Chicago protests for marriage equality

February 19, 2009

CHICAGO--Over 300 Chicago activists for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual (LGBT) civil rights celebrated Valentine's Day this year with a loud, spirited picket of the Cook County Marriage License Bureau in protest of the state's same-sex marriage ban.

Dubbing the holiday "Marriage Equality Day," the protest was organized by Join the Impact-Chicago, Chicago Single-Payer Action Network and the Gay Liberation Network. It was timed to highlight that this popular day for couples to tie the knot is not shared by same-sex couples, who cannot get the over 1,100 federal rights granted to couples that marry.

Speakers at the rally addressed the need for straight allies to join and be welcomed into the struggle for LGBT civil rights; the urgency of passing the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA); the inadequacy of accepting a "civil unions" law as an alternative to marriage; as well as called on President Barack Obama to hold true to his commitment to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

After picketing the County Clerk's office, the group marched to the Marriage License Bureau, to support the seven LGBT activists that were sitting in, demanding that marriage licenses be granted to same-sex couples. The crowd then marched to a protest against school closures happening a few blocks away, demonstrating the linkages being made between struggles for LGBT equality and other movements for social justice in Chicago.

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