Gays and lesbians in Chicago gathered
Tuesday in the Lakeview neighborhood to protest the California
Supreme Court's decision to uphold a state referendum banning
"Today is a sad day in our
history," said Modesto Tico Valle, Center on Halsted Executive
Director. "More than ever, we must harness our power as a
community and reunite in our fight for human rights."
Several hundred braved the rain and
cooler temperatures to rally in front of the Center on Halsted,
Chicago's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community center,
located at Halsted St. and Waveland.
After a short rally that included
speakers from the Gay Liberation Network, the crowd marched south on
Halsted through Boystown to Fullerton Avenue. Carrying a mix of
rainbow flags, protest signs and umbrellas the protestors chanted
"they say Prop 8, we say stop hate."
Tuesday's protest rally was part of a
larger event known as The Day of Decision, organized by veteran gay
activists Robin Tyler and Andy Thayer, co-founder of Chicago's Gay
Over 100 cities nationwide participated
in Day of Decision activities. Other Illinois cities hosting actions
include Champaign/Urbana, Peoria and Springfield.
In San Francisco, nearly 175 people
were arrested in peaceful protests. Here in Chicago, police reported
The court's 6-1 decision upholds the
voter-approved ban on new same-sex marriages in the Golden State, but
lets the estimated 18,000 existing marriages stand.
The justices ruled on a lawsuit seeking
to invalidate the November results of a referendum that placed a gay
marriage ban in the California Constitution.
Proposition 8 effectively overturned
the high court's 4 to 3 decision that legalized gay marriage last May
and put an end to the thousands of gay and lesbian marriages that
took place during the June-to-November "summer of love"
when gay marriage was legal.
"The court's decision today is in
stark contrast to the most recent movements throughout our country,
like Iowa," added Valle.
While the decision was disappointing
for gay rights advocates, there was some good news today in Illinois.
A House committee approved a bill by a 4-2 vote to legalize civil
unions in Illinois and grant same-sex couples many of the same rights
as married couples.
The bill is sponsored by State Rep.
Greg Harris (D-Chicago).
Copyright 2009, Chicago