Opposite-sex clothing bans could be repealed in Schaumburg, Des Plaines

Just ahead of a planned vote to remove an old Elk Grove Village law that makes it illegal to wear clothes intended for the opposite sex, the mayors in Schaumburg and Des Plaines said Tuesday they hope to remove similar language in their municipal codes.

All three towns have 1960s-era laws on the books that label the wearing of opposite-sex clothing “indecent” offenses. On Wednesday morning, Elk Grove's village board is scheduled to vote to repeal its 1961 ordinance, just hours before a rally originally planned to protest the law.

Des Plaines Mayor Andrew Goczkowski and Schaumburg Mayor Tom Dailly said they learned of similar laws in their towns in recent days from Elk Grove resident and attorney Jim Naughton, who alerted Mayor Craig Johnson to the Elk Grove Village code provision a year ago.

And like Johnson did last week, Goczkowski and Dailly said they were taking steps to scrub the laws from their books.

“If it's just out of date and it's not compatible with the norms of society today, then we should definitely address it,” Goczkowski said. “This particular one we're talking about comes from a time period where I think folks were significantly less accepting of alternative lifestyles and things like that.”

Goczkowski said the 1963 city ordinance that makes it unlawful for someone to appear in public “in a dress not belonging to his sex” is scheduled for a repeal vote by the city council July 19.

In Schaumburg, Dailly said the town's 1960 ordinance — approved four years after the village's incorporation — would ultimately be removed. He also requested the village's attorneys do at least a cursory review of village code to see if there are other old laws that should be repealed.

“I passed it onto legal and said we need to obviously adjust our code,” Dailly said after Naughton sent him a note. “I don't want to spend days and weeks on it ... but at least let's take a glance through things and see if they see anything else in there that's not pertinent.”

The Elk Grove Village board's repeal vote is scheduled during a special meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, when trustees also will vote on tax increment financing issues.

The “Say It With Pride Equality Now!” event is still scheduled to take place at 4 p.m. at the Elk Grove clock tower, organizer Kaylyn Ahn said.

While Elk Grove plans to amend its code earlier in the day, Ahn said activists still plan to use the afternoon event to encourage Schaumburg and Des Plaines officials to repeal their similar rules.

Organizers also have called on Johnson to fly the Pride flag at the Elk Grove municipal complex, though he's rejected that request, saying it's been long-standing village policy to fly only the U.S., Illinois and village flags.

Elk Grove plans to repeal opposite sex clothing ban

Andrew Goczkowski
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