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Same-Sex Marriage Supporters, Opponents Rally in Fox Valley

Aurora Democrat Stephanie Kifowit's Montgomery Road office was the site of a protest and counter-protest on Saturday, although the representative did not make an appearance.

Over a hundred opponents of same-sex marriage gathered Saturday morning outside State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit’s Aurora office, where they also faced off with gay rights activists staging a counter protest.

The Defend Marriage rally was organized by the Illinois Family Institute, a conservative non-profit that opposes Senate Bill 10—the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act—which was passed by the Illinois Senate in February and is awaiting a vote by the House.

A counter-protest was organized by local pro-LGBTQ group Fox Valley Pride with assistance from Illinois Unites and the Gay Liberation Network, said Jim Lausier, who was the primary organizer for this protest.

Lausier said he wishes there was a larger group presence at the rally, but the GLBT community was “spread thin to address three simultaneous rallies,” all happening on Saturday morning.

Kifowit, a Democrat, told Patch in her November 2012 campaign questionnaire that she supports marriage equality.

“Everyone should enjoy the same civil rights and no one should face discrimination because of their sexual orientation,” Kifowit wrote. “I believe the intent behind Illinois’ recently enacted civil unions law has done just that.”

Kifowit did not make an appearance at the rally outside her office.

“We came to [Stephanie Kifowit] and we asked her to please vote no on this legislation,” said Dan Haas, a pastor in Aurora for over 33 years and Director of ministry at Total Living Network. “We need to be sure that our state representatives understand our concerns and why we are concerned about that.” 

The two opposing sides spanned the length of Montgomery road in front of Kifowit’s office, leaving several feet of space between the two parties.

The IFI played patriotic music and waved American flags on their corner, and the pro-LGBTQ received numerous “honks” of support from passing vehicles and covered their corner with a myriad of rainbow colors.

“Kids do best with a family that loves them,” said Aurora resident Kelly Imgrund, referring to the “Kids do best with a mom and dad” sign that members of the AFI were displaying. “We need to show our support.”

As representatives from the IFI and other conservatives spoke about the importance of marriage between "one man, one woman," the around 40 pro-LGBTQ supporters chanted, “What do we want? Marriage equality! When do we want it? Now!" 

russ harrison May 13, 2013 at 03:01 PM
VC, NahNahah!You cannot bring religion into laws due to separation of Church and state.As for marriage always being one man and one woman,Greek,Roman,Visigoth and Celtic history along with most others all have references to same sex marriage and polyamorous relationships.Granted,those societies have pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur but I highly suspect that it was not because a small portion of their populace engaging in same sex marriages. Your religious beliefs dictate that marriage is between one man and one woman and that's fine and acceptable.I don't see condone any public acts protesting your religious freedoms or rights.But many others do not share your opinion nor do they subscribe to your religion's doctrine.That doesn't mean we aren't religious. My wife and I have relatives and friends that are in monogamous relationships spanning decades.They are a great source of relationship advice.We prefer to refer to them as being married and I highly doubt that we are condemned by God because of it.Their kids are no different than ours that are raised in a "conventional" marriage, In fact, they may be a bit better because they've had to deal with prejudicial treatment from a minority of people that simply refuse to accept their parent's ability to have a strong, secure and nurturing environment. If you don't like homos,then don't hang with them.But don't try to convince the rest of us to disregard their marriages because of your religious interpretation.
REL May 13, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Hers's an interesting link to an article written a few years ago, titled: "The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage" http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/01/08/the-conservative-case-for-gay-marriage.html
russ harrison May 13, 2013 at 03:20 PM
It's only "re-defining" marriage for some people, not all.Obviously a lot of folks already accept same sex marriage or there wouldn't be a bill addressing it. If you object to it from religious standpoint, then don't support it.If someone rejects your interpretation it does NOT always mean that they disrespect it. Far from it. The fact remains, the place to object to same sex marriage because of religious beliefs is in your church, NOT your House of Representatives. Why? Because our religious freedoms are protected by a constitution and set of laws that specifically PROHIBIT any religion from bringing unfair influence into legislation and for good reason, religious states haven't got a great track record when it comes to governing free people. Our Constitution acknowledges God, a Supreme Being known by several names. (It uses the title "God") It does not acknowledge the Bible as the rule book.
Jack Evan May 13, 2013 at 04:14 PM
@Vaughn Oh Vaughn, You are confusing Gender and Sex. Sex pertains to the distinguishing differences between a man and a woman on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures. Gender pertains to the behavioral and cultural traits typically associated with one sex, like masculinity or femininity. No Physician would ever deliver a baby and say, "the baby's gender is male." I was simply trying to educate you on the difference between the definitions of "gender" and "sex," you silly goose. Clearly, you need someone to continue your education, hence my comment, go back to school. I understand that there is no arguing with people like you. I hope that you never have children that are homosexual, for THEIR sake, not yours. Hearing from a parent that something they have no control over isn't "natural" or "right" is emotionally devastating and creates serious psychological issues in thousands of children. Interesting that those children would most definitely be better off with two accepting parents, regardless of their sex. Good day.
russ harrison May 13, 2013 at 04:15 PM
V, it was NOT Nananananaahhh..it was nanana, as in no, you can't play that card. Anyway, if you truly believe that homosexuals caused the collapse of all those societies then you have your right and freedom to believe that.I don't agree that the demise of Ancient societies was based solely on sexual orientation. It just doesn't make sense, especially when so many socio-political arguments contribute many other factors to their demise. Then again, the US has withstood any major changes to its form of government for over 200 years, a feat that no modern nation can claim today.In fact, since the beginning of Christianity no civilization has gone this long without a major shake-up to their forms of government or geographic make-up. But I still really doubt that it has much to do with gay folks being active in their communities or asking for recognition of their rights on an equal basis. Conversely, it would appear that the European nations that have weathered the economic and political storms with the least damage over the past few decades are countries that have accepted same sex relationships. I served in our Army in the 70's with a few Swedes,Norwegians and Dutch. Some were openly gay and their military and homelands accepted it, as does Israel, birthplace of Christianity.Those countries have a strong religious foundation but they don't seem to have a problem allowing gay equality and it isn't a big religious issue there. Is their God any different than your God?
russ harrison May 13, 2013 at 04:17 PM
and yes, those countries call it "marriage" between same sex couples.
russ harrison May 13, 2013 at 04:46 PM
V, You should read a bit further than the preamble and also take a look at the state's constitutions. Read works by Madison and Jefferson, as well as Franklin's writings on the subject of church and state (they are prolific and quite dynamic!)as they are 3 people with differing views on religion yet were able to agree in principal that there should be no King nor a mandated national religion.The Declaration came first, the preamble and the constitution came later.as did the bill of rights,amendments etc etc,Call it an evolving document in that it changes over time(like the Bible!)Each document influenced the latter documents.But nowhere is the Bible allowed to dictate the governing of our people. . Either way,it makes no difference. If you try to force a religious view or doctrine into legislation the majority of people will never allow it, if only on principal.Yet that is precisely what appears to be what is happening with these protests.The religious definition of "marriage" (one man/one woman) simply is not 100% supported by the general population. When we consider the biggest problems facing Illinois today, it really appears that this preoccupation over marriage equality on religious objections is just a diversion from the real problems our legislators should be focusing on.I have more significant issues to worry about than equal marriage being against someone's idea of what "their" God wants. Shouldn't we all be addressing higher priority State issues than this?
russ harrison May 13, 2013 at 05:03 PM
V, You do realize that you are actually agreeing with me, don't you? Religious freedom is guaranteed, and no single religion will be allowed to dictate the governing of the people. That means no law based upon a religious group's doctrine is going to be enacted without the consent (at least in theory) of the majority of the general population. I mean, should a Catholic be forced to subscribe to Islamic edicts? Should a Jew be forced to adhere to LDS doctrine? That does not mean that certain religious freedoms haven't been abused by governmental action, it just means that the hindering legislation enacted was not done so with the goal of religious persecution. (yeah,right! tell that to the Mormon, the Rasta, the Shinto and Taoists, etc) The system isn't perfect, but I'll take it over being governed by someone's interpretation of the Bible, the Torah, the Quran, or the Book of Friendly Little Wood Elves and Rainbow Crayons any day.. but I respect and acknowledge others rights to follow their religious beliefs as long as they don't try to forcibly stuff those rainbow colored opinions down my throat and they don't intentionally infringe on others rights and pursuit of happiness. In the meantime, have a nice protest but I personally think its silly.
Theresa May 13, 2013 at 05:05 PM
I find all these articles sad, and all the energy going back and forth in the subsequent comments. Really it's kinda pointless. No one is going to change anyone's mind in either direction through interweb comments. I think it was Downers Grove patch a week or two back covering the same protests where one lunatic posted 22 posts/links in a row on two different posts - sorry I don't care which side you are on, pretty sure you are insane at that point. Wish people put this kind of energy into more positive endeavors.
Jack Evan May 13, 2013 at 05:38 PM
"People have children that think they are homosexual because they (the children and parents) have been indoctrinated by a system (educational/media) that tells them it is normal and good." Wow, you know what? I completely agree with you. I've seen the light, Vaughn! Praise Jesus!
Jack Evan May 13, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Theresa, I agree with you to a point, but if you could witness and feel the mental pain and suffering that millions of gay Americans feel every single day from the persecution, close-minded perspectives and public blows from people like Vaughn, you might agree that what I'm doing is, in fact, a positive endeavor like many other things. I don't believe that people should feel lesser or second-class over something they have absolutely no control over, and I especially don't believe their rights as human beings should be limited because of it. The argument always boils down to the belief that being gay is a choice. I believe that one doesn't choose their sexual orientation, it chooses them. People with strong religious affiliations to the Bible will never agree with that. But you're very right, arguing about it on a stupid comment thread on the internet isn't going to change anyone's mind. It only perpetuates the inherent disagreement and makes things worse, so I'm done now. Make it a great day, Theresa! =) Monday... =(
Logansdad May 13, 2013 at 06:39 PM
"Russ, you got it!! What you describe is exactly what those trying to redefine marriage are trying to do! As you said, "...to forcibly stuff those rainbow colored opinions down my throat..."." Vaugh, those against same sex marriage based on their religious views are trying to shove their Jesus opinions down my throat. There is freedom from religion. That does not mean your religion trumps all other religions. Religion is no factor. My religion believes in same sex marriagem why shouldnt my religious views be heard and apply to the law?
Logansdad May 13, 2013 at 07:32 PM
"What substantive argument are trying to make in favor of your opinion from your religious perspective? I've made a number of them in the posts related to this article." I feel marriage is about love and commitment. Allowing those same sex couples who have been in committed relationships for years will only strengthen the true meaning of marriage.
Logansdad May 13, 2013 at 07:36 PM
"don't you see that as soon as you have to start arguing about the definition of something by creating man-made distinctions you've already lost the argument." Marriage was around well before the religious definition of marriage. Therefore it is a man made definition.
Logansdad May 13, 2013 at 07:40 PM
"Do you have a business or a club to which you belong? Do you want to be able to hold to a certain moral standard for you and your family?" A business or a club has to still obey the laws of the state first. A business operating in the state of Illinois can not discriminate based on sexual orientation despite what your religious views are. "Do you have children? If so, do you care what people teach them?" If you send your children to public school, they are taught what is approved by the school district. If you don't like what is being taught in public school, you have a right to send your children to private school. If that still goes against your teachings, you have the right to home school your children.
Logansdad May 13, 2013 at 07:59 PM
"God instituted it as one man and one woman before the Fall." Before which fall - the fall of 320AD? The Fall of the Holy Roman Empire? Please clarify.
Logansdad May 13, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Well then if it was defined by God as one man and one woman as you say. Then all those in them early days redefined marriage because there are many instances of polygamy that followed. Besides, the last time I checked, the laws in this country are made by the legislative branch, not God and the Bible.
russ harrison May 13, 2013 at 10:22 PM
Vaughn, Hockey doodoo. I am a Republican and I support some GOP candidates that have decided that this archaic way of prejudicial and alarmist extremes has to go less our party and a society be constrained to a point where there will be no growth or evolution of social benefit, rather there will be a self induced elimination of a viable way of social address. Simply put...evolve or die like the dinosaurs. Let someone in the future argue whether your fossilized remains indicate whether you actually existed or your a figment of scientific theory. Homos haven't ruined any society, dinosaurs are real. the Bible makes some sense when not corrupted by humans with a personal agenda. Kids raised by gays have turned out well, not all priests are child molesters, and some Mormons drink beer and have on;ly one wife. Co-exist and be tolerant or get the heck out of the way for the rest of us. We have more important concerns than whether or not your personal or group[ interpretation of God's law is applicable to couples that want to marry. Sheesh....
russ harrison May 13, 2013 at 10:45 PM
I get the feeling that when Jesus comes back he's going to be pretty pissed off at you folks that persecuted your fellow humans in his name.I mean,really.How blasphemous can a person be than to propose that they speak for an Almighty being and that their belief is the only true belief?Is it a fact that there is only one true and almighty God, but that God is called by different names by different people? God,Yawah,Allah,Sithatra, etc...all state that there is a common denominator of common sense and that is to choose between good or evil. My personal opinion is that if you choose to persecute people based upon sexual orientation and differences in definition of religions then you have been manipulated.If you choose to try and demand legislation in the US based upon religious beliefs, you are doomed to failure Get over it folks.. BTW> we just passed 124 Billion in unfunded pension liabilities with no viable legislation proposed to fix that problem.Are you guys still thinking any gay marriage bill will be passed before the sessions ends or have you figured out we got sidetracked again? We got manipulated into talking morality instead of reality.Why aren't we screaming at our legislatures to fix the tangible problems before the sessions end instead of trying to fight PROPOSED laws defining marriage? Beat your Bible, cite your scriptures, and then sit at home on election day. And then later we can all scream "Give us Barabbas!" after we realize we've been screwed again.
Vianca Davis May 13, 2013 at 11:17 PM
I have straight parents and My godparents are gay. I was raised to love everyone equally. I was raised to stand up for those that could not stand up for themselves. I raise my children the same way. I can say that they have not sat by while others bully kids because or their gay parents or because they themselves are gay. Because for some reason their parents have taught them that if they do not love the opposite sex then there has to be something wrong with them. I chose not to believe in a God so judgmental that would write a person as a sinner because of who they love. I do not know this god and could care less to get to know him. It is your right to believe in any God that makes you happy. It is also my right to stand up to people that would use the name of God as an excuse for their nasty behavior. My straight parents? Divorced. Gay godparents? In a committed relationship for the past 35 years with 2 kids in college. You know living that "radical homosexual" lifestyle that is such a bad example for your children. And their children? Know where they came from? Parents that could not take care of their children and left them for others to raise. One of the best parents I have ever seen and have done a much better job then many straight parents I know. So you continue with your beliefs and your ways. I will continue with mine and my "radical homosexual" friends.
russ harrison May 13, 2013 at 11:32 PM
Vianca, Your eloquent statement is beyond reproach, I would be proud to have my kids associate with your kids.
Vianca Davis May 13, 2013 at 11:53 PM
That made me smile :) Thank you Russ.
russ harrison May 14, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Now I am really confused.According to a FEW religious folks here,only a man and woman couple can have a marriage.Those same religious folks say God will not allow nor accept same sex marriage and they believe that the children of same sex marriages would be damaged by that type of union because children are the product of their parents' child raising efforts. So shouldn't they be complaining about all those "acceptable" man-woman couples that had homosexual offspring that grew up and want to have same sex marriages? And if so, rather than punish the offspring by denying them the equal right to marriage, shouldn't they be nullifying those traditional marriages that resulted in gay offspring? I mean if their doctrine says that homosexuality is an abomination of their God's commands, then those that contribute to it should be punished, right? If God is the almighty creator, and homos are contrary to his divine plan, then those parents must have denied God by having children that are gay or by raising straight kids that later choose to be gay.So why aren't they using religion to justify proposing a law that nullifies marriages that result in gay offspring? It seems to me that if you deny equal marriage status to the offspring, you should revoke their parents' marriage as well just to be fair and just. Kids are the result of their upbringing, religious or not, aren't they? If God didn't make them gay, then their parents, church or community must have influenced them, right?
David Edelman May 14, 2013 at 01:45 AM
Watch the documentary "the loving story". A great piece done on the landmark case of interracial marriage. You listen to what people said about it back then. You say "NO Way" people really thought that way and said that????? Years from now the same will be said of this issue. It's inevitable and its going to happen. Like it or not. A democracy changes and advances.
Logansdad May 14, 2013 at 02:09 AM
"There have already been lawsuits against florists and reception locations for having a religious issue of conscience against same sex marriage." These people are running a business and have to obey the laws of the state, If they can not operate a business in which they feel they need to discriminate against a certain group of people, then they shouldnt be operating a business in the first place. "Christians pay taxes for the public school system just like non-Christians and should have a right to give input about what is taught. On issues of sexuality it should be parents and not some government bureaucrat that determines what and when a child learns about things." People who don't have kids are also supporting those that do via their property taxes so they should also have a say in where their tax money goes. As I mentioned before those parent who do not like what is being taught to their kids, the parents have the option to send them to private school or home school them.
Alan May 14, 2013 at 02:40 AM
Vaughn - "These laws enshrine a particular religious view and will force you to accept that view. Is that what you want?" What particular religious view would that be? Homosexuality (or bisexuality or lesbianism, for that matter) isn't a religion!
Vianca Davis May 14, 2013 at 03:51 PM
When you say "we must not allow popular opinion or the government..." So we should let you and those like you? So forget the majority, forget the minority lets just worry about this book. This 2000+ year old book to dictate what is wrong and what is right for an entire nation. The institution of marriage that you hold so dear is not being destroyed by gays. More then 50% of straight marriages end in divorce! It is already destroyed and it had nothing to do with gay marriage! Straight couples are doing that all on their own with no help. I will not have my life and the life of those around me dictated to us because of your 2000+ year old book. Wake up. It's not 2000+ years ago and YOU do not live your life the way they did 2000 years ago. This country is a democracy where unfortunately for you "the popular opinion" does rule. How it should be. I will not have live under a dictatorship based on your book.
Logansdad May 14, 2013 at 03:52 PM
"That being said, we must not allow the institution of marriage to be destroyed by redefining it. Marriage is between a man and woman by definition." You can define marriage as a man and a woman but there is more to marriage than just the two people involved. Marriage is also about love and commitment. (Funny you have mentioned anything about that aspect of marriage). Take a look at the institution of marriage over the past 50 years. Marriage today has a 50% success rate. Divorce is very common. Are you going to state this is being of same sex marriage? Marriage is being destroyed but it isn't from same sex marriage. It is being destroyed by the heterosexuals: 72 hour marriages, divorces after 6 months. Getting married and divorced and then remarried as many times as you want. How many reality shows are there about getting married. This shows me that the heterosexuals treat marriage like a game show. None of these issues are destroying marriage according to you? Instead you rather blame in on same sex marriage.
cindy May 18, 2013 at 02:47 PM
Here's a CRAZY idea...Don't allow the government to define marriage at all. Take city hall out of the marriage business all together! Allow marraiges to only be preformed in private institutions. Here's another idea, how about schools TEACH academics and stay out of personal lives(sex, religion, whatever). Then PARENTS can decide what morality to teach their own kids. THINK LIBERTARIAN at least on this issue. EVERYONE WINS!
Kibitzer May 20, 2013 at 12:51 AM
"Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning." Proverbs 9:8

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