Suburban Gay Couples Say Marriage Equality Makes Pride Sweeter

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), June 29, 2015 | Go to article overview

Suburban Gay Couples Say Marriage Equality Makes Pride Sweeter


Byline: Madhu Krishnamurthy mkrishnamurthy@dailyherald.com

Suburban gay couples say marriage equality makes Pride sweeter

Throngs of people of all colors of the rainbow, their faces beaming, voices cheering and chests puffed out, walked and danced through the streets of Chicago's Boystown neighborhood Sunday for the 46th annual Pride Parade.

The festivities this year were more poignant for the hundreds of thousands who attended the parade coming on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Friday that grants same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states.

"It's great and a blessing," said Courtney Christophe, 19, of Arlington Heights. "It feels so great that I can move to any state that I want to and I can get married. It also gives people more room for acceptance of us."

Christophe and Noemy Olmos, 20, of Mundelein have been together for nearly a year and a half. Though wedding bells aren't in the offing just yet, the duo said they are excited to be part of history in the making and to be living in such a time of acceptance.

The couple walked the parade Sunday along with members of the Angles Pride Youth Program, which serves 40 LGBTQ -- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and those questioning their sexual or gender orientation -- youth in the north and northwest suburbs.

"I have friends who accept me," said Christophe, who is studying theater and digital media at Marquette University in Milwaukee. "I wasn't bullied at all because of this awesome generation."

While things have gotten better for the gay community overall, suburban gay youth still need a lot of support, said Amy Skalinder, executive director of Angles. The program offers support group meetings at the Warren Township Youth and Family Services facility in Gurnee and at Countryside Unitarian Church in Palatine.

"The farther away we get from the city, the more support I find is needed," she said. "They are more isolated. I think that the young people we serve, they don't even know yet how big this is for them. Pride is always fun. It really means so much more this year. It's a validation of our community."

Illinois has sanctioned civil unions since 2011 and has recognized same-sex marriage since 2014.

Palatine residents Joe Serio and Paul Dombrowski have been together 18 years. …

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