An Open Letter to Fellow Illinoisans from Lambda Legal and ACLU Plaintiffs
An open letter from plaintiffs in Lambda Legal's Illinois marriage lawsuit Darby v. Orr and the ACLU of Illinois' lawsuit Lazaro v. Orr:
Dear Fellow Illinoisans,
We are all plaintiffs seeking the freedom to marry in the two current lawsuits by Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois and like you we are all residents of Illinois. We have been waiting for the freedom to marry for years, some of us for decades. We are writing because we need your help to win the freedom to marry - we are inches away from the finish line and right now, you have the power to help end the inequality and bring greater security and dignity to our families. Please call your representative in the Illinois House and tell them to vote YES on the marriage bill. We are in the home stretch of the legislative effort, and your phone calls and volunteer time are needed.
Every one of us has a story to tell about why marriage is important to our families and why civil unions are not enough-- our stories reflect thousands of other stories across the state.
Ryan Cannon and Daphne Scott-Henderson are raising three children – Sebastian, 4, Sonnet, 15, and Autumn, 12 years old. They are a close and loving family, and dream of a time when they can be married. Although the couple planned for the birth of Sebastian together, the hospital attempted to keep Sonnet and Autumn from visiting their new little brother because they were not considered "siblings". The family routinely faces reminders they are not a married family. When Daphne takes Sebastian to the doctor, there are always issues, even though it’s supposed to be on record that she can make medical decisions for Sebastian as his parent. At Sebastian’s school, Ryan signs all the papers and notes that require a parent’s signature in order to avoid situations that are hurtful to Sebastian, who is made to feel as though his family isn’t a real family. The school always asks for “the mother,” as if they are not both Sebastian’s mothers. They explain that it’s policy. If Daphne and Ryan could marry, there would be no mistake about their relationship to each other or to their children.
Ed Hamilton and Gary Magruder first met in at a mutual friend's party in 1964. Over nearly a half-century as a loving, committed couple, they have built a life together, filled with family, with friends and shared memories. The walls of their home are filled with artwork that Gary painted. One entire room is given over to a massive compact disc collection and a large piano. Books can be found everywhere. The home has an easy, comfortable feeling of things being settled, peaceful. On the 40th anniversary of their meeting, they gave into the urging of friends and flew to Toronto to be married in Canada. Gary saved the flowers from their lapels that day. In their "golden years," however, they simply want their marriage recognized in Illinois. For them, they have waited long enough.
Some of us are represented by Lambda Legal and others of us by the ACLU of Illinois – and all of us are in this fight for our families and all the other families of same-sex couples across this state. We urge you to call your House Representatives and tell them this is important to you too - we know that we have supporters in every corner of Illinois - make your voices heard.
Find your representatives here: http://illinoisunites.org/LetsWin
Volunteer to phone bank by contacting: http://illinoisunites.org/volunteer
Angelica Lopez & Claudia Mercado, Chicago, IL (4th District)
Michelle Mascaro and Corynne Romine, Oak Park , IL (8th District)
Mercedes Santos & Theresa Volpe, Chicago, IL (16th District)
LaKeesha Harris and Janean Watkins, Chicago, IL (16th District)
Julie Barton & Pat Garcia, Evanston, IL (18th District)
Richard Rykhus and Carlos Briones, Evanston, IL (18th District)
Tanya Lazaro and Elizabeth “Liz” Matos, Chicago, IL (20th District)
James Darby & Patrick Bova, Chicago, IL (25th District)
Kirsten and Tanya Lyonsford, Aurora, IL (49th District) ***
Laura Hartman and Anne Dickey, Rock Island, IL (72nd District)
Brian Fletcher & Robert Hickok, Oak Park, IL (78th District)
Daryl Rizzo and Jaime Garcia, LaGrange, IL (82nd District)
Lee Korty & Bert Morton, Springfield, IL (87th District)
Peggy Burton & Donna O'Crowly, Bloomington, IL (88th District)
Suzanna “Suzie” Hutton and Danielle Cook, Bloomington, IL (88th District)
Hector Martinez and Bob Proctor, Peoria, IL (92nd District)
Edwin Hamilton and Gary Magruder, Plainfield, IL (97th District)
Randy Walden and Robert “Bob” Carey, Springfield, IL (96th District)
Brandon and Kevin Bowersox-Johnson, Urbana, IL (103rd District)
Kathie Spegal and Lynn Sprout, Champaign, IL (103rd District)
Michelle Franke & Michelle Chappell, Champaign, IL (103rd District)
Ryan Cannon & Daphne Scott-Henderson, Champaign, IL (103rd District)
Lynne Burnett & Robyne O'Mara, Godfrey, IL (111th District)
Donald Julian & Timothy Rice, Alto Pass, IL (115th District)
Tim Kee and Rick Wade, Marion, IL (117th District)
Check out Lambda Legal's ILove Marriage in Illinois campaign at www.lambdalegal.org/ilove and learn more about our plaintiff couples.