Following the disheartening passage of Proposition 8, a
constitutional amendment that overturned a ruling establishing gay marriage as a fundamental right in California, Chicago residents came out in full force on Saturday to protest in favor of marriage equality. The ...
Following the disheartening passage of Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that overturned a ruling establishing gay marriage as a fundamental right in California, Chicago residents came out in full force on Saturday to protest in favor of marriage equality. The national group Join the Impact organized the action online in less than a week, calling on community members to take action in 100 cities nationwide. The peaceful crowd -- estimated at about 2,000 -- held a rally downtown, then started an impromptu march from Federal Plaza, to City Hall, and ultimately on to Michigan Avenue. MyDD diarist Todd Beeton snapped some photos and the local news affiliates covered the event as well:
Though the recent decision in California spurred the protest, another fight over gay rights may be brewing right here in Illinois.
According to the State Journal-Register, the organization Protect Marriage Illinois has vowed to launch a campaign in 2010 to pass an advisory referendum in support of amending the Illinois constitution to restrict marriage to heterosexuals. The coalition, which includes the Illinois Family Institute, the Constitution Party of Illinois, Republican Young Professionals and the Family Taxpayers Network, failed to collect the number of signatures required to secure an advisory ballot measure in both 2006 and 2008. Despite their lack of succes in the past, and the fact that Illinois law already prohibits same-sex marriage, the victory in California seems to have reenergized the right-wing base. “There’s a real threat, and it’s because you have activist courts that find things in the constitution that don’t exist,” Ralph Rivera, a lobbyist for the Illinois Family Institute, told the State Journal-Register. “If we’re to protect traditional marriage here and not have the state forcing companies and churches to accept hiring and benefits for same-sex couples, then you have to have some protection from the courts.”
If the initiative somehow finds its way onto the ballot, gay rights activists could learn a lot from the experience in California, where the "No on 8" ground game was severely outflanked by the religious right. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, an organizer on the campaign, explains.