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Marriage Equality Day 2008! - Hold the Candidates Accountable!
Gay Protesters Take On the Presidential Candidates
Gay activists and their supporters gathered Saturday outside of the County Marriage License Bureau to celebrate "Freedom to Marry Day aka Valentine's Day a bit early this year.
Each year the Gay Liberation Network uses the occasion of Valentine's Day to point out that same-sex couples are denied the legal right to marry, and thus are denied literally hundreds of benefits that non-gay couples enjoy (some 1,138 benefits, according to the General Accounting Office).
Taking advantage of the impending Illinois presidential primary, the Gay Liberation Network had moved up the annual protest to this past Saturday so as to highlight the fact that none of the major party presidential candidates endorse legal equality for lesbians and gays. Some Democratic candidates say they favor civil unions an insulting "separate but [not truly] equal" marriage for gays arrangement, but none favor true equality.
The march began with a picket in front of the Cook County Marriage License Bureau an institution which lesbian, gay, bi and trans taxpayers help pay for, but to which we are denied equal access. It then proceeded to Cook County Republican Headquarters, 205 W. Randolph, where are series of insulting statements by the Republican presidential contenders was read out, and members of the Log Cabin (gay) Republicans were asked to denounce the bigotry of all of their party's presidential candidates.
The Radical Cheerleaders livened things up with some wonderful gender-bending cheers!
Marching down LaSalle Street, the city's main financial district.
The march then proceeded down LaSalle Street to one of Obama's headquarters where insulting statements by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were read out:
"I don't think marriage is a civil right."
-Barack Obama during the Illinois Senate debate, 2004.
"I believe that American society can choose to carve out a special place for the union of a man and a woman as the unit of child rearing most common to every culture."
-Obama, in The Audacity of Hope
"I believe that DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] served a very important purpose. I was one of the architects in the strategy against the Marriage Amendment to the constitution, and DOMA gave us a bright line to be able to hold back the votes that were building up to do what I consider to be absolutely abominable and that would be to amend the constitution to enshrine discrimination."
Hillary Clinton, during her remarks at the YearlyKos Convention
Transgender rights activist June LaTrobe spoke about how the Democratic leadership including gay Congressman Barney Frank betrayed Trans people earlier this year despite lobbying by virtually every organization in the LGBT community (with the dishonorable exception of the Human Rights Campaign).
GLN's Brent Holman-Gomez pointed out that denial of marriage rights for gays causes cruel discrimination against same-sex couples wherein one of the partners is a foreign national. While married (i.e., straight) couples can naturalize the foreign born partner, lesbian and gay couples cannot, forcing many of them to emigrate to countries with less bigoted immigration laws. None of the presidential contenders has endorsed the “Uniting American Families Act” which would help alleviate this particular form of discrimination.
As we got near to Obama's office, Brent initiated a new chant calling out Obama's failure to endorse legal equality for same sex couples "Obama, Obama, Let mama marry mama! / Obama, Obama, Let mama marry mama!"
This was soon joined by variations on that theme, such as "Hillary, oh Hillary, We won't stop until we're free!" and "Huckabee, oh Huckabee, We won't stop until we're free!" As we returned to the Marriage License Bureau, this was topped off with "McCain, McCain, You're just insane!"