Longtime LGBTQ community supporter and former Governor Pat Quinn unveils portrait

Tue. May 9, 2017 6:28 PM by Brian Troutman

illinois gov. quinn signs historic marriage equality bill

photo credit // rick aguilar
Springfield, IL - After over two years since leaving office, former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has finally unveiled his official portrait.

Quinn is a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community whose contributions included decisive support for anti-bullying, HIV funding, non-discriminatory policies, and signing legislation to make Illinois the 16th state to provide full marriage equality.

Jacob Meister, chairman of The Civil Rights Agenda and member of the steering committee of Illinois United for Marriage, recalled fighting alongside the former governor to make Illinois the 16th State to legalize gay marriage.

"As governor, Pat Quinn's leadership was vital to the passage of both civil unions and marriage equality," Meister told ChicagoPride.com. "On both bills, he expended his political capital to get needed votes and he was able to secure those votes. He was and still is a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community."

According to the Associated Press, this portrait is the first "interactive" portrait to grace the Hall of Governors. There are 44 "found items" representing key people, issues, and events from throughout his political career, including marriage equality. 

Each item is explained on the "Governor Quinn Portrait " website. Visitors can also use the Thyng app, where scanning the portrait with a smartphone will automatically launch an explanatory video.

"As we look at all these portraits of men who were elected to lead the state of Illinois, it's important to remember all of the men and women whose votes brought them into office," Quinn said during the unveiling ceremony. "We hope to remind visitors that, in a democracy, the highest office is the office of citizen, and that all of us have a responsibility to participate in our government."

The Democratic former governor came to power in 2009 during a tumultuous time in Illinois politics, rising from Lieutenant Governor after the removal of his running mate, disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich. He served until 2015, after being defeated in the 2014 election by current Governor Bruce Rauner.

Quinn broke from the tradition of previous governors using public financing. Instead, he raised the funds privately.