What—A Road Side Vigil for Marriage Equality in Illinois
When—5-6:30 pm, Friday, March 22
Where--The Southeast corner of the intersection of Routes. 31 and 120 in McHenry (in front of the ATT store with the yellow awning.)
Who—Tree of Life UU Congregation members and friends, PFLAG, concerned residents
Bring your own easy to read signs
No one said it would be easy. The fight for marriage equality in Illinois has been temporarily bogged down in the House of Representatives where bill sponsors report they are a few votes shy of a majority after predicting a squeaker win earlier. Uncommitted and wavering legislators are now being swamped by a noisy but well-oiled campaign by reform opponents to block passage of the bill.
Catholic parishes across the state have been sending home letters and e-mailing their parishioners urging them to contact their representatives, often identifying special targets by name. Conservative Evangelicals have been thundering from the pulpits, and the whole web of right-wing “grass roots” organizations have been organized.
Supporters of the bill including Illinois Unites for Marriage and the ACLU have been doing a great job of drumming up support, phone banking, lobbying, and demonstrating. Here in what is now known as the Tree of Life—A UU Congregation in McHenry County through its Social Justice Committee has partnered with PFLAG for lobby in mass visits to local legislators and organizing phone calls and e-mail messages. But the office of State Representative Jack Franks, a prime undeclared target of both sides, reports that calls in opposition are running far ahead of those in support.
We have to step up with new ways of reflecting the fact that we are now representatives of an absolute and growing majority of Illinois citizens in support of marriage equality and fairness. We need to demonstrate the same level of resolve and concern as opponents of change.
This will be a silent roadside vigil, not a rally, protest, or march. We will line the .curb at the intersection. Bring your own clear, easy to read signs. Keep the message simple—In Support of Marriage Equality, Our Families are Real Families, Freedom to Marry, Standing on the Side of Love, etc. Do not make signs attacking opponent or denigrating any religious faith. Keep our message positive.
We will wave and cheer those that honk their approval or give us a thumbs up. We will refrain from engaging with those who shout insults or curses or who may choose to try and confront us on the side walk. Do not block pedestrian use of the side walk and stay out of the street.
There will likely be press coverage. Be willing to tell personal stories. And always stay on a positive message.
It is short notice but we can mobilize an impressive action if we each call upon our full networks of friends and associates. Use Facebook and Twitter, e-mail or call friends, and invite your church or organization to join us.
See you on Friday.