Crowds turn out for equality rally

Published 09/16 2013 02:03PM

Updated 09/16 2013 03:49PM

DECATUR -- More than 100 people lined the streets Saturday, hoping lawmakers hear their pleas will sway a few to their point of view on same-sex marriage in Illinois. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine has the story.

"Black, white, gay straight. Love does not discriminate."

Those words are what brought nearly 150 people together outside the Civic Center.

"It's about love. It's not about fear. It's about government validation that our love is 'valid.'"

That validation comes in the form of Senate Bill 10. The bill seeks marriage equality in Illinois, but State Representatives Bill Mitchell (R) and Sue Scherer (D) are both opposed to it. So, protestors brought signs, flags and some comfortable shoes in hopes of changing that.

"The turnout here today is amazing. I think this sends a message to both Representatives Mitchell and Scherer that times are changing and more and more people support equality in marriage."

Supporters walked to city hall, standing on Water, Franklin and Main streets, changing exactly what they want. Among those in the crowd, former Army veteran Linda Ryherd-Schroeder.

"Nancy and I were the first couple in the whole state of Illinois to receive a civil union license."

But even with that opportunity, it still didn't give them the benefits of being married.

"Knowing that I am fighting for my country, I served my country and all the same rights that everyone enjoys, we can't enjoy the same rights and benefits under the law."

The Stephen Decatur statue was the backdrop for Saturday's event, but they plan on paying President Lincoln a visit in Springfield.

"I've been fighting this fight well over 20-years. It will happen. It will happen."

Two marches are scheduled to take place in Springfield; September 22 and October 22. Illinois would be the 14th state to allow same-sex marriage.

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