Chicago on Friday joined cities across the country to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke at Sidetrack in the city's Boystown neighborhood as part of a "Decision Day" Celebration hosted by the bar and Lambda Legal, an organization that represents members of the gay community and people with HIV/AIDS.
"If you want to be a forward-thinking city, you cannot have a set of laws that are backwards," Emanuel said. "And when we changed Illinois, as I like to say, so goes Chicago, so goes Illinois, now so goes the country."
Illinois legislators Rep. Greg Harris, Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Sen. Heather Steans also spoke at the event along with Lambda Legal attorneys and past Illinois marriage plaintiffs.
Cassidy thanked supporters and her family who she said never questioned who she is. "We grew up knowing love is love," she said.
“The City of Chicago applauds and celebrates today’s historic decision by the United States Supreme Court," Emanuel said earlier in the day. "By ruling that every American has a right to marry whomever they love regardless of where they live, today marks one of the great civil rights victories of our time."
A community speak-out co-sponsored by the Gay Liberation Network and Marriage Equality USA also is planned at 7 p.m. in front of the city's LGBT community center, the Center on Halsted.
The event is one of about 50 other celebrations sponsored by the two organizations planned across the country.
Allison Buchwach, a volunteer for Marriage Equality USA and co-organizer for the Chicago speak-out, applauded the Supreme Court's decision but warned there's more work ahead.
"For many years, the Court's 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, KS anti-segregation ruling didn't actually end segregation," Buchwach said. "Racists worked hard to preserve segregation and discrimination, and so it survived long after the court's decision. Anti-LGBTs will undoubtedly do the same and find ways to undermine today's Supreme Court victory. For this reason and despite today's huge victory, we must understand its limitations and remember that equality is a goal attained by remaining organized and vocal."