HRC in Illinois
“Working with the great team at HRC has been a key to our success in the Land of Lincoln. On a personal and professional level I am grateful for their support of our effort to bring equality to all in Illinois.”
—State Representative Greg Harris, Lead House Sponsor of SB10, The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act
Working to win marriage equality in 2013: With nearly 13 million residents, Illinois is the most populous state in the Midwest and the fifth most populous state in the country. The campaign to win marriage equality in the Land of Lincoln was years in the making. The Human Rights Campaign began working on the issue in Illinois in 2010, mobilizing HRC’s 75,000 Illinois members, supporters and allies to take action in support of civil unions. The campaign to move from civil unions to marriage intensified this year.
Highlights of HRC’s activities in Illinois this year:
- Member of the Illinois Unites for Marriage campaign with Equality Illinois, ACLU, Freedom to Marry,
- Lambda Legal, The Civil Rights Agenda and Chicago Urban League.
Total HRC financial and staff contributions exceeded $350,000, including:
- Regional Field Director Lynne Bowman, who was directly engaged in the campaign’s field organizing efforts
- Contribution or funding of 15 field organizers from January through May, and half of the field team for the second half of the campaign
- Hiring of Rev. Benjamin Reynolds, the campaign’s Director of Religious Outreach, to mobilize support among African American clergy
- These efforts helped secure the vocal support of the Illinois NAACP and influential clergy including Rev. Dr. Herbert Martin and Rev. Otis Moss.
- Coordinated African-American clergy statehouse testimony and organized clergy press conference.
- Supported a significant investment in African-American radio during the year-long campaign.
- Solicited an op-ed from Linda Johnson Rice, publisher of Jet Magazine, which was published in support of the marriage bill.
- Worked to secure public support for marriage from corporate allies, including Groupon and Orbitz.
- Phone bank technology that allowed the campaign to host simultaneous phone banks at multiple locations in Illinois directly connecting voters with their lawmakers.
- More than one million email messages sent to HRC members and supporters in the state since December 2012, more than 27,000 messages to legislators.
With HRC as a partner, the Illinois Unites for Marriage campaign achieved the following results to date:
Over three dozen in-district meetings with 16 priority legislators
Download a PDF of our work in Illinois here.