Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade is always a fun and lively event. Even as it has suffered in recent years from rampant commercialism pervasive in American culture, its symbolic significance in America’s heartland has never lost its value. Indeed, the Pride Parade is a confluence of business, culture, and politics, an at times toxic soup that spoil the true nature of the event: celebrating one’s identity in a traditionally marginalized group and pushing to advance equal rights.
This year’s festivities were even more significant: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin all saw marriage equality land on their doorsteps in 2014 either through legislation or court rulings. Gay nuptials commenced in Illinois early this year. The Land of Lincoln was only the second Midwestern state to legislatively pass marriage equality. For its part, Minnesota was the first in the Midwest when it passed its own marriage equality bill in 2013.
Momentum has steadily grown in courts across the nation to recognize marriage equality. Indiana began issuing marriage licenses just days before Pride after a federal court struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriages. Wisconsin and Michigan both briefly had marriage equality before Appeals Courts stayed the rulings pending appeal.
In all likelihood, marriage equality will be the law of the land in the
South Bend’s city leaders, particularly Mayor Peter Buttigieg, have been central in the fight for equal rights, approving ordinances that would ban workplace and housing discrimination and symbolically voting on a non-binding resolution to oppose an effort from Republicans in the Indiana legislature to put a gay marriage ban in the state constitution.
While work remains to be done in Indiana to ban workplace discrimination statewide and the fight for marriage equality moves on to other states throughout the country, it is still a time for celebration. Pride provided the perfect opportunity to do just that.