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Interview With Local Pioneer in Illinois’ Gay Rights Movement

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(Duration: 7:09)

Mary Lee Sargent being arrested at a protest at the state capitol after a committee refused to allow a bill amending the human rights act on May 9, 2001.

Mary Lee Sargent being arrested at a protest at the state capitol after a committee refused to allow a bill amending the human rights act on May 9, 2001.

Governor Pat Quinn’s signature of the same-sex marriage measure Wednesday marks the culmination of a decades-long push in Illinois. Mary Lee Sargent helped shape that movement in Illinois as an activist and organizer in Champaign-Urbana. 

The retired professor of history and gender women’s studies at Parkland College was active in the gay rights movement from its beginnings in the 1960’s until 2003.

She talked with Illinois Public Media’s Lindsey Moon about what it took to get to this moment, and how the gay rights movement evolved.