CHICAGO — Leaders LGBT state equality organizations meet next week in Chicago for a conference on how to tackle serious challenges that remain despite the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality.
The annual autumn Equality Federation Midwest/West Leadership Summit, convened by the Equality Federation and hosted by Equality Illinois, will bring together executives from LGBT rights organizations from ten states to strategize on how to build on the marriage victory in areas such as expanding transgender rights, fighting sweeping religious exemptions, and embracing racial and juvenile justice as LGBT issues.
"As significant as the Supreme Court decision was, many of these other struggles about recognizing the rights and freedoms of LGBT Americans and our families are being fought on the state and local levels, as demonstrated by the religious exemption battles in Indiana, Arkansas and Kentucky and Tuesday's referendum on Houston's anti-discrimination ordinance," said Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of the Equality Federation, the national umbrella group for the state-based equality organizations.
In addition to Equality Illinois, equality organizations from Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming will be represented at the meetings to be held Thursday-Friday, Nov. 5-6, at Chicago's Center on Halsted.
"Equality Illinois is proud to host the Leadership Summit," said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. "We are stronger and more effective when we collaborate and learn from each other, especially right now when we are fighting for federal nondiscrimination protections and defending our victories against a well-funded, coordinated attack from our opponents."
In addition to discussing issues, the state organizations will share the advocacy tools, messaging and organizational strengths that have proven to work in battles at the state and local levels.