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Illinois LGBT activists to demonstrate against Cardinal George

By Tony Merevick| Chicago Phoenix
Thursday, January 17, 2013

Activists from the Gay Liberation Network, a longtime Chicago-based direct action LGBT rights group, are calling on the local community to join them early next month in a protest against Cardinal Francis George, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, due to his vocal opposition against same-sex marriage.

The rally will take place on Feb. 10 outside of Holy Name Cathedral, 730 N. State St., at 10:30 a.m. and will continue through the high-profile church’s Sunday Mass at 11 a.m., GLN Co-Founder Andy Thayer told Chicago Phoenix Thursday.

“As long as Cardinal George opposes our equal rights, we will be opposing him,” Thayer, the organizer of the protest, said. “His opposition to our legal equality is bigotry.”

Activists rally at Chicago’s Thompson Center on Jan. 5.
Photo: Daniel Guerrero, Chicago Phoenix

George has long been an outspoken opponent of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, pending legislation in the Illinois General Assembly that would legalize state recognition of gay and lesbian nuptials. In a letter to Catholic leaders across the state early this month, George said same-sex marriages defy nature.

“Civil laws that establish ‘same sex marriage’ create a legal fiction,” George wrote in the letter. “The State has no power to create something that nature itself tells us is impossible.”

Additionally, George reportedly made phone calls to urge state lawmakers to vote against the measure leading up to the legislative lame duck session. In the end, the bill stalled when sponsoring lawmakers and proponents simply ran out of time.

“He has decided to continue to vilify our community,” Thayer said. “What he does within the walls of his own church in terms of deciding not to marry people there is fine, but attempting to oppose his backwards beliefs on the rest of society is unacceptable and bigoted.”

Despite George’s and other calls from the top of the Catholic Church to oppose gay and lesbian marriage, a majority of Illinois Catholics support same-sex unions, according to a September 2012 poll conducted by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.

About 82 percent of Catholics surveyed support either full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples or the right to a civil union. Specifically, 39.9 percent said they support marriage rights and 40.1 percent said their position is for same-sex couples to have civil unions. Only 15.7 percent said there should be no legal recognition of same-sex relationships, according to the poll.

“Most lay Catholics are on the side of justice and we appreciate their support,” Thayer said.

The same poll found that 43.6 percent of Illinois voters support full marriage equality for gays and lesbians, putting the Illinois Catholic community’s support just below the amount of support from the state in general.

The marriage equality legislation’s chief sponsors in the House and the Senate, Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), respectively, reintroduced the measure in both chambers last week following the swearing in of the 98th General Assembly.

The new legislative session begins Feb. 5, and proponents — including Gov. Pat Quinn — are anticipating progress with moving the bill forward in the first few weeks. The session adjourns May 31.

The Archdiocese of Chicago did not return a phone call requesting comment on the planned demonstration Thursday morning.

© Chicago Phoenix. Reprinted by permission.

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10 more reader comments:

  1. There should be GLOBAL protests against the Catholic Church – it’s the most outspoken organization in the world in regards to protesting LGBT equality.

    Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 5:09pm
  2. I fully agree,as a Catholic, our Church should be ashamed, they’ve forgotten the words of Jesus Christ…

    Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 5:12pm
  3. The Catholic Church was never about Jesus. The Catholic Church was about Paul. That mythology (the Church) is a direct result of HIS (supposed) brand of religion AND the two Nicea Councils who voted on what would be included in the canon. We can protest that organization all we like because it’s 100% made up out of garbage.

    Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 5:25pm
  4. This is the problem with religion. If he stayed in his church, I don’t care what he believes. But when it spills out into the street and he’s pressuring lawmakers to keep us down, it’s time to show him up for the hateful out of touch bigot that he is.

    Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 5:31pm
  5. Shut this organized crime cult down. How many more people have to be hurt by these thugs?

    Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 6:29pm
  6. Shame on this church hierarchy,hyporcrites to the highest

    Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 6:46pm
  7. GOOD!! Cardinal George needs to get the f*ck out of IL politics!!

    Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 7:30pm
  8. @Mark, you’re entirely correct!

    Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 7:30pm
  9. Mark–For what it’s worth, I’m with you!

    Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 8:03pm
  10. I’m with you, in spirit!

    Posted on Friday, January 18, 2013 at 12:48am