Gay Marriage Activists Stage Protest
by Amy Wooten - WCT LINK - PICTURES
When long-time couple John Pennycuff and Robert Castillo went into the Cook County Marriage License Bureau on Feb. 11, they were politely turned away and reminded that state law does not permit same-sex marriage.
The couple, who have been together 15 years, thanked the county employee for reminding them of their second-class citizenship on national Freedom to Marry Day.
“Thank you for providing disappointment to us and other loving same-sex couples who wish to marry,” Castillo said. “Thank you for allowing the County Clerk to use you to turn away your brothers and sisters. Thank you for serving as a reminder why we must continue to fight for marriage equality.”
They were among the many LGBT activists who braved the cold and marched for equal marriage rights on Saturday. With a federal anti-gay constitutional amendment looming ahead, the Gay Liberation Network ( GLN ) gathered other activists to join in on some street heat for Freedom to Marry Day. After picketing across from the Marriage License Bureau in Daley Plaza, LGBT activists stormed the county building. Then, they made some noise on their way to Holy Name Cathedral to protest Francis Cardinal George’s anti-gay agenda and demand a separation of church and state.
Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office released a statement welcoming those demonstrating for same-sex marriage rights.
“I strongly believe that Illinois law discriminated by preventing same-sex couples from gaining the rights and responsibilities of marriage,” the statement read. “The only way to legalize same-sex marriage is to change the [ state ] law.”
In his statement, Orr suggested that demonstrators urge state legislators to change the law.
The Clerk’s office does not have the authority to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and defying the law would not legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
“I hope the day comes when I can testify before lawmakers in Springfield or before a judge on behalf of same-sex marriage rights,” Orr’s statement continued.