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Springfield Comes Out For PrideFest
Thousands of people came out for the third annual Springfield PrideFest in the capital city's downtown.
"This festival is so important because it allows and encourages lesbian and gay people to be open and honest and proud," Civil Rights Agenda Political Director Rick Garcia said.
The fight for same-sex marriage has been waging for years, but for the folks at PrideFest, it seems another celebration is just around the bend.
"There are 12 states now that have equal marriage for same-sex couples and Illinois, I am happy to say, is on the verge," Garcia said.
Just this month, Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota passed same-sex marriage legislation. Here in our state, a bill has already passed the Senate. It is now awaiting approval in the House.
"I think that Illinois will be the 13th state to affirm that these loving couples will be protected," Garcia said.
Loving couples like A.J. Kuhl and Andrew Collins of Hillsboro.
"We have a lot of people that support us, and times are changing, and all that's dragging their heels is government," Collins said.
Many feel the issue is ignored in the central part of the state even though it is a central part of their lives.
"I think there's a lot more of a conservative mindset here but I think that Springfield has been very welcoming of our festival," PrideFest Chair Jonna Cooley said.
PrideFest packs three blocks of downtown Springfield for the celebration of pride and hope.
"I really wish that it would just happen everywhere so that we can, we can move on and do other things related to the community with LGBT community," Dontea O'Neal of Springfield said.
If the House passes that legislation, Gov. Pat Quinn has announced publicly that he will then sign it.