At the close of the annual Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame celebration at the Chicago Cultural Center on Wednesday evening, Mayor Richard M. Daley reportedly signed a petition that calls for "immediately repealing the discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage" in the state and "demand[ing] that Cook County immediately issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples." According to members of the gay rights group Chicago Anti-Bashing Network and the Equal Marriage NOW! coalition, the mayor was making his way through the crowd when a gay rights activist called out, "Mayor Daley, would you like to sign a petition for equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians?" The mayor briefly glanced at the petition and then signed it in the presence of several witnesses, including his official liason to Chicago's gay and lesbian community, Bill Greaves.
"Considering presumptive senator Barack Obama's cowardly opposition to equal marriage rights for lesbian and gay people, the mayor's endorsement is certainly welcome," said Andy Thayer of the Anti-Bashing Network. "One would hope that Mayor Daley takes to heart the petition's call for the immediate issuance of marriage licenses here in Cook County and publicly calls on his ally, Cook County clerk David Orr, to stop discriminating against lesbian and gay couples forthwith."