Wednesday, July 26, 2006

IFI Rally Done In by Protesters and Rain

IFI Rally Done In by Protesters and Rain
By Andrew Davis
Copyright by The Windy City Times

On July 22, the conservative organization known as the Illinois Family Institute ( IFI ) held an anti-gay rally outside the Lakeview bathhouse Steamworks—a rally cut short by protestors and Mother Nature.

The event, which IFI called an “outreach program” on its Web site, was slated to run from 5:30 p.m. until 12:00 midnight outside the business, Officer Judith Jenkins of Chicago’s 23rd District told Windy City Times. However, rains that took place shortly after the Closing Ceremony of the Gay Games played a part in the group leaving at approximately 7 p.m.

However, according to Andy Thayer of the Gay Liberation Network ( which protested IFI’s rally ) , numbers also were a factor.

Thayer, who sported a button that read “God Loves Us All,” said that “we had three or four times the number [ IFI ] had out here.”

According to Jenkins, IFI had eight members present.

Jenkins also stated that even international visitors took part. “There were these people from Team London [ of the Gay Games ] who were singing and drowned [ IFI ] out,” she said.

Among those scheduled to speak on behalf of IFI were organization president Peter LaBarbera, who was accompanied by an armed bodyguard, and James Hartline, who the group’s Web site described as an ex-gay who contracted HIV at a bathhouse.

The event at Steamworks was the concluding event in a weeklong effort by IFI that was timed to coincide with the Games.


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