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Hundreds Participate in ‘Day Without a Gay’ Rally

Protesters call for same-sex marriage outside City Hall

By Matt Bartosik - NBC Chicago News - LINK

Updated 8:27 AM CST, Thu, Dec 11, 2008

AFP/Getty Images

Picketers marched outside the Cook County Building as part of 'Day WIthout a Gay', in response to California's ban on same-sex marriage.

Yesterday, same-sex marriage advocates encouraged people to "call in gay" in order to make a visible example of gays' and lesbians' contribution to society. In addition, several demonstrators marched outside the Cook County Building, carrying rainbow flags and handmade signs.

Reports vary on how many attended the rally, one of several across the country in reaction to California's Prop 8, a voter-approved state ban on same-sex marriage. Anywhere from 100 to 200 picketers were led by Gay Liberation Network founder Andy Thayer as they protested outside City Hall.

After marching outside, the crowd flooded the county clerk's office. Several couples attempted to apply for marriage licenses, but they were turned away. Currently, Illinois law only permits marriage between one man and one woman.

"This country was based on religious freedom, safety from persecution of all kinds ... and they're taking all those rights from us," Aaron Palmer, who attempted to obtain a marriage license with his boyfriend Willie Steele, told the Chicago Tribune.

The protest also attracted the support of straight allies like Columbia College student Tiffany Young, whose boyfriend's father is gay.

"It hurts us knowing that I can get married to my boyfriend at any moment, [but] his father ... is unable to marry his partner," Young said.

Copyright NBC Local Media / NBC Chicago


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