Mr. Madigan, send a marriage equality bill to the General Assembly floor

Dear Mr. Madigan,

Now that the Illinois General Assembly has a veto-proof majority, Mr. Speaker, you have no excuse not to bring a marriage equality bill to the floor for a vote when the 98th General Assembly is called to order.

Your m.o. of telling us you need guaranteed Republican votes to pass a bill can’t be played again. It won’t make sense. You have a super majority: 71 to 47 in the House and 40 to 19 in the Senate. You have the numbers to push any legislation you want and pass it.

If Illinois Democrats are serious about upholding the Democratic platform America overwhelmingly approved on Tuesday night with the election of Mr. Obama to a second term, a platform that includes marriage equality as a major plank, you will bring a bill before our representatives to pass.

Inaction on this issue in the next General Assembly, Mr. Speaker, will amount to turning the Democratic platform into a lie and the state’s party into an obstructionist body to the civil liberties of LGBT Illinoisans.

Bring marriage equality to the floor for a vote. Pass it. The time is now.

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For more coverage of the Northalsted Halloween Parade 2012, please visit Chicago Phoenix, Chicago’s LGBT news source.

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Unboxed: Adventures in Cardboard at Chicago Children’s Museum

Photo: Chicago Children’s Museum.

Check out this 3D mural created for Unboxed: Adventures in Cardboard at Chicago Children’s Museum. Completely made of repurposed cardboard, the art piece features the city. The exhibit will premiere at the Navy Pier museum on August 28 and run through May 5.

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Photo: Gerald Farinas.
Another morning on the waterfront at Berger Park in Chicago’s Edgewater. I love living on the lake.
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Photo: Gerald Farinas.

Another morning on the waterfront at Berger Park in Chicago’s Edgewater. I love living on the lake.

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Photo: Gerald Farinas.
Sat on the lakefront this morning, casting anxieties into the water. 
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Photo: Gerald Farinas.

Sat on the lakefront this morning, casting anxieties into the water. 

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Northwestern University. Photo: Gerald Farinas.
Walking around downtown Evanston.
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Northwestern University. Photo: Gerald Farinas.

Walking around downtown Evanston.

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Howard CTA station. Photo: Gerald Farinas.
Heading northbound on the Purple Line Express into Evanston.
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Howard CTA station. Photo: Gerald Farinas.

Heading northbound on the Purple Line Express into Evanston.

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West Sheridan at Winthrop Ave. Photo: Gerald Farinas.
On the 147 Outer Drive Express to the train station.
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West Sheridan at Winthrop Ave. Photo: Gerald Farinas.

On the 147 Outer Drive Express to the train station.

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County Clerk Orr, State’s Atty. Alvarez soldier on for marriage equality in Illinois

After a bit of confusion and an argument with three deputy sheriffs, I got to the press conference hosted by Cook County Clerk David Orr and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in the Daley Plaza lobby.

Read the complete original article by Tony Merevick at ChicagoPhoenix.com

View photos of today’s press conference by Gerald Farinas

Cook County Clerk David Orr and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez

The main points:

  • Clerk Orr was served with two lawsuits, Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr, alleging that the Clerk’s denial of issuance of marriage licenses because they are of the same sex is unconstitutional
  • Atty. Alvarez, acting as Orr’s defense counsel, filed motions that admit that the allegations in the lawsuits are correct and that they opine that the same-sex marriage ban is indeed unconstitutional
  • Just before 2:00 p.m. today, Atty. Alvarez filed the “Defendant’s Answer to Complaint”
  • Orr and Atty. Alvarez will stand by their position
The pair spoke as if they have thought of several scenarios that may come about for their position against defending the current marriage laws of Illinois. They are taking a “wait and see approach” as to whether or not another party will intercede to defend the current marriage law in these specific court cases.


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State’s Atty. Alvarez, County Clerk Orr show leadership, guts for marriage equality

I know my blog is called “After the Story,” but technically this is “Before the Story.” I’ll be heading out to the actual press conference in a few minutes, down the street at Daley Plaza.

Editor-in-Chief Tony Merevick and Chicago Phoenix scooped today, the first among the LGBT news publications to break news that Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez will be filing a motion for Cook County Clerk David Orr, who was served lawsuits for his inability by law to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in support of marriage equality and advising that the Illinois same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Read the complete article at ChicagoPhoenix.com

My take? First of all, I love David Orr. He’s said time and time again, despite the law that ties his hands from doing so, he desperately wants to give out marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

However, I did not support Anita Alvarez when she ran to be our chief prosecutor in 2008. Since then, Atty. Alvarez has been consistently making moves that prove leadership.

It is not enough to scout the future political winds. That’s not leadership. It is another to actually act ahead of the majority and take the punches along the way. Atty. Alavarez is showing leadership on the issue of marriage equality, actually heading out into the wilds to build an outpost and wait a while for the others to catch up.

Thanks, Atty. Alvarez for this motion.

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Lincoln assassination doctor’s document found by researcher

What is it like to be in the room as the President of the United States lay dying after a gunshot wound? Dr. Charles Leale, a 23 year old U.S. Army surgeon, wrote 21 pages of his account as the first physician to reach the martyred leader.

Dr. Charles Leale (left) wrote, “I immediately ran to the President’s box and as soon as the door was opened was admitted and introduced to Mrs. Lincoln, when she exclaimed several times, ‘O doctor, do what you can for him, do what you can!’”

Phil Rogers of NBC Chicago reports of researcher Helena Iles Papaioannou discovering the assassination document.

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Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents James A. Fitzpatrick’s Traveltalks featuring the Chicago Loop 1947

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New roar comes to Lincoln Park Zoo

New roars will be coming from the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the only free zoos left in the country, according to Kevin Bell.

"Since Adelor passed away, many visitors have asked when Myra would get a companion at the Kovler Lion House. I’m happy to announce that a male lion, Sahar, is now in quarantine at Lincoln Park Zoo, waiting to be introduced in the near future,” Bell announced.

Photo of Sahar by Julie Larsen Maher at Bronx Zoo.


"The 2-year-old lion comes to us from the Bronx Zoo, where he was born in January 2010. As he’s still maturing, his mane is just starting to come in. It’s a little wispy now but should reach full length in a couple years. ”

Bell explains the young lion’s veterinary quarantine, “Once he’s cleared, animal care staff will begin a careful introduction process. Objects will first be transferred between Sahar and Myra’s living areas to introduce the big cats to one another’s scents.”

"Eventually the pair will see each other through protective mesh—first at a distance, then at closer quarters. Finally, when animal care staff feel they’re ready, the lions will likely be introduced in their outdoor yard, which has plenty of room for them to get to know one another."

Bell spoke about the staff’s work to bring Sahar to the Chicago, “I appreciate all the hard work our animal care staff and the Lion Species Survival Plan put into bringing Sahar to the zoo. We look forward to the lion introduction, and I’ll be sure to keep you informed as they get to know one another.”

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Misericordia Candy Days is coming! Won’t you please help?

It’s that time of the year again! Misericordia volunteers will head out into the streets of Chicago with their iconic red-trimmed white vests with pockets full of Jelly Belly beans. They are asking for your support for Misericordia’s programs benefiting persons with developmental disabilities.

Candy Days volunteers in the Loop. Photo from Misericordia.com.

The annual fundraising drive will take place on Friday, April 27 through Saturday, April 28 in various Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs.

Wendy Favazza issued a call for volunteers on our Edgewater and Andersonville Facebook page, “If anyone is interested in volunteering for Misericordia Home’s Candy Days in Andersonville, please contact me. We would love anyone who is interested in helping out even if it is an hour or two. If your not into it then at least come say hi to us when we are out and about.”

Persons interested in volunteering for Candy Days in the busy Chicago Loop, their own neighborhoods, or in the suburbs, can register online using the volunteer form.

If you can’t volunteer but would like to make a donation, text MIS to 25383. $5 will be automatically donated each time you text MIS to that number.

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Photo from Dan Rutherford.
Model Illinois Government
Look at them young faces! These college kids are the future of our state! Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford—my pick for Governor one day—addressed the Model Illinois Government, convening at the State Capitol in Springfield tonight.
Reminds me of my Moanalua High School days as captain of our mock trial team in state competition. Standing in a real court room, excoriating the poor sap who got suckered into playing witness on the stand. That was fun!
Folks who know me best already know that I strongly believe that civics education is a must for the health of our democracy. I wish this kind of programming could be expanded in some way, even made a regular part of our elementary and high school curriculum.
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Photo from Dan Rutherford.

Model Illinois Government

Look at them young faces! These college kids are the future of our state! Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford—my pick for Governor one day—addressed the Model Illinois Government, convening at the State Capitol in Springfield tonight.

Reminds me of my Moanalua High School days as captain of our mock trial team in state competition. Standing in a real court room, excoriating the poor sap who got suckered into playing witness on the stand. That was fun!

Folks who know me best already know that I strongly believe that civics education is a must for the health of our democracy. I wish this kind of programming could be expanded in some way, even made a regular part of our elementary and high school curriculum.

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