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Gay Chicago Man To Scale Mt. Everest For Same-Sex Marriage

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The summit of Mt. Everest, the world's tallest mountain. (Photo credit: TSHERING SHERPA/AFP/Getty Images)

The summit of Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. (Photo credit: TSHERING SHERPA/AFP/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – A gay Chicagoan plans to take his fight to legalize same-sex marriage to new heights.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports 26-year-old Joe Rudy, an art gallery salesman and avid mountain climber, plans to scale Mt. Everest.

He and his father have climbed the highest peaks in both North and South America, and now he’s setting his sights on the world’s tallest mountain to promote same-sex marriage.

Rudy is training to scale Mt. Everest next March, building up his strength and endurance.

“I take a tire and tie it to my waist,” he said. “A big truck tire, and I tie to a 10-foot cord around my waist, and put 30 or 40 pounds in a backpack, and I walk or hike around the city for 5 hours at a time.”

Rudy said scaling Everest will be his way of symbolizing the uphill fight for gay rights.

“I think it’s a good analogy for the difficulties that LGBT Americans face in the U.S., fighting for equal rights, as we’ve been doing for decades,” he said.

The Illinois Senate has passed legislation to allow same-sex marriages in Illinois, but the measure has stalled in the Illinois House as the sponsor works to build support.

State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) originally wanted to call the measure for a vote by the end of the spring session last month, but announced on the last day of session that he had yet to line up enough votes, and would not call the measure until the fall veto session at the earliest.

Rudy plans to hold a fundraiser next Thursday at Primitive Gallery at 130 N. Jefferson St., as part of his Everest4Equality project, with the money going to Equality Illinois and the Human Rights Campaign.

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