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LOCAL News :: Gender & Sexuality

Pics from a Snowy, Slushy March Against DOMA

Marchers in Chicago had to brave a cold, snowy mess of weather on Saturday as they joined over 100 other cities around the country demanding that President-elect Obama fulfill his pledge to repeal the anti-gay "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA).
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Signed into law in 1996 by then-President Bill Clinton, DOMA allows anti-equal marriage rights states to violate the "full faith and credit" clause of the U.S. constitution by not recognizing marriages of same-sex couples from those states which allow them.

Even in Connecticut and Massachusetts, states that do recognize same-sex marriage, DOMA violates the rights of legally married gay and lesbian couples by refusing to extend to them the 1300+ federal benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy.

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UNITE/HERE Local 1 President Harry Tamarin was among those who rally.

A feeder march from the Hyatt Corporation headquarters at 71 S. Wacker Drive preceded the opening rally at the State of Illinois Building plaza. Hyatt was targeted because the owner of the second largest Hyatt Hotel, Doug Manchester of San Diego, made a $125,000 contribution to Proposition 8.

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The protest marched in the street on State and other streets up to Holy Name Cathedral, and then back to the plaza via Michigan Avenue. The march past Holy Name Cathedral was prompted by the Catholic hierarchy's continued efforts to sabotage moves toward legal equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people.

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Gay rights protesters at Holy Name Cathedral.

The main protest was organized by the Gay Liberation Network and the Chicago chapter of Join the Impact, and the feeder march was organized by Equality Illinois and UNITE/HERE.

Here is the text of a flyer distributed by the Gay Liberation Network explaining why Holy Name Cathedral was targeted by the march:

SEPARATE church & state
Don't let religious bigotry be the law of the land

Part of today's action to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act includes a march past Holy Name Cathedral.

Why? Because the Catholic hierarchy, along with Mormon and Protestant evangelical leaders, were major players in promoting California's anti-gay Proposition 8:

** The US Conference of Catholic Bishops kicked in $200,000 to promote anti-gay bigotry

** The Catholic fraternal outfit, Knights of Columbus, contributed a whopping $1.4 million

** Individual California Catholic bishops also anted up additional thousands to strip aay marriage rights from California citizens.

Pouring salt onto the wound, the leader of the California Catholic Conference, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, said he was "extremely pleased" that Proposition 8 passed.

Catholic leaders claim that giving equal marriage rights to Lesbians and Gays would impinge on religious freedom. This is just a bald-faced lie. They know that decades after the liberalization of divorce laws, no one is forcing the Catholic church to violate its ban on remarrying divorcees, and with the legalization of same sex marriage, the government still would not force the church perform any marriages it didn't want to.

Over the years, our local Catholic leadership, and the church leadership internationally, have fought every peice of equal rights legislation that's ever been proposed for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender peole. Just recently, the Pope not on y opposed a French / Dutch proposal for a UN statement for LGBT reights, he signed onto a statement advocating criminalization of homosexuality.

Despite all the church leadership's claims of "protecting the family" and other obfuscations, their opposition to gays boils down to this: bigotry, and a hateful desire to promote discrimination.

Just as fair-minded Californians have had to expsoe the Mormon Church's hate in order to push back against Proposition 8, here in Chicago, it's important to "out" the Catholic hierarchy for its own promotion of hate and discrimination. Only then will we weaken their support from lay people, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, and thus weaken their ability to block our civil rights advancement here in Illinois and elsewhere.

—Gay Liberation Network,

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Blane Roberts, President of Dignity/Chicago, a group which advocates for equal rights for gays within the Catholic Church.
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A snow plow sweeps past the protest.
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Sergio, a Californian visiting Chicago for two months, was among those who went on the 2 mile+ march in the cold.
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Marching down Michigan Avenue.
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Slush -- ick.
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The iconic Water Tower in the distance.



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