Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-08-27
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Billy Masters Billy Masters
"Rarely."—Larry King's answer when Howard Stern asked if he masturbates. Call me ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Illinois Unites for Marriage reports on Fall veto session strategies
by Matt Simonette
2013-07-30

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


The numbers facing Illinois Unites for Marriage activists at first seem daunting. Two million dollars needs to be raised. Four hundred thousand phone calls need to be made. And 71 legislative votes need to be gathered.

But officials from the organization, speaking at Center on Halsted July 29, outlined an ambitious strategy they hope can get SB 10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, passed sometime during the House's fall veto session.

Illinois Unites was formed from a coalition of many activist organizations. Its current, reorganized initiative came after much reflection following SB 10's defeat at the end of March, said Chairman Jim Bennett.

"Many people did not feel like that they had been at the table before, or had skills or resources that we did not utilize, and we did not want to make that same mistake twice," he added. Illinois Unites will focus on building a sustainable momentum for activists and supporters, and mobilize power from outside the Statehouse in order to get the bill passed.

The coalition needs to raise about $2 million, though they are working alongside and sharing resources with other organizations, among them Citizens United, Urban League of Chicago, Human Rights Campaign, Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal and The Civil Rights Agenda. "We formed a committee of people and asked for either $10,000 or $25,000 to get us started. …Between those groups, we've raised about $300,000 in cash and $200,000 in in-kind commitments," said Bennett.

Illinois Unites will hire 20 field operatives to work throughout the state; each will handle two targeted legislative districts. A religious director has also been hired to reach out to African American church communities and

The coalition's various teams were put together over the course of a week, said John Kohlhepp, campaign manager. "It just goes to show how dedicated people are in winning the freedom to marry in Illinois. …We have allies in so many different places that we have yet to activate."

Illinois Unites was a significant presence at Chicago's Pride parade this year. They organized seven floats and recruited many politicians; numerous parade participants held up their signs, according to Kohlhepp. "This was a massive show of unity, showing that even one month after the bill's failure, we were prepared to show the one million people watching the parade that this was the commitment of the LGBTQ community in Illinois."

The veto session consists of two three-day weeks, one in October, the other in November. Kohlhepp said Illinois Unites will try to secure 71 votes for the legislation. He admitted that it would not be easy, but if the bill passes with fewer than 71, it would require an amendment in order to go into effect before June 1 of next year. The amendment would entail floor and committee votes in the House, as well as SB 10 having to be returned to the Senate.

"With 71 votes, there's no amendment. SB 10 becomes law thirty days after the governor signs the bill and SB10 does not have to back to the senate. Seventy-one votes is very, very hard to get, but we should be reaching for that goal. We should not have to go through three votes to get marriage equality in the state of Illinois," said Kohlhepp.

A key talking point will be a Crain's poll taken in May that says about 50 percent of Illinoisans support gay marriage; 29 percent oppose it and 20 percent are undecided, he added. "That's a huge margin of support, and we know that this margin exists in many of the districts in which we're going to work."

Everyone is in our target who has not publically stated that they are a yes vote for marriage equality," Kohlhepp added. "…There is no reason that anyone from any district should be able to say that their district wants them to vote against marriage equality. We know that we have thousands of supporters in each of these districts, and it's our job to contact them and get them to talk to their legislators."

Illinois Unites has pinpointed several thousand voters across the state that they think will be supporters of the legislation. Kohlhepp estimated volunteers and staff will have to hold about 400,000 phone calls and conversations.

"That's just to get people to be supporters—people who would put up a yard sign or a bumper sticker on their car. Field organizers have to get 10 percent of those people to come in on a semi-regular basis to make phone calls and knock on doors—basically, to become activists," he said.

Oak Park resident Pam Cameron also spoke at the forum, describing the activism work that she gradually became involved with after her son came out to her during his senior year in high school. The work was difficult for her, she said, because she is naturally introverted, making reaching out to people uncomfortable. But she views the denial of marriage rights as fundamentally unfair.

"I started this because of my son but now, also, I do this for all of you," Cameron said. "Because everyone is somebody's son and everyone is somebody's daughter, and everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be protected under the law."

Field Dir. Keron Blair added that there would be a number of strategies supporters can use to raise awareness and encourage their friends and family to get involved, such as fundraising gatherings, for which Illinois Unites will provide party kits, or town hall meetings. He also mentioned the planned March on Springfield Oct. 22. He was not subtle about the importance of the work being proposed for the community.

"There is something about being able to locate ourselves in the annals of history," Blair said. "What we are doing, and inviting you to do, is answer the call of history."


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily
agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here.
Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you
stay on this page, the more you help us.

Indiana, Wisconsin couples rally before marriage hearing 2014-08-27
7th Circuit hears arguments for Indiana, Wisconsin equal marriage 2014-08-26
Couples rally in Chicago on eve of marriage hearing 2014-08-25
Florida marriage ban ruled unconstitutional by Fed Court 2014-08-21
U.S. Supreme Court blocks marriage in Virginia 2014-08-20
Judge: Ind. must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages 2014-08-20
GayWeddings.com head talks about new book 2014-08-20
CELEBRATIONS: Wojcik-Austin 2014-08-19
Three couples tie the knot in festive fashion 2014-08-19
John Barrowman talks 'Torchwood,' 'Arrow' and marriage equality 2014-08-17
WNBA players Griner, Johnson engaged 2014-08-16
Rally in Chicago on eve of 7th Circuit marriage cases 2014-08-14
Affinity conference takes on post-marriage equality issues 2014-08-13
6th Circuit signal direction on marriage equality lawsuits 2014-08-07
Target supports marriage equality 2014-08-07
Sixth Circuit hears Tennessee marriage equality case 2014-08-06
Federal Appeals Court to hear arguments in six marriage cases 2014-08-06
Wedding announcements 2014-08-06
National: Frank slams Obama; first responders back marriage 2014-08-05
Skateboarding's Tony Hawk joins Americans for Marriage Equality 2014-07-30
6th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear marriage equality cases 2014-07-30
Lambda Legal to 7th Circuit: Grant marriage for all Hoosiers 2014-07-29
Knight and Bailey wed 2014-07-28
4th Circuit Court of Appeals strikes down Virginia ban 2014-07-27
Forde and Zipter wed 2014-07-24
Miami court rules in favor of marriage equality in Florida 2014-07-24
Colorado marriage ban overturned by Federal Court 2014-07-23
Supreme Court grants stay in Utah marriage case 2014-07-18
10th Circuit affirms marriage equality for Oklahomans 2014-07-18
Florida state court rules marriage ban unconstitutional 2014-07-17
Marriage advocate Jordan needs kidney donor 2014-07-14
Ind. governor won't recognize marriage equality 2014-07-09
Colorado marriage ban struck down in state court 2014-07-09
High profile expansion for Rony Tennenbaum Jewelry 2014-07-09
Immigration activists turn to LGBT marriage work for ideas 2014-07-05
Ald. Deb Mell announces marriage ending on Twitter 2014-07-03
Married same-sex couples to receive FMLA benefits 2014-07-02
Republican backs marriage; rulings in CO, UT, KY 2014-07-01
Kentucky marriage ban struck down by federal judge 2014-07-01
Fed Appeals Court grants stay, protects an Indiana marriage 2014-07-01





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

DINING Freshii's Alex Blair on expanding empire
 
Before we go moving the Pride Parade...
 
7th Circuit hears arguments for Indiana, Wisconsin equal marriage
 
Michael Jackson tribute Aug. 28-30 in Gary, Indiana
 
Attendees board 'Soul Train' at ALCC event
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.