The mission of Equality Illinois is to secure, protect and defend equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Illinois. Since we were founded in 1991, almost every year has seen progress on this ongoing goal. Click on the issues here to learn about our rights and where the promise of “liberty and justice for all” falls short. The specific issues also include resources to help you guarantee that your rights are honored.
Ending discrimination against LGBT individuals was the driving force behind the creation of Equality Illinois. With some success at the state level, the battle continues in Illinois and the U.S. Congress.
Armed Forces & Veterans
The end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” coupled with the downfall of “Defense of Marriage Act” prohibitions against federal recognition of same-sex marriages, now allow military gay and lesbian couples to be open about who they are and whom they love.
State law protects LGBT employees from discrimination. Congress is considering the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Learn how to create a fair workplace and protect rights.
The Faith and Freedom Initiative is part of the Equality Illinois ongoing mission to identify welcoming congregations; build stronger relationships with communities of faith who share our interest in issues of justice and fairness and counter the persistent misconception that the majority of faith communities oppose equality for LGBTQ people.
Hate Crimes & Violence
Hate crimes occur when a crime victim is intentionally selected because of her or his identity. Federal and Illinois laws include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.
Health & Medical Care
In addition to regular wellness, LGBT individuals have a number of specific health concerns that are more prevalent than non-LGBT communities. Also, HIV/AIDS remains a major problem nationally and in Illinois.
Housing & Public Accommodations
Everyone is entitled to equal access to a safe and secure home and all public accommodations.
Immigration & Citizenship
With the federal recognition given all married couples by the lifting of Defense of Marriage Act restrictions, gay and lesbian married couples can now sponsor a non-citizen spouse for permanent residency, or a “green card.” Being HIV- positive is no longer an automatic ground for inadmissibility for travel or immigration.
Marriages & Civil Unions
Marriage is about love, commitment, and family. Under the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, marriage equality comes to Illinois on June 1, 2014. Learn the facts about the freedom to marry, including how to convert civil unions into marriages.
State law in Illinois and federal policies strive to make our schools safe for all students, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender-related identity or expression. Still, parents, the school community and government create the tone and share the responsibility for actively protecting all students and creating a safe learning environment.
LGBT seniors face a number of issues specific to their identity, including a housing shortage and a fear of rejection by health care providers, nursing homes and family. But there are resources to help.
It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations in Illinois. Under state and federal law, a crime based on gender identity is considered to be a hate crime.