Thomas R. Chiola

Last updated
Thomas R. Chiola
Judge of the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County
In office
Succeeded byCelia G. Gamrath
Personal details
Born (1952-03-18) March 18, 1952 (age 67)
Alma mater Illinois State University (B.S.)
University of Illinois College of Law (J.D.)

Thomas R. Chiola (born March 18, 1952) served as a judge of the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County from 1994 to 2009. He was the first openly gay person elected to public office in Illinois. [1]


Early life and education

Chiola grew up in Springfield, Illinois. [2] He graduated from Springfield's Griffin High School (now Sacred Heart-Griffin High School) in 1970. Chiola then received a Bachelor of Science from Illinois State University in 1974 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1977. [3]

Springfield, Illinois State capital and city in Illinois, United States

Springfield is the capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County. The city's population was 116,250 at the 2010 U.S. Census, which makes it the state's sixth most-populous city and the largest city in central Illinois. As of 2013, the city's population was estimated to have increased to 117,006, with just over 211,700 residents living in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sangamon County and the adjacent Menard County.

Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, often abbreviated SHG, is Springfield, Illinois' largest private high school. The school is Roman Catholic and is located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. It opened in the fall of 1988 after Sacred Heart Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school merged with Griffin High School, an all-boys Catholic High School located across the street. Even prior to the merger, certain classes at both schools were taught on a co-educational basis.

A Bachelor of Science is an undergraduate academic degree awarded for completed courses that generally last three to five years, or a person holding such a degree.

Judicial service

In 1994, Chiola was elected to the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County. [4] [5] Chiola was the first openly gay candidate elected to any federal, state, county or municipal office in Illinois. [4] [5]


In 1997 Chiola was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. [6]

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  1. Byron Flitsch, History-making gay judge set to retire, Windy City Times (January 6, 2010).
  2. Neal Pollack, In and Out, Chicago Reader (August 18, 1994).
  3. Thomas R. Chiola - Lawyer Profile, Martindale .
  4. 1 2 Steve Schmadeke, Gay, lesbian judges in Cook County note their progress, Chicago Tribune (December 6, 2009).
  5. 1 2 Joan Biskupic, Amid debate over rights, number of gay judges rising, USA Today (October 17, 2006).
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-06. Retrieved 2015-04-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)