With just hours left in the state's spring legislative session and a vote on equal marriage anticipated by day's end, anti-gay activists converged in Springfield May 31.
Approximately 30 people gathered in the rotunda of the capitol building to show their opposition to the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.
The gathering came just an hour before an anticipated pro-gay rally in the same location. LGBT organizations have called on supporters to flood the capitol to show support for the bill and put pressure on House Speaker Mike Madigan to call the bill for a vote. Sponsors have until the end of the day to call for a vote on the bill as the session wraps up.
Among those represented at the anti-gay gathering were representatives from the Illinois Family Institute, which has opposed the bill at rallies across the Chicago area in recent weeks.
Pastor Danny Holliday of Victory Baptist Church argued that the state had no right to say what marriage is, and that passage of the bill would change what children were taught in schools.
"It they redefine marriage in the state of Illinois, it will be just like the state of Massachusetts where they teach children differently," he said.
Sharee Langenstein, a lobbyist for Family PAC and Eagle Forum, and David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute also spoke briefly.
The group prayed as major media outlets looked on. The convening wrapped up without incident.
Windy City Times will continue to update from Springfield. For the latest, follow us on Twitter, @windycitytimes1.
Live stream from the House floor here: new.livestream.com/blueroomstream/events/2135841 .
Video link to Anti-gays rallying against marriage equality [Warning: horrible anti-gay language] here: www.youtube.com/watch .
LGBT families, organizations rally in the capitol 2013-05-31 here: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/LGBT-families-organizations-rally-in-the-capitol/43041.html .
Marchers head for Springfield rally for marriage equality 2013-05-31 here: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Marchers-head-for-Springfield-rally-for-marriage-equality-/43039.html .