Petitioners seek to bar politicians from Chicago Pride Parade


A petition launched after the Illinois House failed to vote on marriage equality before the end of its regular session calls for politicians to be barred from the upcoming Chicago Pride Parade.

The annual celebration through heavily LGBT North Side neighborhoods draws many politicians from the city and throughout the state, even in non-election years. In fact, participation in Chicago’s Pride has often been taken as an early signal of a politician’s support for LGBT causes.

But the petition states that “105 days have passed in order to gain the amount of votes needed for SB-10 (Illinois’ pending same-sex marriage bill) and then at the moment it needed to be called, we suddenly did not have enough votes so it has now been postponed till November. How could they not hear the people cry out for equality? So why should we be subjected to hear them cry out for votes and elections during our time of being proud of who we are and the battles we have overcome? Not to mention the assault of publications handed out by them or their employees during our festivities–IF YOU CAN’T HELP US–WHY SHOULD WE HELP YOU?”

The petition is addressed to the Illinois House and also the organizers of the 44th annual Pride march.

The petition went up on June 3 and, as of early June 4, had more than 900 signatures.

Meanwhile, the House co-sponsors of the state marraige equality bill have issued an apology to LGBT families who rushed to the capital on May 31 expecting to see history made. 

On the final night of session May 31, openly gay state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, announced that the bill would not be called before the House adjourned. He said colleagues needed the summer to reconnect with constituents before a vote, possibly in the fall.

Later, House Speaker Michael Madigan announced an extension of the deadline so that the bill could be taken up if Gov. Pat Quinn calls a special session this summer, possibly in August. Lawmakers left Springfield with a lot of unfinished business.

The apology stated, “Like you, we are incredibly disappointed about what happened Friday in Springfield. But let’s not forget something very important: Marriage equality is going to happen.

“As a community, we must come together, assess our strategy, and redouble our efforts in the fight for fundamental fairness. This is not the time for us to splinter – for that is exactly what our opponents want.

“The more united we are in the coming days and weeks, the sooner the bill will get passed – and the sooner our dream of full equality will become a reality.

“We want to extend our sincerest apologies to the families who rushed to Springfield in the waning hours of session to support equality in anticipation of this historic vote. You have been and continue to be our inspiration and we pledge to fight together until we achieve full equality for all Illinois families.”

The letter is signed by state Reps. Christian L. Mitchell, Maria Antonio Berrios, Kelly M. Cassidy, Deborah Mell, Sam Yingling, Lou Lang, Sara Feigenholtz, Naomi D. Jakobsson, Ann M. Williams, Robert F. Martwick, Mike Smiddy, Robyn Gabel, Barbara Flynn Currie, Laura Fine and Harris.

State Sen. Heather A. Steans, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, also signed the letter. The Senate approved the legislation on Valentine’s Day.