Archive for the ‘Anti-Discrimination’ 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.


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.



Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. By Fighting Injustice

January 15, 2018

As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Equality Illinois honors his legacy and pledges to continue our fight for justice for LGBTQ Illinoisans and all who face inequality UNTIL WE’RE ALL EQUAL.


LGBTQ and Jewish organizations challenge Tribune editorial on bakery case

December 11, 2017

In the Sunday Chicago Tribune, nearly two dozen LGBTQ, Jewish and social justice agencies challenged the tone and substance of an editorial that supported the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Chicago Tribune promotes editorial on Twitter

“Comparing a same-sex couple looking to buy a cake honoring their love to Nazis seeking to buy a swastika cake is appalling. We remind the board that an estimated 15,000 LGBTQ people were rounded up and systemically murdered by Nazis in the Holocaust. Your comparison is bullish and insensitive,” the organizations said to the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.

“Second, the board’s dismissive approach to the indignity experienced by the plaintiffs–David Mullins and Charlie Craig–minimizes the reality LGBTQ people face in many communities every day.”

The letter was signed by the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Pride Action Tank, Equality Illinois, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago on behalf of the other organizations.



Celebrating Protections Against Workplace Bias on Labor Day

September 4, 2017

As we celebrate Labor Day, we are grateful that LGBTQ Illinoisans are protected against discrimination in the workplace. Equality Illinois spearheaded the successful effort to outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ Illinoisans with the passage of an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act in 2005.

However, there is no federal law barring employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and in 28 states, you can get fired just for being lesbian, bisexual, or gay, and in 30 states, you can be fired for being transgender. That is why Congress must pass the Equality Act, to protect all LGBTQ Americans from discrimination.


Reacting to Charlottesville

August 14, 2017

Everyone should unite in expressing disgust at the racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, misogynistic and homophobic messages spewed at the white nationalist gatherings in Charlottesville this weekend.

Contrary to the “many sides” of responsibility for the hate, bigotry and violence suggested by Donald Trump, there are only two sides: Those on the wrong side of history by standing against equal and fair treatment for all Americans and those on the right side of history by fighting for justice and human rights.

Kudos to the marchers in Chicago and around the nation who peacefully stood up Sunday to the hateful demonstrators and their ideologies and to the coddling of them by the Trump administration.


Equality Illinois Urges Congress to Protect Transgender Students

February 22, 2017

With the Trump administration reportedly poised to act against transgender students, Equality Illinois is calling on Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Tammy Duckworth and Illinois House members to stand against discrimination in our schools.

In a letter sent to the state’s congressional delegation, Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson says that the proposed rescinding of the federal guidance that transgender students should be treated the same as fellow students “sends a terrible message and invites personal bias to flourish” in our schools.

Members of Congress should demand that the 2016 policy of fairness and equality remain in force, Johnson says.



Questions Remain As Trump Retains LGBTQ Workers’ Rights

January 31, 2017

Equality Illinois statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO:

President Trump’s continuation of LGBTQ federal and contractor workers’ rights leaves many concerning, unanswered questions.

We are deeply aware of the many ways the Trump administration could still roll back equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans. And we, as advocates for the LGBTQ community, stand with so many other groups, including immigrants, refugees, Muslim Americans, and women.



All Students Should Be Affirmed

January 29, 2017

A statewide coalition of organizations that work with LGBTQ Illinoisans is calling on the Illinois General Assembly to reject discriminatory legislation that would isolate and stigmatize transgender and gender non-conforming youth by forcing them to use separate restrooms and locker rooms from their peers in schools.

House Bill 664 is sponsored by State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) and is similar to a bill he introduced in the previous session of the General Assembly.

We are resolved that Illinois will stand firm for treating transgender and gender non-conforming students with dignity and ensuring that our schools are affirming environments that respect all students.



New Attempt to Attack LGBTQ Illinoisans

January 12, 2017

License to Discriminate Bill 2017 V2Equality Illinois is denouncing a new attempt by anti-LGBTQ forces in the Illinois General Assembly to discriminate against same-sex married couples.

Legislation introduced in the Illinois Senate would establish a license to discriminate for individuals, organizations, non-profits, and businesses who refuse to serve LGBTQ people. If it became law, Senate Bill 64 would neutralize the state’s civil rights protections for LGBTQ people by effectively prohibiting enforcement of those standards.

“SB 64 is an assault on our shared Illinois values of fairness, justice, and equality,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “SB 64 is not about religious freedom.”




January 3, 2017

donations1In the aftermath of the election, so many in the LGBTQ community were at a loss. Equality Illinois suggested deepening our commitment to building bridges and not putting up walls by publicly and proudly supporting groups most under attack by the Trump campaign rhetoric. We established donation pages so that the LGBTQ community of Illinois could stand up with a consolidated voice in support of immigrants, Muslims, and victims of sexual assault.

Today we are pleased to announce that because of your generosity, we are sending checks of more than $1,000 each to the Council on American Islamic Relations of Chicago,  the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. By standing up together as one community of LGBTQ stakeholders and allies with communities who have been under attack, we are sending a strong signal that we believe America is great when all Americans are valued.

Thank you to everyone who donated.


Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20, 2016

tdor-300x251This Sunday we pause for the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

We memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The day is also a statement that we as a community must recommit ourselves to the fight against transphobia.

The disheartening list of people who lost their lives in 2016 can be found here.

There are memorial events scheduled today in Chicago, Rockford, Peoria and Hinsdale and Monday in Evanston.



Chicago Leaders Protect Transgender Access to Facilities

May 19, 2016

Chicago bathroom protectionsA Chicago ordinance designed to protect the dignity and health of transgender and gender non-conforming people will be a clear rebuke to the actions in North Carolina and other states that want to turn back the clock.

The ordinance was introduced Wednesday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council’s LGBT caucus at the recommendation of Chicago Human Rights Commissioner Mona Noriega.

This is about basic human dignity and treating people with respect. The simple human need to use the restroom should not be questioned.



Equality Illinois Supports Transgender Student

December 8, 2015

Transgender student memeThe legal situation in Township High School District 211 regarding a transgender student’s equal right to access the school locker room that corresponds to her gender identity offers an opportunity for awareness and education about transgender people and the significant challenges and discrimination they encounter in life.

The school district said it would allow the transgender student access to the girls locker room because she has represented that she will change in curtained changing stations. The district had initially proposed requiring the transgender student to use curtained privacy areas while allowing the other female students the option to use such spaces. We know from American history that separate is not equal.

The only fair and equal option is to ensure transgender students have access, without conditions, to the locker room that corresponds to their gender identity. To do otherwise would send the message to transgender students that they are not respected and valued by the very administrators who are responsible for fostering a safe and welcoming space for learning and development.



LGBT History Month: Illinois Anti-Discrimination Law

October 8, 2015

History Month Meme - anti-discriminationLGBT History Month entry from January 21, 2005:

This year marks ten years of anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Illinoisans!

In January 2005, Equality Illinois advocated for and a bipartisan majority of state legislators and then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich approved the civil rights bill protecting LGBT Illinoisans from discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. The law also empowered the Illinois Department of Human Rights to investigate charges of discrimination on the basis off sexual orientation and gender identity.

Anti-Discrimination Laws


Historic LGBT Equality Act Introduced in Congress

July 23, 2015

Equality Act MemeToday in Washington, the historic Equality Act was introduced in the U.S. Congress, a much needed, first-ever comprehensive nationwide civil rights bill that will protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans from experiencing discrimination. Read about the bill here.

Illinois has demonstrated that LGBT-inclusive civil rights protections are effective and can be applied nationally. We are calling on the state’s congressional delegation to be among the first in line to support this significant measure.

You can help us to achieve victory in the tough battle ahead. Please sign a petition that we will share with Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Mark Kirk, and with the ten Democrats and seven Republicans from Illinois in the U.S. House.



Illinois LGBT Protections and Religious Freedom

March 28, 2015

IndianaEquality Illinois denounces new laws in Indiana and under consideration in other states allowing the use of religious beliefs to discriminate and refuse service to LGBT people and other minorities, and rejects comparisons to the religious freedom law in Illinois.

In acting as if the new law is a benign effort at ensuring religious freedom, officials in Indiana, Arkansas and elsewhere have cited Illinois as one state that already has such laws. While a religious freedom law has been on the books in Illinois since 1998, that’s only half the story.

Both the Indiana and Illinois laws say there must be a compelling governmental interest to burden a person’s exercise of religion, but only Illinois provides that compelling governmental interest in the LGBT-inclusive Illinois Human Rights Act and an active Department of Human Rights to enforce it.



Equality Illinois Calls for School Board Resignation

December 11, 2014
Liz Biondi

Liz Biondi

Equality Illinois today called for the resignation of Warren Township High School District 121 Board member Liz Biondi for suggesting that the search for a new school superintendent exclude gay or lesbian candidates, thereby violating the clear Illinois law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

At a public meeting of the board on Dec. 2, 2014 in Gurnee, Illinois, Biondi expressed that she is “going to be very blunt” and proceeded to caution the search firm against bringing gay or lesbian candidates for superintendent: “I’m concerned that if we hired someone that we were not aware of that background, that they may be fighting more personal fires than superintendent fires, I guess is what I’m going to say.”

“Biondi clearly demonstrated that she is not worthy of the trust to hold a position on the school board.  We find Biondi’s comments as someone who is sworn to uphold the law to be reprehensible, and she needs to resign from the board effective immediately, certainly before the search process proceeds,” Cherkasov said.




July 21, 2014

ObamaSignsOrderThe two executive orders expanding protections for LGBT workers signed Monday by President Obama set the standards by which policies, laws, and leaders should be judged, according to Equality Illinois.

“President Obama’s executive orders are to be applauded for their expansive coverage,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, who attended the signing ceremony in the White House East Room.

“The President also resisted appeals from extreme groups to single out LGBT workers for unprecedented broad exemptions which would have allowed taxpayer-funded contractors to use religious pretexts to discriminate.”