As the state of Illinois prepares for civil unions to become legal on June 1, rightwing activists are planning anti-marriage-equality demonstrations at St Peter’s Catholic Church in Chicago.
Pro-gay activists are planning a counter-demonstration. Go Pride, an online newspaper, writes that the protesters will “demonstrate against the far-right activists assembling there.”
The “far-right activists” are the Americans for Life, an anti-gay and anti-choice organization. Their rally will start at St Peter's and then proceed to the Illinois Government offices.
According to The Advocate, the rally will launch the Illinois Defense of Marriage Initiative, urging the state legislature “to secure by law the definition of marriage in Illinois between one man and one woman.”
Speakers for the rightwing rally will include Peter LaBarbera, leader of the group Americans for Truth. LaBarbera's life passion is to expose “the homosexual activist agenda.”
Organizers of the counter-protest say the anti-gay activists clearly want to put anti-equality measures before voters in a statewide referendum.
Bob Schwartz, of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network, which is sponsoring the counter-protest along with LGBT Change and Join the Impact, told The Advocate that “Our Illinois politicians of both parties are notoriously weak and prone to blowing with the political winds. A successful anti-gay referendum could provide the impetus to cause them to cave in significant ways, such as weakening our civil unions legislation.”
While activists in Chicago square off against each other, another group of activists in Moscow is preparing to go ahead with gay pride, even though the city has denied them permission to do so.
In an email to Xtra, Nikolai Alexeyev wrote, “We will defy the illegal ban, and this year more than ever we are not scared of any arrest; we will face any legal consequences."