Excerpted from an article by Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI) on November 1st, 2013 http://www.uuani.org/new-blog/2017/5/20/illinois-uus-march-for-marriage-equality
Rev. Khleber Van Zandt didn’t think he or anyone else from First Unitarian Church of Alton would make it to Springfield for the March for Marriage Equality on October 22. Then at church two days before the event, he was talking with a 71 year-old member of the congregation who was apologizing for being a little grumpy. The member commented that it had been an emotional time in their life. Rev. Van Zandt suggested that perhaps he had said something that had made the member upset. “No,” the member replied, “it’s because I’m this close to being considered equal to you. I’ve been down in the bottom of the closet for 71 years, and it’s finally time I came all the way out so I can marry the person I love.” Both Rev. Van Zandt and the member made it to the March, along with five other members from Alton.
Stories like this were the heart of the day as 300 UU’s from 23 congregations – from Carbondale to Stockton, from McHenry to Quincy – gathered in Springfield to march for marriage equality and launch the Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI). Buses full of UU’s left from Chicago, Evanston, Palatine, Naperville, Rockford, Peoria, and Bloomington starting at 6 am, and met in Springfield, where we birthed UUANI with songs and stories, leadership elections and lunch, and a rally and march at the state Capitol.
About 100 of us gathered first at Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation in Springfield. Over a soup and sandwich lunch graciously provided by the Springfield congregation, we got to know UU’s from other congregations and share why we were there and what we hoped for. Also with us were 5 young adults from the Ujima homeless shelter in Chicago, one of whom serenaded us on the piano.
UU’s were out in force at the Capitol, with at least a dozen Standing on the Side of Love banners and scores of yellow shirts. Four members of the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale met with their state legislator and helped clear up some of her misconceptions about the marriage equality bill. Meanwhile, dozens of UU’s continue to make calls from phone banks at their home congregations.
Sharing stories, making connections, building relationships, growing spiritually, deepening our values, creating partnerships, and putting all that into action that makes a difference – that’s what UUANI is all about.
Note: Marriage equality was passed in Illinois on November 5, and the governor signed the legislation on November 20.
Read the full article at UUANI.org
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