Now that same-sex marriage has been achieved in Illinois, is the gay rights campaign over? No, says Bernard Cherkasov, head of the group Equality Illinois, who says measures to prevent bullying in school are next on the agenda, and he says in comparison to marriage, this is not a minor issue. “For those young people who identify as LGBT and are three times more likely to attempt suicide because they’re being bullied in school, because they’re being rejected by people they know in their lives, those anti-bullying laws are not minor. This is a matter of life and death for them,” he said.
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He said Illinois has a law that requires schools to have anti-bullying policies on the books. What’s lacking, he says, are the resources to allow schools to create an environment of respect in which bullying is less likely to happen. The other issue is a national non-discrimination law regarding employment, which passed the U.S. Senate on Thursday, with the support of both Illinois senators, but is unlikely to get a House vote. Also, the judge hearing the Illinois lawsuit over same-sex marriage has issued a stay, and will consider declaring the case moot once the measure is signed into law. The governor has set a Nov. 20 date for that.