School of Psychology on Wednesday, Feb. 9, from 6-8 p.m.
17 North Dearborn Street, Chicago.

The primary to replace to longtime mayor Richard Daley is scheduled for Feb. 22..

 Mayoral candidate Gery Chico, who is running second in the polls to Rahm Emanuel, is proposing a departure from current policy when it comes to the residency of Chicago police and firefighters.

Chico said it might be time to drop the mandatory requirement that Chicago police and firefighters have to live in the city.

EMANUEL is scheduled to make an appearance at Center on Halsted, Friday morning, 10am.   The Center on Halsted is at 3656 N Halsted. He will meet with LGBT leaders there and discuss topics of concern.

Best Gay


Civil Union Community Forum This Thursday at Center on Halsted

The second EQIL
Civil Union Community Forum
will be held this Thursday,
December 16 at 6:00pm
at Center on Halsted.

EQIL  CEO Bernard Cherkasov and Director of Public Policy Rick Garcia will be leading the discussion and question-and-answer session.

What: EQIL Civil Union Community Forum

When: Thursday, December 16 at 6:00pm

Where: Center on Halsted
(3656 N. Halsted Street–3rd floor auditorium)

If you have any questions,
please  call 773-477-7173.

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday!

*P.S. To celebrate the passage of the civil union bill, community forum attendees will receive discounted access (just $10) to Alien Queen, Scooty & JoJo’s audacious parody of Hollywood’s most terrifying sci-fi franchise, complete with enormous alien puppets, a  multi-talented genderbending cast, a laser light show, and a four-piece rock band covering the legendary songs of Queen. Alien Queen will take place at Circuit Nightclub, opposite Center on Halsted, at 7:30pm on Thursday.



BREAKING NEWS – CIVIL UNIONS Will Now Become Legal in ths State of Illinois!!



We did it! Just moments ago, the Illinois State Senate passed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act with a vote of 32 to 24!

The bill will now go to Governor Quinn, who has promised to sign it into law.  Once signed into law, civil unions will be available to Illinoisans effective July 1, 2011.

On that date, thousands of same-sex couples in Illinois will have access to protections that were previously denied to them, such as emergency medical decision-making, hospital visitation, inheritance rights, and others.  This is a historic moment for our State, and we would not have been able to get here without the extraordinary leadership of the bill’s chief sponsors, State Representative Greg Harris and State Senator David Koehler.  Many of our partner organizations and community leaders devoted endless energy to helping pass this bill.  Clergy all around Illinois educated their congregations and even prayed for elected officials to understand the urgency of the protection that civil unions offers.  And our supporters from every corner of the State participated by contacting lawmakers, canvassing, phonebanking, writing letters, and making contributions.  This is your victory too.

Thank you for supporting Equality Illinois  and our mission to achieve full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.


Bernard Cherkasov
Chief Executive Officer

P.S.  We can only succeed in our mission with your support. Please make a contribution today.


Breaking News – Civil Unions for Chicago and Illinois is One Step Closer


Springfield, Illinois – Tuesday, November 30, 2010 – Today, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to pass the Illinois Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act by a vote of 61 to 52.  After passage by the Senate (hopefully this week) and being signed by Governor Quinn, the Act will take effect July 2011. 

With this vote, the Illinois General Assembly has taken one more step towards equality in Illinois. “Today the Illinois House of Representatives made history,” stated Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda and Co-Executive Director of LGBT Change. “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) families in Illinois have gained desperately needed protections that surround the most personal times of our lives.  With this victory, The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA) and LGBT Change have verified that our strategy is effective and impacted this vote for the better.”

TCRA and LGBT Change have already shown that their grassroots approach to organizing the community and working with allies has been effective.  In the last election, The Civil Rights Agenda Fund and LGBT Change, working in coordination with a number of allied groups, reached nearly 70,000 LGBT friendly voters and saw a 75% turn-out in targeted precincts across Illinois. The organizations also identified specific races where the stakes were high for LGBT civil rights, and impacted the outcome by driving voters to the polls.  As civil unions came close to a vote, TCRA and LGBT Change used their grassroots strategy to mobilize hundreds of volunteers, made close to 20,000 calls to constituents in target legislative districts and had a continuous lobbying presence in Springfield. 

“When our organizations became engaged in this issue, we realized that Representative Harris, the Chief Sponsor of the Bill, was diligently working in the absence of support from the community and was lacking support from community organizations in critical areas. Immediately we deployed a legislative team and began working to secure votes on both sides of the aisles,” said Lowell Jaffe, Political Director of The Civil Rights Agenda.

LGBT Change and The Civil Rights Agenda will be working together to ensure that those Legislators that voted ‘NO’ will be exposed, targeted and defeated.  We will also ensure that the Legislators that stood by the LGBT Community will be thanked and protected. 

The Illinois Religious Freedom and Civil Union Act will grant the same benefits, obligations and responsibilities of marriage, under state law, while protecting the rights of religious institutions to define marriage as they choose. The major benefits include hospital visitation, healthcare decision making, disposition of a deceased loved one’s remains and probate rights. Civil unions would be available to any couple, same-sex or opposite-sex, in a committed relationship who are:  18 years of age or older, not in an existing marriage or civil union, and are not related. The Act will also provide for the dissolution of civil unions in the same way as divorce. This Act will take effect July 2011. 

“We are finally on the bus,” said Jacob Meister, President of The Civil Rights Agenda, “but we will keep fighting until we are no longer relegated to the back.  For too long the leadership in the LGBT community has been willing to accept ‘separate but equal’ status. The Civil Rights Agenda and LGBT Change’s success with civil unions proves that if we continue to organize and build coalitions, we will reach a point of full civil rights for all people.” 

Additionally, The Civil Rights Agenda and LGBT Change will now turn their efforts to marriage as a matter of full equality.  “It’s time to open a new chapter and start the march toward full marriage equality,” Matty Zaradich, Co-Executive Director of LGBT Change added, “We won’t drink from a separate water fountain; we won’t accept ‘separate-but-equal’ treatment, and we won’t tolerate a government that discriminates against its own citizens.”