A few busloads of Oak Park and River Forest residents were among thousands to participate in The March on Springfield for Marriage Equality Tuesday, according to the Wednesday Journal's live coverage of the event.
The march took place on the first day of the fall veto session of the Illinois State Legislature, and drew the masses to show support of Senate Bill 10, the "Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act," which was approved by the Illinois Senate in February with Gov. Quinn's support.
Oak Park Village Trustees Ray Johnson and Colette Lueck were among the Oak Parkers to join the march.
Sens. Don Harmon and Kimberly Lightford, both Democrats, voted for the bill in February. Harmon, the Senate President Pro Tempore, represents part of Oak Park and River Forest; Lightford, the assistant majority leader, represents part of Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park, according to a February report on Oak Park-River Forest Patch.
"Couples in loving, committed relationships should be able to declare, with pride and dignity, that they are married," Harmon said in a statement, posted on the site as a PFD. "They should be able to enjoy both the celebration and the commitment that accompany marriage. If we’re serious about extending equal rights to same‐sex couples, we must approve gay marriage in Illinois."
The Oak Park Temple was one of the organizers to take a bus down to Springfield.
"Oak Park Temple can help make history Tuesday Oct. 22 as we take part in a March on Springfield for Marriage Equality. The temple and Social Action Committee are organizing this advocacy trip as we make the final push to bring same-sex marriage to the Land of Lincoln," a Facebook message on the temple's event page reads.
Oak Park Temple member Annika Rothbaum told the Journal the group was going down to Springfield to show representatives that religious groups stand behind the marriage equality bill.
Opponents of the bill, who planned a Wednesday demonstration at the Capitol, were also present in Springfield Tuesday, when Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki issued a statement prohibiting gay rights advocates from entering a downtown church to pray for their cause, according to a Chicago Tribune report.
After the its passage in February, the bill was put on hold in the House, where it still needs 60 votes, according to ABC. House Speaker Michael Madigan told ABC last last month it needs about a dozen votes.