The fight over legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois escalated May 11 as protesters on both sides of the issue targeted three suburban representatives.
For the fourth week in a row, demonstrators yielding signs, banners and speakers faced off over SB 10, a bill that would bring equal marriage to Illinois.
The day saw three different demonstrations, organized by anti-gay group the Illinois Family Institute (IF). Groups of pro-LGBT counter protesters confronted them at each of the rallies.
In Aurora, demonstrators protested outside the office of Rep. Stephanie Kifowit. At the height of that protest, approximately 200 demonstrated against same-sex marriage, while 55 had come to show support for the bill.
In Chicago Heights, approximately 60 came to show opposition for the bill, while about 15 demonstrated support for it. That group was targeting Democrat Anthony DeLuca.
Helen Sluis, a Mokena resident who opposes the bill, said that she feels her district does not want DeLuca to vote yes.
"They would vote in favor of traditional marriage as the bedrock of society," she said.
Most of the pro-LGBT demonstrators reported they did not live in the district.
Gay Liberation Network (GLN), which organized the counter-demonstration in DeLuca's 80th district, has confronted other IFI rallies in recent weeks. Illinois Unites for Marriage, a coalition of groups, and The Civil Rights Agenda have also organized opposition to the rallies, which have tended to target undecided or wavering reps.
Andy Thayer, co-founder of GLN, acknowledged that the counter- protests were necessary even though he feels the bill should have been passed by now.
"I know that it's been very difficult coming out every weekend as many of you have," he told supporters.
Sponsors of the bill have been pushing for its passage since January, with supporters growing increasingly anxious. The bill passed the Senate in February and Gov. Pat Quinn has vowed to sign it.
Thayer called on House Democrats, especially Speaker Mike Madigan, to call for a vote on the bill.
"It's crunch time now," he said.
IFI also demonstrated outside the office of Rep. Jim Durkin May 11. The Western Springs rally drew about 75 anti-gay demonstrators and a dozen pro-LGBT protesters according to Western Springs Patch.
Contributing: Tim Carroll
Photos 1-4, protests in Chicago Heights targeting Democrat Anthony DeLuca. Photos by Kate Sosin. Photos 5-8 protests i Aurora targeting Rep. Stephanie Kifwit. Photos by Tim Carroll.
VIDEO by Kate Sosin: Protesters spar over Illinois marriage bill in 3 suburbs 5-11-2013 here: www.youtube.com/watch .