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Chicago Candidate Seeks Gay Support

Chicago Candidate Seeks Gay Support

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Yet another Chicago mayoral candidate is reaching out to the city's important LGBT constituency -- Gery Chico, who held a meeting Sunday at which he promised to advocate for civil unions and a host of other gay rights causes.

Establishment of civil unions for same-sex couples "is a civil rights issue," Chico told the gathering at Ann Sather's restaurant in the city's largest gay enclave, theChicago Sun-Times reports. He added that civil unions are "not the end of the line but the road to looking at same-sex marriage." The Illinois legislature will consider a civil unions bill Tuesday, and Chico said he would spend Monday lobbying lawmakers.

Chico, who has headed the Chicago public schools and city colleges and served as chief of staff to retiring mayor Richard M. Daley, also said that as mayor he would advocate for domestic-partner benefits, equal employment opportunity, AIDS prevention and treatment, and other advances for LGBT people.

When Chico ran in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in 2004, he was the only candidate who supported marriage equality, said Rick Garcia, public policy director for gay rights group Equality Illinois. The winner of that primary and the general election was now-president Barack Obama.

LGBT Chicagoans have grown accustomed to having a mayor on their side, Garcia said. "Mayor Daley was one of the few mayors who fought for our community and we cannot lose that," he told the Sun-Times.

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