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Gay Activists to Picket IL Rep. Greg Harris, Demand Vote on Marriage Equality Bill: VIDEO


Illlinois LGBT activist group Gay Liberation Network is planning to picket Rep. Greg Harris, the lead sponsor of the marriage equality bill pending in the state legislature, on Saturday.

HarrisThe group's demand: "a party-line vote in favor of the bill by the Democratic Caucus, which holds a super-majority in Illinois's House of Representatives.

Writes the group, via press release:

GLN has been unique in publicly targeting the Democratic caucus, and especially House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago), for the failure of the bill, SB10, during the spring session and its uncertain fate in the current session.

"Because Speaker Madigan is so powerful, controlling access to jobs and contracts, most organizations are afraid to take him on and bluntly place blame where it's due," said GLN co-founder Andy Thayer. "Madigan controls the House as surely as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel controls the City Council. When Madigan has wanted a party-line vote for far less popular measures, like gifts to the wealthy and well-connected, he's had no problem ramming them through the House. Like it or not, and mostly not, that's the way that politics works in this state."

Unlike pension "reform" and subsidies to already wealthy businesses that pay few, if any taxes, legislation favoring equal marriage rights in Illinois is overwhelmingly popular, with proponents outnumbering opponents by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, according to a February Crain's Chicago Business poll.

The protest is scheduled for 2 PM, Saturday, October 26 in front of Harris's district office, 1967 W. Montrose Avenue, Chicago.

Additionally, the Illinois Unites coalition has launched a three-day petition drive asking for a vote.

On Tuesday, after the March on Springfield, GLN unfurled a banner in the Capitol Building rotunda demanding SB10 be passed.

Watch their video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Activists to Picket IL Rep. Greg Harris, Demand Vote on Marriage Equality Bill: VIDEO" »

Illinois Marriage Equality Vote Expected Any Time Now

(facebook chicago phoenix)

With just two days left in the session, lawmakers are under tremendous pressure to pass the marriage equality bill pending in the Illinois House.

HarrisThe Windy City Times reports that "LGBT activists, advocates and community members have begun filtering into the capitol" in anticipation of a vote, possibly this afternoon:

Chief sponsor Greg Harris (pictured) has said he will "absolutely" call for a vote on the bill by session's end May 31. He has also stated that the bill will pass.

Multiple sources connected with organizing efforts around the bill have stated that a vote is expected this afternoon, evening or early in the day on Friday. That timeline will partially depend on other business in Springfield as spring session wraps up.

Advocates with Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, The Civil Rights Agenda, Human Rights Campaign, Gay Liberation Network and other groups are already in the capitol. Sources say that the families of some reps. are also headed for Springfield.

The Illinois Observer added, in an article published this morning:

"A top Democrat told The Illinois Observer on Wednesday night, 'The roll call is in the high 50s. It’s close; it’s almost there.' The magic number to pass the House is 60."

The Chicago Phoenix reports on its Facebook page that there is increased activity in the House chamber, including the removal of activist Andy Thayer (top), for reportedly "draping rainbow flags from gallery seating."

UPDATE: The Windy City Times tweets that the House has now gone into recess until 4 pm CT, but the vote could still happen this evening.

Fireworks Already Starting in Moscow Over Banned Gay Pride as Activists Arrive to Lead it in Defiance

Last week I mentioned that Moscow officials had banned Gay Pride once again, citing security risks. Activists aren't having it. Andy Thayer, of Chicago's Gay Liberation Network, and Dan Choi have joined Russian activist Nikolai Alexeyev in Moscow for what promise to be some fireworks in defiance of the ban. Activist Louis-Georges Tim and Brit Peter Tatchell are also there. Gay Pride is scheduled for this weekend.

Alexeyev Apparently the fireworks have begun.

Pam Spaulding got a report from Choi on some TV action that went down earlier today.

Dan reports that he, along with about 20 activists from the U.S. and Europe attended Russia's version of Meet the Press. Russian LGBT rights activist, lawyer and journalist Nikolay Alexeyev debated their version of Maggie Gallagher, and the opposition (anti-gay) side was stacked with government officials and a "sexologist" demonizing LGBTs.

Choi According to Dan, the first two segments were very contentious; at the end of the second segment it became so heated that Alexeyev stormed off of the set (photo, above right, of Alexeyev after walking out) -- actually damaging part of the set -- and refused to come back for the third segment.

Instead, Alexeyev and all of the pro-LGBT attendees left the set and audience. This program aired live, so I'm sure clips will surface. Dan will have a report later; they are also planning direct action in protest of the cancellation of Pride by homophobic officials and it's likely there will be arrests.

UK Gay News is running a blog dedicated to Gay Pride in Moscow, and is keeping up with events there.

Said Alexeyev: "Next 48 hours will shape the future of Moscow Pride and LGBT community in Russia in general - and I am not joking."

Mckellen Actor Ian McKellen has also released a message in support of the activists:

“The Mayor of Moscow is a coward.Rather than face the fact that Muscovite gays and lesbians should be valued on a par with their straight peers, he panders to the right wing.  He throws them some red meat, some gays, to gnaw on.  In the 1980s, Mrs Thatcher once did the same in the United Kingdom but she was eventually defeated totally by the efforts of gay people, their families and friends, who joined together to fight injustice. I send my heart-felt support for your bravery in marching on 28 May in the land of Tchaikovsky, Diaghilev and Nureyev."

LGBT Asylum News reports:

Far-right and Orthodox Church forces are planning a counter demonstration - approved by authorities - and already held one at the site last Saturday, delayed by rain, which one of the demonstrators blamed on the [Moscow Mayor] “Sobyanin lesbians.”

“We will drive them off!” Yury Ageshchev, coordinator of the Orthodox Brotherhood of the Russian Orthodox Church told Russian newspaper Kommersant.

“True, last year we had some issues with the police and there were arrests, but this time we will not give up. It’s going to get hot,” he threatened.

The office of the police chief has said "everything is ready to prevent [the gays] marching - and arrest them."

More to come, I'm sure...

Chicago Cardinal Condemns 'Open Display of Prejudice' as Activists Protest Catholic Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage


Approximately 50 activist led by Chicago's Gay Liberation Network picketed the city's Holy Name Cathedral and Cardinal Francis George yesterday, protesting the Catholic Church's attempts to block marriage equality and civil unions in the state, Now in Gay Chicago reports.

Said GLN leader and activist Andy Thayer: “Cardinal George went into overdrive to try to defeat the civil unions bill in Springfield. Every single piece of pro-rights legislation that's ever been proposed for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community, this cardinal and his predecessors have opposed.”

George George responded to the protests: "Some members of the Gay Liberation Network demonstrated in front of Holy Name Cathedral on Sunday, February 13, protesting against Catholic Church teaching on the immorality of homosexual genital relations and opposition to so called 'gay marriage.' These are deeply felt issues, because they speak to the personal identity of some and to the religious beliefs of others. No matter the issue, Catholics should be able to worship in peace, without fear of harassment. An open display of prejudice against the Catholic Church because of resentment of Church teachings prejudices civil discourse in our society.”

Watch the news report on the protest, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Chicago Cardinal Condemns 'Open Display of Prejudice' as Activists Protest Catholic Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage" »

Gay Chicago Activists Target Catholic Church in Valentine's Protest


Chicago activist Andy Thayer and approximately 100 supporters from the Gay Liberation Network protested outside the Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago on Sunday, the Chicago Tribune reports:

Gay612  "The protesters waved rainbow flags and shouted slogans like, 'Hey, hey, ho, ho, homophobia has got to go!' and, 'Holy Name, holy shame!' It wasn't the first time gay-rights activists have protested on Valentine's Day as a chance to champion equal rights and target the Catholic Church. Last year, the Gay Liberation Network helped organize a march from the city building in which marriage licenses are issued to Holy Name to show support for gay marriage, said Andy Thayer, the group's co-founder. 'We want to drag the church's bigotry out of the closet,' said Thayer, 49. Protester Andrew Ciscel, of Chicago, said Valentine's Day should be viewed as Freedom to Marry Day. He passed out pamphlets calling on members of the Catholic community to withhold their weekly tithe, confront their priest and criticize the 'rigid definition of families and the patriarchal posture of the church.'"  

(image via chicago breaking news, WLS)

Activists to Picket Obama at Human Rights Campaign Dinner

Activist Andy Thayer of Chicago's Gay Liberation Network is planning a picket of Saturday night's Human Rights Campaign dinner at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, at which President Obama is scheduled to give a keynote address.

Thayer Said Thayer in a press release: “The time for talking is over. This President promised to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), he promised to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, he promised to pass the pro-LGBT Employment Non-Discrimination Act and a whole host of other things.  Instead, he’s delivered on nothing while embracing anti-gay bigots Rick Warren and Donnie McClurkin.  The last thing we need is more flowery rhetoric in front of rich, self-effacing gays and lesbians dressed up like penguins.”

Added Queer Liberaction co-founder Blake Wilkenson, whose group is co-sponsoring the picket: "The Obama administration has likened LGBT relationships to incest and bestiality. He cited his ‘Christian beliefs’ for the reason why he now opposes equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.  He refuses issue a stop-loss order to prevent purges of lesbian and gay soldiers. If we are going to get real change out of this White House, we need to make demands of this President.  As the great anti-slavery activist Frederick Douglass put it, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand.’”

More at LGBT POV.


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