Gay rights advocates extremely concerned over potential Brady win

Mon. September 13, 2010 2:49 PM by Kevin Wayne

state sen. bill brady

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Advocates: Brady win could jeopardize years of gains for LGBT community

Chicago, IL - A new poll published last week in the New York Times has Illinois gay rights advocates ‘extremely concerned' that foes to equality could win in Illinois this midterm election, jeopardizing years of gains for the LGBT community.

Statistician Nate Silver, from the legendary 'Five Thirty Eight' blog which is now published in the Times, is predicting that conservative Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady has an 86.7 percent of winning the race for Illinois governor.

"People who are concerned about fairness should be very concerned that Bill Brady is doing so well in the polls," Equality Illinois public policy director Rick Garcia told "Brady is not only no friend of the gay community he is a hard right wing opponent of our basic rights."

Brady and his Democratic opponent, Gov. Pat Quinn, differ significantly on social issues including gay rights, including marriage equality, and women's and minority rights.

Brady, a former real estate developer from downstate Bloomington, Illinois, not only opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions, but he favors an amendment to the Illinois constitution banning equal marriage rights for LGBT citizens. Brady has said he would veto any civil union legislation. 

Seen as a far-right candidate, Brady has proposed the repeal of minimum wage law, sponsored legislation that would cut benefits for workers who are injured on the job and sponsored legislation that allows pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception to women. 

The Applied Research Center, an organization that promotes racial equity, awarded Brady a grade of ‘F' based on his voting record according to the State Journal-Register

"Stop this guy, he is dangerous," state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) said at a public appearance for Quinn in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood on Aug. 8. "He [Brady] will hurt this community."

Quinn, the former lieutenant governor who replaced the disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich, remains solid in his support of civil unions legislation, yet has failed to show support for full marriage equality. Quinn says he will sign civil unions legislation. 

"I support the civil-unions bill and am working for its passage. The governor does have a great deal of influence [in such matters] . I think we have a good chance of passing it by this year," Quinn told the Windy City Times in an interview published Sept. 8.

Last year a house bill to allow civil unions in Illinois was successfully voted out of committee, but never came up for a full vote. Equality Illinois has renewed the push and remains optimistic that the bill can get enough votes to succeed - if Quinn is elected. 

"Bill Brady doesn't bode well for LGBT issues or for any progressive issues," openly-gay state Rep. Greg Harris (D) told "The LGBT community ought to be concerned as hell."

Silver's prediction for the governor's race is of concern to gay rights groups.

"Equality Illinois PAC is extremely concerned about this race," said Garcia. "We have been registering voters throughout the state. We were in Peoria this past weekend. We have been distributing information on Brady's anti-gay positions and we are embarking on an aggressive get out the vote campaign," said Garcia.

Quinn has received the endorsement of Equality Illinois Political Action Committee.

The race for one of Illinois' two U.S. Senate seats is also seen as important to gay rights. Illinois Treasurer and Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Alexi Giannoulias is running against Republican Congressman Mark Kirk for President Barack Obama's old Senate seat, currently held by Roland Burris.

Giannoulias is seen as an ally for gay rights. Kirk, who is seen as a political moderate, supports the controversial ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy and opposes marriage equality. 

Silver's predictions for the Senate race, though closer, could also threaten gay rights in the state. Silver believes Kirk will receive 48.7 percent of the vote In November, and Giannoulias will receive 48.2 percent.

Having correctly predicted the winner of 49 of 50 states in the 2008 presidential election, Silver is nationally recognized for his accuracy in predicting political races.

"We can not afford a Brady win," concluded Garcia. "It is no understatement that the gains our community has made would be jeopardized under him and moving forward would be almost impossible." has requested comment from both the Brady and Quinn campaigns.

The Illinois general election is Nov. 2.