Bus Tour Set To Roll Through Illinois in August and October; Lambda Legal and Families To Meet With Community Groups and Civic Leaders on Marriage For Same-Sex Couples

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July 7, 2004

(Chicago, Wednesday, July 7, 2004) -Lambda Legal today announced a first-of-its-kind bus tour, set for late August and late October, that will engage people throughout Illinois in discussions about marriage for same-sex couples and other critical issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Illinois. The first bus tour will begin in Champaign, Illinois, on August 23 and continue on to Bloomington, concluding on August 29. The tour will include stops in both cities and include meetings about marriage for same-sex couples with various communities along the route. The second bus tour will begin on October 14 in Springfield and continue on to Southern Illinois to include Carbondale and East St. Louis. Lambda Legal, along with its partners including local same-sex couples, will meet with faith-based organizations, employee groups, elected officials and community leaders in the cities and towns to discuss the rights and protections that are denied to same-sex couples because they cannot marry and to identify how communities statewide can secure equality. “This is a comprehensive and unique campaign to engage communities all across the state in conversations about marriage for same-sex couples. The bus tour is an ambitious and aggressive effort to hear as many voices as possible,” said Mona Noriega, Director of Lambda Legal’s Midwest Regional Office in Chicago. “By going town-to-town, especially in the Southern part of the state, we’re going to reach people who have not had the opportunity to have a frank and honest discussion about marriage for same-sex couples.” Lambda Legal opened its Chicago office in 1993 and has won critical rights and protections for LGBT people statewide. For example, Lambda Legal won the right for second-parent adoptions in Illinois, which allow lesbians and gay men to legally protect their relationships with children they’re raising. Lambda Legal has defended domestic partner benefits for public employees and fought for workplace equality throughout Illinois. “The bus tour we’re launching this summer is a natural extension of Lambda Legal’s work over the last decade to make sure that LGBT people are treated equally in all areas of life,” Noriega said. In addition to the statewide bus tour, Lambda Legal will be partnering with ACLU-Illinois in a series of town hall meetings, including ones in Quad Cities on September 8, Peoria on September 15 and Bloomington on October 7. Other community groups that are partnering with Lambda Legal on the bus tour and town hall meetings include the Advocacy Council for Human Rights in Bloomington, ‘I Do’ Coalition in Quad Cities and CU at the Altar in Champaign. As well as in Illinois, Lambda Legal is conducting major public education campaigns in New Jersey, New Mexico and Washington supporting a dialogue on marriage for same-sex couples and other issues affecting LGBT people. Currently, Lambda Legal has marriage lawsuits pending in New Jersey, New York, California (with the ACLU and NCLR) and Washington (with Northwest Women’s Law Center).


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