In the January EQIL Insider Scoop:

Marriage Report
EQIL Gala 2014 Tickets
Col. Pritzker is Gala Chair
Marriage Forums Resume
First Friday

What the Future Holds
EQIL in the News
-Transgender at Work
-Report on Marriage Forum
-EQIL Lobbyists Recognized
-Crain’s Covers Col. Pritzker
New Year’s Celebration

MARRIAGE REPORT = Gay and lesbian couples have been waiting years, some for many decades, for the right to marry in Illinois. With the June 1 effective date of the new Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act still being five months away, for some couples with life-threatening illnesses it might as well be a century away.

That is why the U.S. District Court last month ordered that all couples who face the dilemma of one partner’s terminal illness can get married now if a doctor signs an affidavit attesting to the medical condition. The suit was filed by Lambda Legal and ACLU of Illinois, Equality Illinois’ partners in the fight for marriage equality.  “This is a bittersweet way to start celebrating marriage equality in Illinois, yet it really hits home why the law was needed and why it was so urgent,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. “Loving couples deserve to have their commitment recognized as marriage, and they need the legal and financial protections that only marriage provides.”

The 2014 Equality Illinois Gala is just over one month away, and the community’s desire to join in the celebration of the marriage victory is palpable by the rapid pace of ticket sales. Please act now and be sure you are part of this not-to-miss event.

Tickets are now on sale for the biggest and most glamorous formal LGBT event in the Midwest
Plan now to attend the Equality Illiniois 2014 Gala in the Hilton Chicago
Learn more about the always popular silent auction and the program book
Go to www.eqil.org/Gala2/gala2.html for all the information.

We are proud to announce that this year’s gala chair is Colonel (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired), a former soldier, an entrepreneur and investor, an adventurer and philanthropist, and a pioneer. Col. Pritzker’s contributions to the military and veterans and to causes such as Equality Illinois have been profound and impactful.

A native Chicagoan, Col. Pritzker has always generously given of herself to the city, the state and the nation, including to causes that are particularly important to LGBT Illinoisans such as the campaign for the freedom to marry. She is a courageous role model who, as a transgender woman, has committed herself to continued service.

Pritzker is President and Chief Executive Officer of Tawani Enterprises, Inc., President of the Tawani Foundation, and Founder and Chair of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library. She serves as Chair of the Board for Squadron Capital, LLC and is involved in a number of other partnerships. Her military career began with enlistment in the United States Army in 1974, and she retired in March, 2001 as a Lieutenant Colonel. Upon retirement from the Illinois National Guard, Pritzker was promoted to the Honorary Rank of Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard. In addition to business activities and a military career, Pritzker is extensively involved in philanthropic work, and she also participated in four expeditions to Antarctica and the South Pole between 2000 and 2008.

We are so thrilled that Col. Pritzker has agreed to chair the largest LGBT gala in the Midwest. Her work and her life exemplify the best tradition of being a ‘citizen soldier,’ a role that is a major focus of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library that she founded a decade ago.


Director of Field Operations Patty Dillon addresses a recent marriage forum at Countryside Church in Palatine

MARRIAGE FORUMS RESUME = After a short break for the holidays, our Equality Illinois Marriage Forums resume this month and will continue as long as there is a demand from groups around the state to learn more about the freedom to marry. As with the previous ten forums, we’ll discuss the legal benefits of marriages, how to apply for a license and how to convert a civil union into a marriage, as well as answer your questions. If you would like to schedule an Equality Illinois speaker, please email Patty Dillon, Director of Field Operations, or call at 773-477-7173.

For more information and recommended registration for the upcoming EQIL Marriage Forums, please click:

Waukegan – Wed, Jan 8 – http://tinyurl.com/waukegan-forum
Bloomington – Normal – Tues, Jan 14 – 
Chicago (Downtown) – Tues, Jan 14 – 
Peoria – Wed, Jan 15 – 
Joliet – Mon, March 10 – 

FIRST FRIDAY = The first First Friday of 2014, tonight, Friday, Jan. 3, includes a preview of the upcoming 2014 Equality Illinois Gala. Come learn more about the biggest formal LGBT event in the Midwest and maybe win a pair of tickets for the Feb. 8 gala at the Hilton Chicago and the Feb. 7 VIP Preview.

A big crowd always joins us for First Friday, so please come by for the fun, cocktails, and prize drawings. For a $10 donation to the Equality Illinois PAC, you receive two drink tickets and a ticket for a door prize drawing.Friday, January 3, 6–8pm @ Sidetrack, 3349 North Halsted Street in Chicago (21+ with ID).

Contributions support Equality Illinois PAC. Paid for by Equality Illinois PAC. Contributions are not tax deductible. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s official website, elections.il.gov, or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois. State law requires that we report the occupation and name of the employer of any individual who contributes over $500.00.

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS = Calendar of Upcoming Events

3 JANUARY – First Friday – 6 pm @ Sidetrack (3349 N. Halsted St., Chicago)
8 JANUARY – Marriage Forum in Waukegan – 
14 JANUARY – Marriage Forum in Bloomington-Normal – http://tinyurl.com/bloomington-forum
14 JANUARY – Marriage Forum in Chicago (Downtown) – http://tinyurl.com/downtown-forum
15 JANUARY – Marriage Forum in Peoria – http://tinyurl.com/peoria-forum

8 FEBRUARY  – Equality Illinois 2014 Gala – 6pm-Midnight @ Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago)


Equality Illinois Board Member Christina Kahrl (pictured left), a writer and editor forESPN.COM, shared the challenges of coming out as transgender on the job in a recent talk to advertising professionals. She said she viewed the occasion as a “teaching moment.” As reported in Windy City Times, Kahrl said, “One of the greatest crises for transgender people in general is employment.” READ MORE

The Equality Illinois Marriage Forum in Carbondale addressed by EQIL CEO Bernard Cherkasov, was covered in The Southern Illinoisan. Cherkasov said even though the LGBT community will legally be able to get married in June, the fight is not over. “There is still so much work in our journey to full equality,” Cherkasov said. “Children still go to school and are bullied because of who they are or how they look. We have to make sure school is a place where people go to learn and not be harassed.” READ MORE

Equality Illinois’ bipartisan lobbying team in Springfield was recognized for its performance during the landmark year that included passage of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, according to the Capitol Fax blog. Dave Sullivan earned recognition as Best Contract Lobbyist. READ MORE  And Mike Pollak was runner up for Best Do-Gooder Lobbyist. READ MORE.

The announcement of Col. Pritzker as the chair of the Equality Illinois 2014 Gala was covered in many publications, including Crain’s Chicago Business. “The annual event, which draws high-profile business and political officials, is likely to be especially well-attended as Equality Illinois supporters continue to celebrate passage last month of the marriage equality law that allows same-sex couples to marry,” columnist Shia Kapos wrote in Crain’s. READ MORE

The New Year was fabulously welcomed at Sidetrack,
in the annual benefit for Equality Illinois.
See more pictures celebrating the arrival of 2014.

If you would like an Equality Illinois speaker at your event at work, a local civic organization, on campus, a union meeting, your religious group, a home EQIL fundraiser, or wherever, please contact us at info@eqil.org or call773-477-7173.

Stay informed of LGBT-equality matters by visiting us at www.eqil.org.  Also, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  

We can only succeed in our mission if you stand with us, so please make a financial contribution today.


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