In the March EQIL Insider Scoop:

Marriage and Elections
License to Wed
Marching Down the Aisle
Voter Information
Election 2014
Capitol News
Let’s Do Brunch
First Friday
A Spectacular Gala
What the Future Holds


MARRIAGE AND ELECTIONS = The decision in the 2014 elections and the decision to get married don’t seem to have a lot in common. But this year in Illinois, they do.

Only because of the hard work we did together in elections past are we now seeing the right of all loving couples to get married recognized in Illinois. Now, as couples are being allowed to marry in Cook and Champaign counties, and this coming week in McLean County and soon in the rest of the state, we also have the opportunity and responsibility to defend our victories at the ballot box in the March 18 Illinois primary.



Cook County Clerk David Orr issues the first wedding license under the court order to Charlie Gurion (center) and David Wilk

LICENSE TO WED = When a federal judge ordered Cook County to begin issuing marriage licenses onFeb. 21, Equality Illinois immediately began working to expand the effectiveness of the order throughout Illinois.

Within days two Central Illinois counties stepped up.

Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten agreed with the judge’s reasoning that denying a marriage license to same-sex couples was unconstitutional.

And McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael said she is preparing to begin issuing the licenses this coming week.






BEFORE MARCHING DOWN THE AISLE = There are a lot of questions about the marriage law and where and how to get a license. Click on these resources for help:

The Equality Illinois guide Marriage Rights in Illinois
The Cook County Clerk’s Office
The Champaign County Clerk’s Office
The McLean County Clerk’s Office



VOTER INFORMATION = The important primary election coming on March 18 includes decisions that could help or hurt the advancement of LGBT issues and the political leaders most likely to champion them in the halls of Congress and in the Illinois State Capitol, all the way down to our local officials.

There are several ways to meet your responsibility to vote.Early Voting gets underway this Monday, March 3 in scores of locations throughout the state. To find an Early Voting place near you, click HERE.

Vote by Mail, also known as absentee voting, is also available to anyone. Get information for your local jurisdiction to Vote by Mail HERE.

Finally, you can join the millions of people who believe there is nothing better than joining their fellow citizens in line on Election Day to cast a ballot. Polling places can change from election to election. Check out your polling place location HERE.



ELECTION 2014 = Voters in the Illinois primary election will make important decisions in the races for governor and other statewide offices as well as in state legislative districts.

The Equality Illinois Political Action Committee, an affiliate of Equality Illinois, has made its endorsements in these contests.

Read the endorsements from the Equality Illinois PAC HERE.



EQIL CEO Bernard Cherkasov (center) confers in the Illinois Capitol last month with veteran Springfield lobbyists, Andrew Raucci (l) and our Dave Sullivan (r).

CAPITOL NEWS = Our dual track strategy of working through the courts and the legislature on marriage equality has repeatedly paid off.

Given the headwind against him from the court ruling and public support for the freedom to marry, the sponsor of a legislative effort to repeal the new Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act decided not to pursue the measure in the General Assembly.

Still, our legislative agenda remains full. Another bill that seeks to gut the new marriage law with more exemptions remains in the docket, and we are keeping a close eye on it.

Equality Illinois is working on a number of bills in the legislature, including a measure that seeks to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for youths. Such therapies pretend to supposedly “cure” people of being gay, but have actually proven to be very harmful and are actively opposed by leading mental health and medial professional groups.

The bill is sponsored by state Rep. Kelly Cassidy in the House and state Sen. William Delgado in the Senate. EQIL CEO Bernard Cherkasov says about it, “This bill would ensure that the most vulnerable individuals, those already struggling in the face of homophobia and transphobia, are not targeted and subjected to a practice that medical practitioners deem harmful and inappropriate.”

Equality Illinois is also actively supporting a bill that would make “revenge porn” a crime because such activities represent a form of online bullying and also because the malicious postings can single out LGBT individuals for blackmail or harassment related to their identity.



 Let’s Do Brunch with Equality Illinois and Platinum Events at a wedding registry party in Bloomingdale’s Home Store in Chicago’s River North.

As you brunch, meet some of Chicago’s top wedding vendors, plus much more.

For more information and to say “I Do” to this not-to-be missed afternoon, clickhere.



FIRST FRIDAY = Join the Equality Illinois PAC on Friday, March 7 for the popular and fun monthly social! It’s a great way to celebrate the big news that same-sex couples in Cook and Champaign counties can now marry.

A great crowd always joins us for First Friday, so please come by for the fun, cocktails, musicals, and door prize drawings. For a $10 donation at the door to the Equality Illinois PAC, you receive two drink tickets and a ticket to be entered in our door prize drawing. Friday, March 7, 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,, 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.


The Equality Illinois 2014 Gala filled the Hilton Chicago’s International Ballroom to capacity as a record crowd of 1,400 celebrants including Gov. Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and scores of other dignitaries joined Gala Chair Jennifer Pritzker in toasting the passage of marriage equality. The Equality Illinois Freedom Award was given to renowned Chicago filmmaker Lana Wachowski, The Chicago Urban League, and Sen. Kirk. Bloomington, IL-based State Farm earned the Business Leadership Award.

Relive the fun and exciting evening with videos of the program and hundreds of pictures (available for purchase) of the guests, the celebs and the dancing!




WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS = Calendar of Upcoming Events

MARCH 2014
7 MARCH – First Friday – 6-8 pm @ Sidetrack (3349 N. Halsted, Chicago)
9 MARCH – Let’s Do Brunch Marriage Registry Party – 12-3 pm @ Bloomingdale’s Home Store (600 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago)
10 MARCH – Joliet Marriage Forum – 6-7 pm @Joliet Junior College (1215 Houbolt Rd., Joliet) –

APRIL 2014
11 APRIL – First Friday – 6-8 pm @ Sidetrack (3349 N. Halsted, Chicago)

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 or call 773-477-7173.

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

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

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