News - Kane County

Founder of Fox Valley gay rights group worried Supreme Court will now take aim at same-sex marriage

Out in Fox Valley will hold rallies, marches Saturday and Sunday in downtown Geneva

Out in Fox Valley founder and president Michael Stroud spoke at a ceremony Wednesday morning after St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek raised the first Pride flag in the city's history.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling Friday ending constitutional protections for abortions, the founder and president of the nonprofit group Out in Fox Valley is concerned the Supreme Court will now take action that would restrict gay rights.

St. Charles resident Michael Stroud pointed to comments that Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion that suggests the Supreme Court should reconsider rulings that now protect contraception, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage. As of 2015, same-sex marriage is now federally legal in all 50 states because of a ruling from the Supreme Court.

“There is no doubt in my mind now that they’re going to come for gay marriage,” Stroud said. “I’m scared about this.”

Stroud will lead a rally and march against the Supreme Court’s ruling at noon Saturday in front of the Kane County Courthouse on Third Street in downtown Geneva. He recently organized a march and rally in St. Charles calling for an end to gun violence.

“It’s going to remain peaceful, but it’s going to be loud,” he said. “And I encourage people to bring their signs, to bring their microphones and speakers, whatever they need to do to get their word out. Again, I want it to be peaceful, but I believe we’ve been silent way too long.”

He also will be leading a march and rally at 1 p.m. Sunday, which is when the Swedish Days Parade marches through downtown Geneva for the first time since 2019.

The parade has been on hiatus because of the pandemic. Stroud and other members of Out in Fox Valley were already signed up to march in the parade prior to the Supreme Court ruling.

“I’m going to be encouraging people to rally at the parade starting at 1 p.m.,” Stroud said.

“I’m 38 years old this month,” he said. “I do not remember a time that society wasn’t fighting for equality for some group. And unfortunately, in 38 years of my life, we’re still fighting for equality for people of color. We’re still fighting for equality for LGBTQ persons. We’ve made a lot of advances, but this is such a huge step backwards.”

Stroud believes that women have the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies, even though he personally doesn’t like the idea of abortion.

“But I don’t think anybody truly does,” he said. “But my personal beliefs on the issue should not be forced on a woman who has to deal with this personally with her body.”

Abortions are currently legal in Illinois. Gov. JB Pritzker on Friday said he will call the Illinois General Assembly into a special session in the coming weeks to expand abortion rights in Illinois.

Stroud said more also needs to be done to address the economic inequalities in this country.

“The fact is, women are turning to abortion because of this social reality,” he said. “We have wages that people cannot survive on.”