|Brian C. Johnson, chief executive officer|
Equality Illinois (EI) was founded in 1991 to work towards building a better Illinois by advancing equal treatment and social justice through education, advocacy, and protection of the rights of the LGBT community.
The Equality Illinois Institute focuses on the educational and charitable aspects of the mission. EI's initiatives extend throughout every sector of Illinois life, reaching individuals and organizations both in the LGBTQ community and society at large, across the private, public and non-profit sectors.
The Equality Illinois Political Action Committee (PAC) promotes candidates for public office who will advocate for and support legislation that advances full equality for LGBTQ individuals and families.
The organization is a member of the Equality Federation.
Equality Illinois is the Midwest's largest and most influential LGBTQ civil rights organizations. Among its accomplishments are:
In 2012-2013, Equality Illinois played a significant role advocating for same-sex marriage in Illinois. The organization partnered with Lambda Legal and ACLU of Illinois to create the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition to push for the bill. The same-sex marriage bill passed the legislature in 2013 and was signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn on Nov. 20, 2013.
The Equality Illinois Gala, annually the largest LGBTQ event of its kind in the Midwest, is held every winter to celebrate the previous year's achievements for the Illinois LGBTQ community. This year’s event will celebrate Equality Illinois’ 25th Anniversary Jubilee Year and is expected to draw more than 1,400 guests, including nearly 100 public officials and many community VIPs.
The Equality Illinois Freedom Award is given annually at the Equality Illinois gala to celebrate exemplary allies of the Illinois LGBTQ community. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi will accept the recognition at the Equality Illinois 25th Anniversary Gala on February 6, 2016. Past Freedom Award winners include Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, state Rep. Greg Harris, the late state Comptroller Dawn Clark Netsch, the late state Rep. Mark Beaubien Jr., state Sen. Heather Steans, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, the Chicago Urban League, entertainer Lea DeLaria, the TransLife Center of Chicago House and filmmaker Lana Wachowski.
In 2005 Equality Illinois was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.
Equality Illinois' new logo was unveiled on January 14, 2016. The modern, bright logo represents refreshed vigor for the work of the next quarter century. The new slogan–UNTIL WE'RE ALL EQUAL–summarizes the LGBTQ organization's mission to "build a better Illinois by advancing equal treatment and social justice through education, advocacy and protection of the rights of the LGBTQ community." In the wake of high-profile successes, the organization retooled their organization to build an Equality Illinois that is ready for the next phase of the movement.