Archive for the ‘Breaking News in Illinois’ Category

 

Illinois LGBTQ Civil Rights Protections Remain Strong

June 4, 2018

The Illinois Human Rights Act protects many people—including LGBTQ people—from discrimination in places of public accommodations. The decision issued in Masterpiece Cakeshop today by the U.S. Supreme Court does not limit the protections in our Human Rights Act.

However, the Court missed an opportunity to vociferously defend the rights of LGBTQ Americans to be free from discrimination when participating in public commerce.

Equality Illinois, the statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, calls on the leaders in Illinois to reaffirm our state’s commitment to enforce our anti-discrimination law.

 

Rally Today in Support of Illinois Human Rights Law

June 4, 2018

Monday at 5:30pm in Chicago’s Federal Plaza, Dearborn and Adams streets, join a community rally in reaction to the Supreme Court ruling allowing a Colorado baker to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

We will call on Illinois businesses and the state to understand there is no change to the Illinois Human Rights Act that requires LGBTQ and other protected people to be served without discrimination.

 

On to the fall

June 1, 2018

A message from Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson:

Yesterday marked the end of the spring session for the General Assembly in Springfield. While there is much to celebrate, we leave the spring session disappointed that the Inclusive Curriculum Bill to include the teaching of LGBTQ people in U.S. history is not yet headed to the Governor’s desk. State Rep. Anna Moeller, the bill’s fearless sponsor in the House, decided to move the floor vote to the fall to allow her more time to secure the necessary votes to guarantee passage.

Equality Illinois remains committed to working with her and our dozens of supporters in the House to secure the 60 votes needed to send this bill to the Governor’s desk in the fall.

We are grateful for the hard work of Rep. Moeller, the Senate sponsor Sen. Heather Steans, and our coalition members to advance this measure, an initiative of Equality Illinois, The Legacy Project, and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.

 

Tell Illinois House: Ratify ERA

May 16, 2018

Take Action Today: The Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing all people equal treatment under the law regardless of their sex, is now in the Illinois House, with a vote on ratification hopefully taken before the May 31 adjournment.

Act now to tell your state representative to vote YES.

In a committee hearing Wednesday morning, the amendment passed on a party line vote of seven Democrats voting “yes” and five Republicans voting “no.” Opponents continue to deploy specious arguments such as that that it would mandate co-ed prisons and bathrooms.

The right wing is working overtime to try to stop ERA from being added to the Constitution. You must tell the Illinois House it can no longer delay ratifying ERA.

 


Illinois Senate Passes LGBTQ Curriculum Bill

May 2, 2018


 
Breaking News: On a bipartisan 34-18 roll call, the Illinois Senate passed the Inclusive Curriculum Bill on Wednesday, sending the measure calling for the inclusion of historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people to the state House.

Now that it has passed the Senate, it is important to tell you state representative to vote for SB 3249, which will have a positive effect on LGBTQ students’ self-image and make their peers more accepting. Click HERE to send a message.

Sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago, the bill is an initiative of Equality Illinois, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, and The Legacy Project and is supported by the Illinois State Board of Education and a broad coalition of statewide and local educational, civil rights, health, and civic organizations. The House sponsor is state Rep. Anna Moeller of Elgin.

 

It’s time, Illinois: Ratify the Equal Rights Amemdment

April 9, 2018

As citizen advocates plan to engage legislators on Tuesday for ERA Lobby Day, Equality Illinois proudly supports the federal Equal Rights Amendment and urges state legislators to promptly ratify it.

It’s beyond time for Illinois to join the 36 other states that have ratified the amendment and for it to become part of the U.S. Constitution. The Illinois Constitution already prohibits discrimination in this state on the basis of sex, and it is high-time that the governing charter of the nation also includes such protections. The federal ERA would advance justice across the country for female-identified individuals, especially in those states that do not have state-level constitutional or statutory protections against discrimination on the basis of sex. Additionally, the ERA would protect the women from Illinois who travel or work in states that do not have such protections.

Ratifying the ERA upholds and extends the most cherished values of the Land of Lincoln: justice, fairness, equality of opportunity, and the freedom to be yourself without burden.

READ MORE

 

Inclusive Curriculum Bill Introduced to Teach LGBTQ History

February 16, 2018

The Illinois Inclusive Curriculum Bill is introduced in the state legislature, an initiative of Equality Illinois and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago and state Rep. Anna Moeller, of Elgin, so students will learn about the significant historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people.

Some examples: The nation’s first gay rights organization, the Society for Human Rights, was formed in 1924 in Chicago. Illinoisan Jane Addams, the mother of social work, founder of the Hull House, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, was in a committed 40-year relationship with her partner, Mary Rozet Smith. The organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, was a gay man. And Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space, was a lesbian.

The Illinois School Code already ensures inclusion in history curriculum of the contributions and experiences of other historically marginalized communities, including of people of color, women, immigrant communities, and people with disabilities, so the Illinois Inclusive Curriculum Bill is consistent with current state law and our shared Illinois values of inclusion and respect.

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Three New Laws Advance LGBTQ Equality in 2018

January 1, 2018

Three pro-LGBTQ equality laws that were legislative priorities for Equality Illinois go into effect with the new year. As of Jan. 1, 2018, laws that ban the anti-LGBTQ panic defense, modernize birth certificate changes, and encourage LGBTQ public leadership opportunities will help build a better Illinois.

“Across the country, we have seen attacks on the LGBTQ community increase in number and fervor,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization. “But in Illinois in 2017, we demonstrated that we can fight back and win thanks to the hard work of LGBTQ Illinoisans and our allies and the support of leaders in the Statehouse.

But challenges remain and our work continues in 2018.

READ MORE

 


EI Advisory Board Member Appointed to State Panel

November 20, 2017

Dr. Kathleen Robbins, a member of the Equality Illinois Community Advisory Board, has been appointed to the Illinois Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention.

The appointment, made by Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady, is recognition of the prevalence and impact of sexual violence on transgender people.

Kathleen is an excellent addition to the task force. She has significant life experiences, from service in the U.S. Air Force, the business sector, and the non-profit space.

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Reject the Trump Administration License to Discriminate

October 6, 2017

TAKE ACTION!!! Equality Illinois stands in firm opposition to the guidance document issued today by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that would allow discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Take action here to oppose the Trump administration anti-LGBTQ policy: tinyurl.com/RejectLicenseToDiscriminate.

Using all the tools at our disposal, we will forcefully respond and defend the civil rights of LGBTQ people, who will face discrimination because of this license to discriminate.
We urge you to call on U.S. Senators Durbin and Duckworth and your member of Congress to challenge this guidance and affirm Illinois values of inclusion, justice, and equality.

 

Breaking News: Gov. Rauner Signs Bill Protecting Reproductive Rights

September 28, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Governor Bruce Rauner protects reproductive rights of Illinois women and signs House Bill 40.

Thank you, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, ACLU of Illinois, Personal PAC, and countless advocates across Illinois for your leadership in ensuring access to reproductive healthcare for all women in Illinois, especially the bill’s sponsors state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz and state Sen. Heather Steans.

Equality Illinois supported HB 40.

 

Gov. Rauner Meets with LGBTQ and Allied Leaders

September 26, 2017

Photo courtesy C. Grost Photography

LGBTQ and allied groups met with Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday morning to discuss challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Illinoisans that might find remedy in actions by the state.

The issues discussed during the meeting at Equality Illinois included healthcare and human services, youth and schools, housing, immigration, LGBTQ cultural competency of state-funded programs, and the protection and promotion of civil rights.

The governor also presented ceremonial copies of two bills he signed this summer that were part of the 2017 Equality Illinois legislative agenda–bills that modernize the birth certificate law for transgender Illinoisans needing to correct their gender marker and ban the anti-LGBTQ panic defense in murder cases. He also signed this year a bill to build LGBTQ representation on state boards and commissions.

READ MORE ABOUT THE MEETING

 


LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor

September 7, 2017

REGISTER TO ATTEND

 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans will have an opportunity to hear directly from the Democratic candidates for governor about the issues that impact our lives at a candidate forum in Chicago on Wednesday, December 6, a coalition of organizations that serve and advocate for LGBTQ Illinoisans announced Thursday.

You can register to attend the forum and see the candidates in person.

The “Illinois LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor” is organized by Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA), the Equality Illinois Institute, and Pride Action Tank. The forum will take place 6-8 p.m. at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago’s South Loop. The forum organizers also plan to broadcast the event live through social media platforms so LGBTQ organizations and people across the state can watch it.

As of today, the announced Democratic candidates who have confirmed their participation are State Sen. Daniel Biss, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar,  businessman J.B. Pritzker, and businessman Chris Kennedy.

REGISTER

 

Equality Illinois Stands with the Dreamers

September 5, 2017

Equality Illinois stands with the Dreamers. Immigrants are part of the fabric of America. Here we believe in tolerance, inclusion, liberty, and fairness. President Trump’s policy today is an absolute betrayal of American values.

Click HERE to urge your member of Congress to support the Dream Act and reject Trump’s anti-DACA policy.

The president’s policy is cruel and mean-spirited. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, there are over 75,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Dreamers in the United States. Of those, over 36,000 have participated in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Ending DACA is very much a life and death decision for these LGBT Dreamers. They not only face terrifying expulsion from the only country they know as home but also discrimination and violence after deportation because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is not who we are as a country or a state.

As a welcoming state that is the home of more than 40,000 DACA participants, Illinois’ elected officials must step up now and defend our Dreamers and our values. Thank you to our U.S. Senator Dick Durbin for his longtime leadership to protect Dreamers and sponsorship of the Dream Act.

We call on Governor Bruce Rauner and the Illinois congressional delegation to condemn the president’s policy publicly, vigorously, and without equivocation. Our members of Congress should move forward quickly on passing the Dream Act of 2017, and Governor Rauner should forcefully support that initiative. That’s how you defend our values in the Land of Lincoln.

TAKE ACTION

 

Birth Certificate Bill Signed

August 25, 2017

Legislative sponsors, Equality Illinois, and ACLU of Illinois are celebrating the signing by Governor Bruce Rauner of House Bill 1785, modernizing the Illinois Vital Records Act and allowing transgender and intersex individuals to change the gender marker on their birth certificates without undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

Thank you to Gov. Rauner and the sponsors state Senator Toi Hutchinson and state Rep. Greg Harris.

READ MORE

 

LGBTQ Public Service Bill Signed

August 21, 2017

At a time when federal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans are being rolled back at the federal level, a bill to encourage public service by LGBTQ Illinoisans has been signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The LGBTQ Public Service Bill is an initiative of Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer lllinoisans.

“Equality Illinois believes that when LGBTQ people are visible, we are powerful. The LGBTQ Public Service Bill will contribute to a leadership path for LGBTQ individuals who want to engage in public service and build a better Illinois. In turn, those officials can share our experiences and stories as LGBTQ people. That helps when we work to advance policies that are inclusive, affirming, and fair,” Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, said Monday.

READ MORE

 


Bill to help transgender Illinoisans get correct birth certificates goes to governor

May 31, 2017

A measure to modernize Illinois law allowing people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate, helping transgender Illinoisans live their true lives, House Bill 1785, passed the Senate Wednesday night 32-22.

Having previously passed in the House, the bill now goes to Gov. Rauner for his signature, and we ask him to act promptly. We thank the sponsors Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Toi Hutchinson.

The bill was one of Equality Illinois legislative priorities this session, and we worked in coalition on this measure with organizations including ACLU of Illinois.

 

Legislature Bans LGBTQ Panic Defense

May 31, 2017

JUST NOW – Victory on a ban on LGBTQ Panic Defense!

The Illinois General Assembly completed action Wednesday on a bill that prohibits a defendant from using the sexual orientation or gender identity of the victim as a defense against a murder charge. Prohibiting the use of the so-called panic defense was an initiative of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization.

A bipartisan vote of 104-0 on Senate Bill 1761 in the Illinois House on Wednesday followed unanimous 41-0 Senate approval of the legislation earlier this month. The bill’s sponsors were State Sen. Daniel Biss and State Rep. Litesa E. Wallace.

Now we call on Gov. Rauner to sign the bill.

 

House passes birth certificate bill; urge your senator to act

May 25, 2017

The Illinois House voted Thursday afternoon to modernize the state’s birth certificate law to help transgender Illinoisans, sending the bill to the Illinois Senate.

>>>Call to Action: With less than a week until the legislature’s scheduled adjournment, your state senator needs to hear from you TODAY. Click here to send your senator a message of support for the bill, HB 1785: http://tinyurl.com/PassHB1785.

HB 1785, one of Equality Illinois’ legislative priorities this session, ensures that transgender Illinoisans can obtain correct birth certificates that match their gender identity without having to first undergo expensive or unnecessary surgery. Thank you to Rep. Greg Harris for artfully leading action on the bill in the House.

CONTACT YOUR SENATOR

 

LGBTQ Public Service Bill Sent to Governor

May 24, 2017

Our LGBTQ Public Service Bill passed the Illinois House on a bipartisan 95-12 vote Wednesday afternoon. The next step is the Governor’s Desk, and we are calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the measure.

Thank you to state Rep. Will Guzzardi and state Sen. Scott Bennett for their leadership.

The legislation (SB 1670), one of Equality Illinois’ priorities during this session of the General Assembly, allows a person to voluntarily self-identify as LGBTQ when they apply for a spot on a state board or commission. Applicants already self-identify their ethnicity, gender, and disability status. The new data will be included in an existing annual report compiled by the Governor’s Office.

SB 1670 is all about data and leadership. The bill helps policymakers gather the necessary information to know whether Illinoisans of all backgrounds are inspired to lend their strengths and talents to the service of our state.

 


LGBTQ Public Service Bill Advances

April 27, 2017

On a strong bipartisan roll call, the Illinois Senate voted 46-4 on Thusday to help increase LGBTQ representation on a myriad of state boards and commissions. The measure now goes to the House.

Senate Bill 1670 is an Equality Illinois initiative and sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). It is designed to encourage the development of LGBTQ Illinoisans for public service by allowing individuals applying to state boards and commissions to voluntarily self-identify as LGBTQ.

Our initiative will further ensure that gubernatorial appointees reflect the great diversity of Illinois. It will also contribute to a leadership path for LGBTQ individuals who want to engage in public service.

Read more about this bill and the Equality Illinois legislative agenda

 

U.S. Court Protects Workers Regardless of Their Sexual Orientation

April 4, 2017

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made the right decision Tuesday that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in matters of employment regardless of the worker’s sexual orientation.

In Illinois, we know the power of such protections because our Human Rights Act already prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

However, there is more work to be done. In spite of the ruling today by the federal court, it is still legal in most states to fire a person for their sexual orientation and gender identity.

READ MORE

 

House Committee Passes Birth Certificate Bill

March 15, 2017

The bill to modernize the Illinois birth certificate law passed the Illinois House Human Services Committee Wednesday morning by a 7-4 vote.

Thank you to Rep. Greg Harris, and Equality Illinois’ coalition partners the ACLU of Illinois, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Howard Brown Health, and Lambda Legal.

And a special thank you to the amazing and brave witnesses for sharing their experiences with the committee. The bill will help transgender and gender non-conforming Illinoisans have correct birth certificates,

Call your state representative today and tell them to support HB 1785.

FIND YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE

 

Equality Illinois, other LGBTQ champions, respond to Trump transgender student policy

February 23, 2017

Illinois organizations fighting for the civil rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans respond at a news conference to President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind Department of Education and Department of Justice guidance clarifying the civil rights of transgender students. Groups speaking include Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal – Midwest Regional Office, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and ACLU of Illinois. (Speakers begin at about 5:45 mark.)

“To our transgender youth throughout the state of Illinois, we want you to know on behalf of all of our stakeholders at Equality Illinois, our champions, and our allies, you are beautiful, you are brave, and you are strong. We honor you and we see you. We will fight for you and support you wherever we can,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

 


Equality Illinois Condemns Trump Administration’s Anti-Transgender Policy

February 22, 2017

Equality Illinois condemns the decision of the Trump administration to tear up the 2016 federal guidance protecting the civil rights and equal treatment of transgender youth in our public schools.

“We are outraged the Trump Administration would choose to target transgender children for discrimination. Rescinding the guidance letter sends a terrible message and invites personal bias to flourish in our public schools,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

Equality Illinois reminds Illinois school districts that they should not feel free to adopt discriminatory policies despite the federal action. Title IX of the federal education law still protects transgender students, as most courts have agreed, and Illinois law prohibits discrimination in public places.

READ MORE