PI Original Josh Kalven Wednesday May 14th, 2008, 1:43pm

Former State Rep. Larry McKeon Dies

Larry McKeon, the first openly gay state legislator in Illinois, died yesterday in Springfield at the age of 63. From the Tribune:

An Army veteran and former lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, McKeon came to Chicago in the 1980s to pursue a ...

Larry McKeon, the first openly gay state legislator in Illinois, died yesterday in Springfield at the age of 63. From the Tribune:

An Army veteran and former lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, McKeon came to Chicago in the 1980s to pursue a degree in social service administration.

He worked as a director at United Charities and became involved with gay activist groups, leading to his run for political office. In 1992, he was hired as executive director of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, serving as Mayor Richard Daley’s liaison to gay and lesbian leaders in the city.

McKeon was elected to the House in 1996 by voters in the North Side’s 34th District. During that campaign, he acknowledged being HIV-positive.

One of his major legislative priorities was to expand gay rights. In 2005, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed into law a measure that added sexual orientation to the state’s human rights act banning discrimination against gays and lesbians by landlords, real estate agents, employers and lenders.

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