CHICAGO -- Leaders of a 'stamp gay dollars' campaign have vowed to continue their crusade to show the economic strength of the gay community despite the threat of legal action by the U.S. attorney's office.
U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas sent letters Friday to tavern owners Frank Kellas and Marge Summitt warning them to 'cease and desist' because the campaign violates federal law against defacing currency.
Kellas and Summitt started the campaign in which the phrase 'gay $' is stamped in red on paper currency. The stamps have been distributed to 75 gay bars in the Chicago area, Summitt said at a news conference Tuesday.
Summitt, the owner of a North Side bar called His and Hers, estimated that nearly $5 million in bills have been stamped since the campaign was started Sept. 1.
The campaign was initiated because the City Council failed to pass a gay rights ordinance last summer.
'We are here today to declare that we, as individuals, intend to continue to stamp out money,' Kellas said.
'We will continue to do so until the civil rights ordinance is passed,' said Kellas, who owns a North Side bar called Gold Coast.
Kellas and Summitt also announced a boycott of a North Side bank which they say has been removing the bills from circulation. Members of the gay community plan to meet at the Lakeview Bank later in the week to withdraw their money.
Kellas said 70 percent of the bank's business was from homosexual men and women.