Photos from the marriage event by Alena M. Scarver
By Alena M. Scarver
The Sixth Annual Freedom to Marry Reception was hosted Feb. 15 at the Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence. The free reception was sponsored by Lambda Legal, Merrill Lynch, and The Aragon Ballroom, and spotlighted efforts to support equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.
Music played in the dimly lit ballroom with a projection screen displaying photos of parades and names of various gay-rights organizations. Rick Garcia, director of public policy of Equality Illinois, and Camilla Taylor, a staff attorney of Lambda Legal, presided over the event.
Garcia gave special recognition to all the couples who celebrated being legally married, or marked a domestic partnership or civil union. These couples were able to catch a bouquet and enjoy wedding cake.
'We are going to prevail because we are right, we are proud, and we are strong,' said Garcia. He went on to emphasize that no group of people should be treated unequally: 'There should be one set of rules that applies to all people.'
State Rep. Greg Harris will introduce a full marriage equality bill in the state legislature on Feb. 22. ( See the story this issue. ) Taylor expressed her excitement about being on the forefront of such legislation.
Taylor also discussed Lambda Legal's involvement in four nationwide cases they're working on in conjunction with the ACLU. 'The state needs to know how important marriage is. Fifty seven percent of people believe that gay people deserve some type of legal recognition,' she said.
Rose Gonzalez, a member of PFLAG, attended her first Freedom to Marry Reception. 'I've been a part of PFLAG for two years,' she said. 'My son lives in California. He's in a committed relationship. I believe in marriage for everyone. The state needs to make it happen.'