LGBTQ+ Kane County residents received support and recognition from their county board for the first time in 186 years Tuesday as representatives approved a proclamation supporting Pride Month. The vote was not unanimous.
The Kane County Board hosted a special meeting as only a handful of days remain in Pride Month.
County board Chair Corinne Pierog said the month had personal meaning for her. She told the story of having a crush on a friend named Charlie while growing up. She could never understand why she had no success courting Charlie’s attention beyond friendship. It was only when she was an adult and caught up on what Charlie had been up to that she learned he became a bartender in Las Vegas. He was beaten to death because he was gay, Pierog learned.
That was the first time she understood the importance of recognizing and supporting LGBTQ+ people.
“I never really realized the impact of being gay in an anti-gay culture,” Pierog said. “Talk to these individuals. They are your neighbors, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, work associates. They are no different from anybody, yet they are. We need to celebrate our diversity and support it.”
Michael Stroud, a co-founder of the nonprofit Out in Fox Valley, thanked the board for its support. He said those with faith objections to LGBTQ+ people do not align with his faith.
“Nothing can separate us from the love of God,” Stroud said. “Sexual identity and gender identity are components of a person’s personality and, as such, are part of who God made us each to be. God welcomes all people of all genders and sexual identities. Please don’t let any prayer of any faith be used against your identity or who you are or what you stand for. That’s not what Christ stood for.”
Board member Bill Roth, a Republican, voted “present” on the proclamation. Fellow Republican board member David Young was the lone “no” vote.
After the vote, Young objected that he was not recognized to make a statement. Pierog said she did not see Young, who attended the meeting via Zoom, asking for time to speak before the vote.
“Now the vote has been taken,” Young told Pierog after the vote. “You did not follow procedure. It doesn’t really matter now. It’s over with. That’s disappointing.”
The proclamation comes two years after Democrats gained a firm majority on the county board for the first time in recent memory.