The first ever gay rights organization in the country was founded in Illinois, and the state was also the first to decriminalize sodomy. But laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation proved to be a more difficult battle. Early Milestones In , German immigrant Henry Gerber founded the Society for Human Rights, which served a goal to teach others about the gay community and attempting to change laws that made homosexuality illegal. The organization only lasted a short time before authorities shut it down, but gay and lesbian Chicagoans were visible in the s and enjoyed acceptance among the artists, poets and bohemians of Towertown, an area of the Near North Side just west of the Magnificent Mile. Lectures and discussions on homosexuality were found on the agenda in salons and speakeasies, and female impersonator shows were popular, the Encyclopedia of Chicago tells us.
Local Illinois Governments Pass Gay, Transgender Rights Laws
Cook County Government, Illinois | sria.info
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LGBT rights in Illinois
Cook County has one of the highest concentrations of openly gay or lesbian judges in the country. This number seems to grow every election cycle. In , 15 Cook County judges who openly identify themselves as gay or lesbian established the Alliance of Illinois Judges. The association is open to all sitting and retired judges but has a primary focus on LGBT issues that affect the judiciary. Despite greater societal acceptance than ever before, the need for creating such a judges association remains important.
Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in the U. Same-sex marriage legislation was introduced in successive sessions of the General Assembly from to It passed the Senate in February , but legislators delayed a vote in the House while lobbying for votes until November 5, , when the House passed an amended version of the bill by a narrow margin.