was expecting a peaceful event when she joined hundreds of demonstrators in downtown Chicago for a pro-gay marriage rally in March 2004.
Instead, things got rowdy, and Mell was arrested. A female police officer said Mell attacked her, and Mell was taken away in a paddy wagon.
Within 15 minutes her father, Richard Mell, a powerful Chicago alderman, came to her rescue—and soon found himself addressing some 300 polarized protesters on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.
“I love my daughter Deb,” the alderman told the incensed crowd. “She believes fervently in a cause, and she stands for that cause—and I will support anybody who does that.”
Deb Mell was launched that day—and in November she is set to become the first open lesbian to serve in the Illinois general assembly.
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