Frustration with lawmakers continues to grow after legislators failed to bring the gay marriage bill to a vote in the Illinois House last week, and some members of the gay community say they want politicians off their streets.
A petition created over the weekend asks that Illinois politicians be banned from the 44th Annual Chicago Pride Parade and is quickly gaining support from Chicagoans.
As of Tuesday morning nearly 750 people had signed the petition, which was posted on change.org, and supporters are saying this is their revenge.
“I just want them all to know how we feel,” petition organizer Curtis Bumgarner wrote on the website. “How and why should we vote for you if you can’t vote for us?”
Parade organizers, though, say there are no plans to band elected officials from the event.
“Our opinion is the parade day should not be a day of division," organizer Richard Pfeiffer said. "Parade day is about love, pride and unity.”
Bumgarner notes on the site that some oppose the idea, saying the petition is discrimination and that it “may do more harm than good,” but supporters are flocking to defend the new movement.
“Payback,” one signer wrote. “These jerks get to ‘vote’ on my marriage? I get to vote on whether they ride in the damn parade.”
Backers of the gay marriage bill wrote a letter to advocates Monday saying it’s not the time for them “to splinter” and note the possibility for the bill to be called this summer isn’t out of the question.
If Gov. Pat Quinn, who supports gay marriage, calls legislators for a special summer session, the bill could be voted on then.
Sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris, the legislation would have made Illinois the 13th state to allow gay marriage, but Harris said Friday he didn't have the votes to pass it.
"Several of my colleagues have indicated they would not be willing to cast a vote on this bill today and I have never been sadder such a request, but I have to keep my eye, as we all must, on the ultimate prize," Harris said, appearing to choke back tears. "They asked me for time to go back to their districts and reach out to their minds and hearts."
In Monday's letter, which Harris signed, more than a dozen House members apologized and said that marriage equality will happen. They urge advocates to come together, assess strategy and ramp up efforts.