Equality Illinois Denounces Meeks’ Confirmation
SPRINGFIELD (March 19, 2015) – Equality Illinois today denounced Rev. James Meeks’ confirmation as Chair of the Illinois State Board of Education, expressing frustration at his refusal to repudiate his discriminatory positions prior to his confirmation by the Illinois Senate.
Meeks has a long record of making hateful public comments about the LGBT community, and his active attempts to deny our families the freedom to marry are well known, as are his demeaning comments about women and members of the Latino, Asian and Jewish communities.
“We had hoped and expected Rev. Meeks to use the more than two months since his appointment to reflect on and make amends with the LGBT community and other groups for his hurtful and destructive actions,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy organization representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans.
“Instead, we’ve seen nothing tangible from him. We are obligated by our responsibility to LGBT Illinoisans, the other groups whom he offended and our allies to denounce his statements and his unwillingness and refusal to recognize them for the hate language that they are.
“Without a pledge from Meeks that he would abide by the state’s nondiscrimination and anti-bullying laws or a commitment to affirmatively challenge discriminatory actions in the schools, we are not assured that he will look out for all of Illinois’ school children,” Cherkasov said. “It is now up to the Rauner Administration, the General Assembly and the other members of the State Board of Education to ensure that Meeks’ wrong-headed views about the diversity of Illinois do not seep into education policy. Equality Illinois and our partners will remain vigilant, and we will work with our allies to ensure equal treatment for all Illinoisans.”