GLN Joins Counter-Protest To Defend LGBT Legal Equality
Right Wingnuts Dogged From St Peter's Church on West Madison to State of Illinois Building
GLN permalink 6-4-2011
Members of Gay Liberation Network were front and center in the May 27 protest against right-wingers who oppose not only the Illinois Civil Unions Act but also are gearing up once more to force the Illinois Legislature to codify antigay hatred into the state's constitution.
The two groups squared off in front of St Peter's Catholic Church on West Madison Street, then snaked through the Loop on opposite sides of the street until they faced off again at the State of Illinois Building where the haters held their rally. The pro-gay protest could be heard by the bigots and by the hundreds of people walking by the offices of city, county and state government.
Those defending LGBT equality numbered about 40 while the antiabortion and antigay zealots, organized by Americans For Life, fielded about 100. It is important to note that the bigots were apparently well-funded, spending money on buses to transport people from several area churches, and spent several weeks building their event thru the Internet and radio promotions. The pro-gay counter-protest was put together in about one week. Thus, the turn out for bigotry and lies was much less than might have been expected while our side's turn-out was impressive given Friday was a workday and also the beginning of a holiday weekend. A good sign, but not a reason for complacency.
In addition to GLN, groups present included Join the Impact, Chicago; Chicago ANSWER, and Equality Illinois. Several pro-gay religious groups were also represented, including the Rainbow Sash Movement of pro-gay Catholics.
Notably absent from the gay opponents were people of color, except for several speakers, one of whom talked about the "family values" supposedly undermined by marriage equality. His words could have been used by white supremacists defending bans on interracial marriage in the 1960s.
Nor did they stop with attacks upon gays and homosexuality. Women exercising abortion rights and immigrants also came in for their share of bashing.
Although our chants were directed at the bigots, our real audience were the passer-bys on the sidewalk, several of whom took the time to proudly stand with us under our flags; some even participated in our chants. Some drivers gave us the "thumbs up" sign of solidarity.
Our counter-protest for equality and justice was an important public display in the streets of the anger and determination that LGBTs and our allies need to project if we are to be credible and persuasive in opposition to the lies and hatred of our opponents---the same lies that led to defeats for our cause in California and Maine. It is necessary, in other words, that we tar our enemies with the brush of bigotry right from the start and that we oppose them whenever they raise the ugly spectre of discrimination and hate.