Illinois Republican Leaders Support Marriage Equality

The next state to have a big battle over marriage equality appears to be Illinois, where a bill has been submitted to legalize and recognize same-sex marriages. And in an incredible turn of events, the leader of the Illinois GOP is supporting the bill. This is the chair of the state party, Pat Brady:

“More and more Americans understand that if two people want to make a lifelong commitment to each other, government should not stand in their way,” Brady said.

“Giving gay and lesbian couples the freedom to get married honors the best conservative principles. It strengthens families and reinforces a key Republican value – that the law should treat all citizens equally.”

“Importantly, the pending legislation would protect the freedom of religion,” Brady added. “No church or religious organization would ever be required to perform a union with which it disagrees.”

This is an important development. For those of us who fight for civil rights, change never happens fast enough. But when you look at the history of such battles, the change on marriage equality is happening with remarkable speed. It’s been less than ten years since the Goodridge decision came down in Massachusetts, which is what brought the issue to the fore, and the shift in public opinion has been astonishing.

12 comments on this post.
  1. tacitus:

    Shorter Brady: “Gay marriage has outlived its usefulness as a wedge issue in elections. Time to move on. (And we’ve still got abortion.)”

  2. Draken:

    Oh, the usual Repu… wait WHAT?!?

    I bet his party comrades will go nuclear.

  3. John Pieret:

    Unfortunately for Brady, the grass-roots Republicans who decide who will be the leader of the Illinois GOP aren’t part of that group of Americans. I suspect he is not long for his position.

  4. abb3w:

    Back at the end of November, a PPP poll showed +5 overall support in Illinois, +21 under age 45. Support was wider for letting the voters decide, but Republicans were more opposed to that — possibly because a significant fraction may be aware enough to realize they will likely lose. The Illinois Independents still aren’t convinced (34:47, more opposed), to say nothing of the GOP (19:77, more opposed).

    Given the opposition from the GOP base, that’s pretty brave for the state party chair.

    My impression at this point is that using popular referenda to settle the issue may be the most secure route to victory. When the courts decide the issue, the fundies scream about activist judges legislating from the bench; when the legislature passes a law, they scream about legislatures ignoring the will of the people. But when a referendum passes, they seem to cut their losses, and retreat to redder territory.

  5. Vicki:

    Yes, they scream, and we go on with our lives. New York did it by legislation, and the antis screamed, and a couple of Republicans who voted for the bill lost their seats, and the rest of us are going on with our lives, and arguing about other issues, like recovery from Sandy or soft drink sizes (don’t ask).

  6. Didaktylos:

    There is such a thing as a pragmatic Republican. When you’re in a fight you can’t win, get out on the best terms you can.

  7. John Hinkle:

    @tacitus

    Or, “Gay marriage has moved from the asset column to the liability column. Besides, we always were for marriage equality.”

  8. Doug Little:

    Oh I can see some head explosions on the horizon, its gonna be like the 4th of July sit back and enjoy the show. Maybe synchronize it to Jimmy Hendrix’s rendition of the Start Spangled Banner,

    Da Da Da Da Da Daaaaaaaa, Kablammmm.

  9. Doug Little:

    soft drink sizes (don’t ask)

    Don’t have to. Anybody who watches The Daily Show is very familiar with the issue.

  10. baal:

    The problem with the drink cup size limit is that it’s too little and marginal and not that it’s an evil totalitarian abuse of governmental power*. The obesity rate in the US is a national shame and our so-called ‘food’ has a lot to do with it.

    As to the OP, I see the (R) leaders in IL are looking down the road and want to win bigger margins in the elections (or at least need to gerrymander / cheat less).

    *If you care about governmental power abuse (and you might since Ed hits it a lot) worry about the privacy invasions and excessive powers available for policing.

  11. meg:

    I actually won an argument with an equal marriage opponent (ie, made him seriously accept that my view may have been right.) I switched strategies. Rather than doing the whole ‘civil rights’ line to start with, I asked exactly HOW it would affect him personally. Who did he know who would get married and upset things? How would two people he didn’t know getting married impact his life? It threw him for a bit as he realised he had no actual response.

    He came back a week or so later and said that while he still had ‘issues’ (his word) he realised that no, it didn’t impact him, so he had no reason to oppose it that didn’t make him look like a bigot.

    I’m not sure which way he’d vote if that’s what it came down to, but the fact that I made him really look at what he was thinking made me think that maybe we can win this one. Slowly, true, but hey, one more person who isn’t an opponent (as opposed to a proponent) is a plus, right?

  12. StevoR, fallible human being:

    Yes!

    But when you look at the history of such battles, the change on marriage equality is happening with remarkable speed.

    And may the pace of equal marruiage reform only get faster! (Rauses beer, toatss that.)

    Good news, nice to hear.

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