As stated Tuesday, I’m in lovely Las Vegas for Netroots Nation 2010–the largest progressive blogger conference in the United States. You may have heard we’re here–GetEQUAL announced to the world Tuesday that they got into town, celebrating by stopping traffic and getting arrested, while trying to bring attention to Harry Reid’s inaction on ENDA.
When I arrived I took part in an LGBT pre-conference summit, where bloggers got the chance to grill the national organizations, and discuss some of the most pressing issues in our movement. After lunch we broke into four sessions addressing immigration equality, employment discrimination, relationship recognition / marriage equality, and AIDS/HIV issues.
Nation-wide we have a confusing and incomplete patchwork of employment protections that cover LGBT folks to various degrees from employment discrimination, ranging from full gender identity and sexual orientation protection like our sweeping law in Illinois, to absolutely no protection or rights for either sexual orientation or gender identity (like, you know, almost half of America). ENDA needs to get passed now, and we discussed ways to get real stories of discrimination out to the public to help create a sense of urgency on this issue.
However, one thing we don’t have in Illinois is relationship recognition. Two bills–Civil Unions (SB 1716 HB 2234) and Marriage Equality (SB 2468 HB 0178)–have gone basically ignored by the Illinois Democratically controlled legislature. If you want to have an impact on the future of Illinois, call Equality Illinois at 773-477-7173 and call your lawmakers–especially if they are Democrat–and tell them the Civil Unions or Marriage Equality bills need to be law before the November election. 217-782-3944.
God forbid, but if we lose Governor Quinn and get Bill Brady instead, we’ll be waiting a long time for any relationship recognition in this state. I hope that the Chicago gay and progressive print media starts putting the pressure on too. The editor of the Windy City Times can be gotten at firstname.lastname@example.org. The editor of ChicagoPride.com can be contacted at http://chicago.gopride.com/contact/contact.cfm?t=M&i=14. Time is running out. If they don’t move soon OUR last resort might soon be to start stopping traffic around the state as well.