Chicago Pride to Host Freedom to Marry Founder and President Evan Wolfson as Grand Marshal


Press Contact:

Angela Dallara

Communications Associate


CHICAGO – This weekend, Freedom to Marry founder and President Evan Wolfson will serve as Grand Marshal of Chicago’s 43rd annual Pride Parade, leading hundreds of thousands of participants in celebrations as momentum builds to win the freedom to marry in Illinois.  Same-sex couples in Illinois currently can only enter into civil union, but not marriage itself.  The parade comes just weeks after President Obama explained that personal conversations with his family as well as committed gay couples and their families had led him to join the majority of Americans who support the freedom to marry. Wolfson will be joined by his husband, Dr. Cheng He, whom he married in New York this past October.

I'm honored to return to Chicago as Grand Marshal in the Pride Parade -- and especially happy to seize the chance to help ramp up the campaign to finish the job and build on civil union to win the freedom to marry in Illinois,” said Wolfson.  “Civil union offers some protections to families in tough economic times, but is no substitute for marriage itself, with all its meaning.  With urgent Illinois opportunities now to secure the freedom to marry both in the courts and the legislature, and with Illinois’s favorite son in the White House showing the power of conversations about why marriage matters, it’s time to talk neighbor to neighbor about our love, commitment, and families, and grow support for the freedom to marry all across the Land of Lincoln.”

Prior to founding Freedom to Marry in 2003, Wolfson served as the marriage project director for Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, was co-counsel in the historic Hawaii marriage case that launched the ongoing global movement for the freedom to marry, and participated in numerous gay rights and HIV/AIDS-related cases.  Citing his national leadership on marriage and his appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court in Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale, the National Law Journal in 2000 named Wolfson one of "the 100 most influential lawyers in America."  In 2004, Time magazine named him one of "the 100 most influential people in the world."  Newsweek called Wolfson “the godfather of gay marriage,” and earlier this year Andrew Sullivan hailed him as “the indispensable man in bringing marriage equality to America.”  Wolfson’s book, Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry, was published by Simon & Schuster in July 2004.  

The parade will feature almost 200 community organizations, businesses, government officials and community members.  It starts Sunday, June 24, at 12:00pm on the corner of Broadway and Montrose Avenue.


Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide.  We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination.  We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.