The Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, believed to be the only such institution affiliated with a city government, will remain tied to the city for now, despite the withdrawal of municipal financial backing, Gay Chicago reports.
The hall of fame is financed primarily through private donations and fund-raising events, but the city has provided it with some material support -- including staff time, postage, and underwriting for the annual induction ceremony -- for years, but new mayor Rahm Emanuel announced last month that it can no longer afford to do so.
At a meeting last week, the Chicago Commission on Human Relations' Advisory Council on LGBT Issues delayed taking action on whether to end its role in managing the hall and turn everything over to a newly formed Friends of the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, a private nonprofit organization.
"We get a certain amount of prestige from the fact that we are a city organization rather than a private organization," said advisory council member William B. Kelley. "To me that's an intangible benefit that shouldn't be cast aside lightly."
The human relations commission, a city agency, has said the hall of fame could still use the city seal in its materials, but members of the advisory council wanted more formal assurance of that. They decided to hold off any action on maintaining or cutting ties to the hall of fame pending further discussion.
Due to the change in city policy, the hall of fame will hold its induction ceremony, set for November, at the Chicago History Museum this year, rather than at the city-owned Chicago Cultural Center.
The city is also withdrawing financial support for Chicago's annual salute to LGBT veterans, the only municipally sponsored event of its type. American Veterans for Equal Rights, a private group that has sponsored the event in conjunction with the city, is trying to keep the event going.