A change.org petition has gone online calling for Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris to be named as a Grand Marshal for the 2014 Chicago Pride Parade.
The petition ( chn.ge/1nvpPR7 ), directed towards Pride Parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer, reads, "… This year Illinois has reached full equality under the law. Our right to love has been recognized! One of the most vocal pioneers of this movement has been Illinois State Representative Greg Harris. His dedication and resolve to fight for equality came to fruition this year, this month in fact. … It is for this reason we call for Greg Harris to be the 2014 Chicago Pride Parade Co-Grand Marshal."
Pfeiffer did extend an offer on Sunday to Harris to be grand marshal, but Harris said he felt most comfortable being with the many politicians who worked on this together, including Sen. Heather Steans and Gov. Pat Quinn.
A Facebook page about the issue ( www.facebook.com/HarrisForMarshal ) has been active since November 6.
Pfeiffer told Windy City Times that local politicians are rarely chosen as Grand Marshals.
"Most major Pride parades have 'national' grand marshals, people who are known at a national level," Pfeiffer said, adding that they often are individuals who have had a public 'coming-out.'
Nevertheless, Harris will have "a prominent position towards the front of the parade."
Singer, musician, recording artist and former athlete Will Sheridan was named as this year's grand marshal. The possibility of a second marshal has been floated, but Pfeiffer said organizers were still trying to determine that person's availability and could not comment on it yet.
Pfeiffer said the marshals are usually drawn from community suggestions, and then organizers set about seeing if they are available.
"That happens year after year," Pfeiffer said. "If you don't get your first choice, you move on to the second one."