A judge upheld the city's denial of protest permits for a march around the Democratic National Convention this summer after an appeal from its organizers.
A coalition of groups under the banner of Bodies Outside of Unjust Laws had been planning the Aug. 18 march to call for national legislation enshrining LGBTQ+ protections and reproductive rights at the national level. But the permit application was rejected Jan. 16, according to a letter provided to the Windy City Times.
After organizers appealed the city's decision Tuesday at the Chicago Administrative Law Hearings Courthouse, 400 W. Superior St., Administrative Law Judge Dennis Michael Fleming ruled Thursday the city's denial was justified.
"The City of Chicago met its burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence that there are not available at the time of this parade a sufficient number of on-duty police officers, or other city employees, authorized to regulate traffic, to police the public and to protect the parade," Fleming wrote in his ruling.
Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, one of the groups involved in Bodies Outside of Unjust Laws, said the outcome was "wholly expected" and the march will go on regardless.
The coalition will also appeal the judge's ruling. Other groups involved include Chicago for Abortion Rights, Tri State Abortion Action and Stop Trans Genocide.
"The main thing is that almost no one wins at this level," Thayer said. "I have participated in about a dozen of these hearings over the years, and the only time we've won is when we've gotten the city on a technicality because they busted their response deadline."
The march, scheduled for the day before the Aug. 19-22 convention at the United Center, was timed to raise awareness for these issues at the same time delegates and other political leaders are arriving in Chicago and staying downtown for the event, Thayer said after Tuesday's appeal hearing.
Organizers' proposed route for the march begins at Water Tower Park, 180 E. Pearson St., and weaves through downtown to end at 901 S. Michigan Ave., according to their application.
But city officials denied the application, saying the march can only go on if organizers agree to an alternative route through Grant Park along Columbus Drive from Roosevelt Road to Jackson Drive, according to the city's initial rejection letter.
Thayer called the alternative route a "dead zone" that would limit the amount of awareness they could raise through their protest.
"It's very important for the people of Chicago and beyond to know why it is important to protest not just against the Republicans, but also against the Democrats," Thayer said. "In my experience, when we've had Democratic administrations, we've gotten at most the bare minimum that they have promised … and the bare minimum is not enough."
See www.windycitytimes.com/lgbt/LGBTQ-reproductive-rights-organizers-plan-march-on-Democratic-National-Convention-appeal-permit-rejection/76583.html .