CHICAGO (CBS) — Gay marriage advocates were using a clever tactic to raise awareness for their cause during the Northalsted Market Days festival this weekend: they’re staging “weddings” for same-sex couples.
The Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago has been offering faux weddings for anyone who wants to stop by their tent at Halsted Street and Belmont Avenue, and get fake-hitched.
“It’s meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek,” explained LAGBAC board member Randall Ortman. “The actual ceremony that we go through simply states that the couple agrees to be united, and support one another in the fight for marriage equality.”
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon presided over some of the symbolic ceremonies.
“I think it’s important to use lots of different methods to call attention to the fact that we are still struggling to get equality in the state of Illinois,” she said in a phone interview. “I’m happy to participate, and keep that spotlight on our opportunity as a state to get on the good side of history quickly.”
Ortman said the idea is to keep awareness up, and not to lose the momentum for full marriage equality in Illinois that started after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s ban on same-sex marriage earlier this year.
“Despite that progress on the federal front, we still are short of full marriage equality,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) also performed some of the ceremonies this weekend.