PI Original Josh Kalven Saturday May 10th, 2008, 12:24pm

9,000 Join IL Student's Civil Union Facebook Page

Back in March, we noted how a Facebook group created by Lake Forest College sophomore Phil Miatkowski to rally support for Illinois Rep. Greg Harris' (D-Chicago) civil union bill had attracted over 8,000 members. Well, the AP is reporting today that that number has climbed ...

Back in March, we noted how a Facebook group created by Lake Forest College sophomore Phil Miatkowski to rally support for Illinois Rep. Greg Harris' (D-Chicago) civil union bill had attracted over 8,000 members. Well, the AP is reporting today that that number has climbed to nearly 9,000:

At first, his site detailed the bill's progress for friends, who began inviting hundreds of other friends.

Within weeks, Miatkowski and students from across the state organized online "rallies" to flood legislators with e-mails, faxes and phone calls. Members also have held petition drives at train stations, written editorials and set up campus events.

The group's efforts made enough of an impression that Illinois lawmakers mentioned it to Harris, sponsor of the civil unions bill. Harris contacted Miatkowski and other student leaders to discuss how to gather more momentum on the bill.

"This is an organic thing. That's the exciting thing about it," Harris said. "There's no way I could talk to 9,000 individuals from every county in this state and get them on board with this. They did this themselves."

Harris' bill would give same-sex couples in Illinois equal rights and access to benefits. It advanced out of committee earlier this year and Harris says he's confident it will pass the full House before the year is over. You can learn more about the measure and the Illinoisans it would affect at CivilUnionsIllinois.org.

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