The fight for marriage equality in Illinois may be over for this legislative session, but for a group of Equality Illinois supporters it was alive April 25.
Three busloads of LGBT people and allies headed to Springfield to ask their legislators to start thinking about marriage equality.
The lobby day is an annual Equality Illinois event, but this year was the first that looked promising for marriage equality, after civil unions went into effect last June.
Gay state Reps. Greg Harris, Kelly Cassidy and Deb Mell and others put forth a marriage bill earlier this year, but most believed it had little chance of passing. The lawmakers later said they would not move the bill forward.
Harris has introduced a marriage bill every year, and some argue that now is the time to gain support for future efforts.
Randy Hannig, public policy director for Equality Illinois, urged the group at Lobby Day to focus on lawmakers who were on the fence on the issue, especially downstate politicians who might be less likely to vote in favor of marriage equality.
Overall, those lobbying reported positive interactions with their lawmakers, including downstate Republicans who had never been approached on the issue but might support marriage equality and representatives like Rita Mayfield who declined to vote either way on civil unions.
The group had the opportunity to meet Harris, Mell and Cassidy in addition to Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka hosted a reception with rainbow cookies for the group, but was not in attendance.
"I love it when you guys are here," Mell told the group. "The capital is just a little more fabulous."
Other LGBT-related bills could still become a reality in the near future, including an amendment that would add gender identity into the Illinois hate-crimes statute.