Illinois Restaurant Association Supports the Freedom to Marry as Campaign Builds Toward Veto Session

IRA President cites economic benefits, saying “it’s the right thing to do —and it’s good for business”

CHICAGO – October 10, 2013 – With the Illinois General Assembly poised to return to Springfield in less than two weeks, the Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) today announced its strong support for the freedom to marry and urged members of the Illinois House to act quickly in passing SB10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act:

“As owners of small and large businesses, our members know the importance of treating all customers equally,” said IRA president Sam Toia. “It’s the right thing to do — and it’s good for business.”

Toia pointed to a study released in March by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law showing that marriage equality would generate up to $103 million in spending in Illinois within the first three years of SB10’s passage. The boost to the wedding business and related industries such as hospitality would create 281 jobs, the study estimated.

Last month, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback came to Chicago to invite same-sex couples from Chicago to travel to Minneapolis to get legally married.  ”This means that instead of keeping business and dollars in Illinois, couples and their families will leave the state to hold their weddings, their receptions, and their rehearsal dinners,” Toia said. “As a businessman, I worry that Illinois is falling behind.”

“The time has come to pass SB10,” Toia concluded.

Illinois Unites, the coalition supporting the freedom to marry for all loving, committed couples – already strong with business, labor and community leaders, civic organizations, faith institutions and members of the clergy, African-American and Latino leaders, Republicans and Democrats – continues to grow.

Some of these couples are profiled at, along with information on the legislation and how citizens can make their voices heard.


For additional information, contact Eric Herman at 773.405.8124.