GOP’s Bill Brady would ban gay marriage if elected

Thu. February 11, 2010 12:00 AM by News Staff

state senator bill brady (r-bloomington)

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Chicago, IL - The GOP front-runner for Illinois Governor, State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), announced that he would amend the Illinois Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions if he were elected.

The downstate Republican declared his opposition to marriage equality yesterday according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

"I think the people of Illinois already spoke on this issue several years ago when we soundly defeated an attempt to get a referendum on the ballot banning gay marriage," Equality Illinois President Jeremy Gottschalk told "If elected, Brady can expect to be defeated in the same way."

It's still undecided if Brady or State Senator Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) will represent Republicans in the November general election. Brady who still remains close in the polls to Dillard, despite only getting 5.41% of the votes in a crowded race for the GOP nomination. Brady is gaining traction as absentee ballots and provisional ballots are being counted.

In addition to banning gay marriage, the downstate Republican wants to impose term limits, overhaul the process of redrawing legislative districts and make it more difficult to pass state tax increases.

Brady, a social conservative, voted against a 2005 state law banning discrimination against gays and lesbians in matters of housing and employment.

"Brady has supported or co-sponsored every piece of anti-gay legislation there has been in Springfield - from a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage to gutting the Illinois Human Rights Act," Equality Illinois political director Rick Garcia told

According to Progress Illinois, Brady only supports abortion in cases where the mother's life is at stake, not in instances of rape or incest. He opposes any use of taxpayer funds for embryonic stem cell research and he's supported anti-immigrant legislation.

"This is someone who is totally outside the values of the majority of Illinoisans," said Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago). "Those of us who believe in fairness and social justice cannot allow the right wing and those who want to turn back the clock to win just because we have a low turnout election. People must exercise their right to vote this fall."

Dillard, who is also opposed to gay marriage and civil unions, has not indicated whether he would push to change the Constitution.

During the primary, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Hynes said he supports full marriage equality. Hynes narrowly lost to Gov. Pat Quinn who supports civil unions.

Mica Matsoff, Communications Director at Quinn for Illinois, told today that Governor Quinn is "vehemently opposed to any legislation banning same-sex marriage."

"The Governor remains a strong outspoken supporter of equal rights," said Matsoff. "He will work actively with the legislature to ensure fairness and equal justice."

In late January, Garcia told's Amy Wooten that Illinois is very close to having the votes needed to pass civil unions legislation introduced by Rep. Harris. In fact, Garcia was certain the bill could have passed last session.

Despite this confidence, given the political landscape and Brady's latest proclamation, there are no guarantees.

"I still have great hope for LGBT equality in Illinois," Garcia told today. "Change, especially political change, takes time."

"Polling in the past has indicated that Illinois voters support civil unions and there is growing support in the legislature," Said Garcia. "I am hopeful that we will pass the civil union bill sooner than later."

A CBS News/New York Times Poll from June found 63% of Americans favor either gay marriage or civil unions with 32% opposing legal recognition of gay relationships. A FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll from May found 66% in favor with only 29% opposing gay marriage or civil unions.

"His [Brady's] position reminds us why it is critical for us to support organizations like Equality Illinois and other gay rights groups and to call our legislators to express our support for civil unions and gay marriage," said Gottschalk.

The Illinois General Election is on Tuesday, November 2.

Amy Wooten, Jay Shaff and Michael Lehet contributed to this report.