Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



Chicago celebrates high court decision for marriage equality
by Carrie Maxwell

This article shared 2 times since Fri Jun 26, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

      More Photos

Elected officials, community leaders and others gathered at Boystown spot Sidetrack June 26 to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's five-to-four decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case granting marriage equality across the United States.

Among the elected officials in attendance were Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; Illinois state Reps. Greg Harris, Kelly Cassidy, Sara Feigenholtz and Ann Williams; state Sen. Heather Steans; and Alds. Tom Tunney, James Cappleman, Deb Mell, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and Raymond Lopez.

Amid cheers from the crowd, Art Johnston, longtime activist and co-owner of Sidetrack, welcomed everyone to the celebration.

"This victory may seem too much of the world—as though it arrived as suddenly as a bolt of lightning—but the people in this room know that this took years and years and decades and decades to come, and now it's here," said Johnston.

While introducing Jim Bennett, Midwest regional director of Lambda Legal, Johnston noted the work that Lambda Legal did to move marriage equality forward both here in Illinois and across the United States.

Bennett spoke about the history of Sidetrack as both a bar and community center. He also talked about the desire of LGBT people to be treated just like everyone else in all areas of their lives, including marriage. He also noted that James Darby and Patrick Bova, whom he calls the "first couple of Illinois," were in attendance.

Brad Balof, general manager of Sidetrack, explained that the reason why this celebration took place at Sidetrack is due to its long history as a beacon for the LGBT community in Chicago at a time when no politician would openly speak to LGBT people. He also noted the other LGBT victories that occurred both in Chicago and Illinois prior to this Supreme Court ruling.

Emanuel said that he couldn't be prouder of this moment and noted the Supreme Court's decision on June 25 that upheld the Affordable Care Act. He also thanked everyone for their activism and hard work that made this marriage ruling possible.

Harris noted that he, like a lot of people this week, checked SCOTUSblog every morning to see if the ruling was released. He recognized the many people that made this moment happen including faith, business and political leaders on both sides of the aisle as well as those living in rural, suburban and urban areas who never gave up on the idea that marriage equality was something that could be achieved.

Steans spoke about how the language in the 14th Amendment led to this affirmative ruling.

"One of my sons identifies himself as a member of the community and he can do so in a very open and welcoming way here in Chicago knowing that people are fighting for his rights and everyone here's rights," said Steans. "This has been a journey that I'm honored to be a part of."

Cassidy said that she felt a sense of gratitude and excitement when she heard the ruling that morning. She also noted the many people who weren't in the room—including the late state Rep. Larry McKeon, the late John Pennycuff, the late Bill Kelley and the late Vernita Gray. Cassidy spoke about her sons being the reason why she fought for this and how her sons faced people who told them their family wasn't equal.

As for the work that still needs to be done regarding LGBT equality, Cassidy said "today it's gratitude, tomorrow it's back to work."

Vernita Gray's surviving spouse, Pat Ewert, also addressed the crowd. "This is amazing. Those of you who knew Vernita knew she never missed a party and so today when we are celebrating … I want all of you to take a minute and think about Vernita and the things that she brought to our community and what our community has accomplished," said Ewert. Gray and Ewert were the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Illinois, in late 2013, a short time before Gray died.

"I'm so happy for the people in the states who didn't have the right to marry like we did," said Darby. "This means a lot to the service members who live in those states because until today they didn't have all the rights that their straight counterparts had including housing and/or services within the military bases where they are stationed and now they will be able to get access to those things due to this ruling."

"When we travel to Indiana or Michigan we won't be so dependent on our paperwork which proves that we are married," said Darby's husband Bova. "We also have powers of attorney drawn up and we shouldn't need that in those states although we will still carry our paperwork because I don't think what happened today is going to settle things for lots of people so there might still be some issues. The notion of marriage for gay people is very, very important and it's always been the reason why we are here, for those couples who dreamed of eventually getting married and now they can."

"It's really exciting to be here to celebrate this ruling," said She100 Co-founder Amy Bloom. "I never thought this would happen at least not in my lifetime, but at the same time with everything that's been going on with marriage equality across the country this was something that needed to happen. We're all equal and we should be treated equally."

"This is an historical event and I think this will cause a change in our culture," said Paul Fairchild, a longtime community activist. "It will be very interesting to see how this changes our movement."

"I'm very happy about today's ruling and as an activist I like to take moments like this to celebrate and at the same time note that there is a lot of other work we have to do to achieve full equality," said Kim Hunt, executive director of Affinity Community Services. "I think this is a great day and a step in the right direction for equality."

This article shared 2 times since Fri Jun 26, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Brittney Griner pleads to Biden for release
Brittney Griner has appealed to President Joe Biden in a letter passed to the White House through her representatives, NPR reported. In the letter, Griner said she feared she might never return home and asked that ...

Gay News

WORLD KyivPride, Romanian bill, marriage items, Cynthia Erivo
Ukraine's largest LGBTQ+-rights event, KyivPride, went ahead as a peace march—in Warsaw, Poland, CNBC reported. It joined Warsaw's yearly Equality Parade, the largest such event in central Europe, using it as a platform to keep international ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Lambda Legal, N.J. politicians, funding, monkeypox
Lambda Legal issued a statement about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of a former football coach for a high school in western Washington who lost his job after praying on the 50-yard-line after games. ...

Gay News

Sen. Baldwin, colleagues applaud confirmation of Global AIDS Coordinator, push for global LGBTQI+ rights
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen.Tammy Baldwin joined her colleagues in congratulating John Nkengasong on his recent confirmation as U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. The lawmakers also urged Ambassador Nkengasong to ensure ...

Gay News

Attorneys discuss anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, other legal threats
On June 29 at a Citywide Pride event, Elizabeth Myers and Jennifer Ecklund—partners in the Dallas office of law firm Thompson Coburn—shared insight about the unprecedented amount of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation passed this year and how it relates ...

Gay News

Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' law takes effect
Florida's Parental Rights in Education law—which some have nicknamed the "Don't Say Gay" law—went into effect July 1, and some of the state's public school districts have begun rolling out new policies to limit LGBTQ issues ...

Gay News

New MAP analysis: How states rank on voting & democracy compared to LGBTQ equality
-- From a press release - As we wrap up Pride Month, we at the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) are sharing new analyses utilizing our LGBTQ Equality Maps, which track 50+ LGBTQ state laws and policies, and our new Democracy Maps, which ...

Gay News

ACLU files case against Indiana's anti-trans law
On July 1, a law banning transgender girls from playing on girls' sports teams in schools went into effect. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has asked for an injunction on the law, WTHR reported. On ...

Gay News

VIEWS How same-sex couples can ensure parenting rights if Supreme Court reverses Obergefell
By Jeffery M. Leving - After the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade last week, many are now wondering if the court would go after same-sex marriage next. Justice Samuel Alito, in his majority decision, wrote that nothing in its ...

Gay News

Ketanji Brown Jackson becomes first Black woman on U.S. Supreme Court
On June 30, Ketanji Brown Jackson marked a milestone in U.S. representation when she was sworn in as the first Black woman in history to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. She also becomes only the ...

Gay News

Ricky Martin at center of $3M lawsuit
Superstar singer/actor Ricky Martin has been sued by his former talent manager, Rebecca Drucker, Deadline reported. Drucker was Martin's manager during 2014-18 and 2020-22. The complaint, filed June 29 in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks in ...

Gay News

R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years
On June 29, Chicago-born R&B superstar R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, The Chicago Tribune reported. The sentence marked a fall from grace after decades of sexual-misconduct ...

Gay News

Wisconsin governor challenges abortion ban
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the state's 173-year-old ban on abortions, asking a state court to declare the law unenforceable, ABC 7 Chicago reported. In ...

Gay News

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adds X gender marker to charge intake process
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today full implementation of the opportunity to select a nonbinary "X" gender marker during the intake process for filing a charge of discrimination. "By adding a ...

Gay News

HRC on how the end of Roe v. Wade impacts the LGBTQ+ community
-- From a press release. Video below. - WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, in light of the dangerous Supreme Court decision in Dobbs ...


Copyright © 2022 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.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.