Here's a little more info:On the campaign trail, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner has tried to steer clear of the social issues that are near-and-dear to some conservatives.
But on Monday – one day after same-sex couples were legally allowed to marry across Illinois – Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn tried to drive that particular issue to the forefront.
Quinn stood front and center as the sole member in the wedding party of gay-rights activists Patrick Bova, 76, and James Darby, 82.
Fresh off a spring legislative session in which Democratic majorities failed to act on several of Quinn’s key campaign issues, the ceremony gave Quinn the opportunity to celebrate something that he does call a success: signing the state’s same-sex marriage bill into law.
Bova and Darby, who say they’ve been together for over 50 years, lobbied the Legislature to pass a gay marriage bill. And they were guests of Quinn during a bill signing ceremony last November.
The governor beamed when the two exchanged vows, rings and a kiss during the short candle-lit wedding at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Afterwards, Quinn went after Rauner, without mentioning his opponent by name.
“I didn’t need a referendum to tell me what was the right thing to do,” Quinn told reporters, tweaking Rauner, who once said he would have vetoed the bill because the public was not asked how they felt through a referendum on the ballot.
“The right thing was to pass the marriage equality bill and for me, the governor, to sign it into law,” Quinn said. - Chicago Sun Times, 6/2/14
Here's the letter LGBT rights groups have signed:At a Monday press conference at Daley Plaza in Chicago, advocates criticized Rauner for stating last December that he would have vetoed the marriage equality bill had it come to his desk as governor in an audio clip shared by the Capitol Fax political blog.
Marriage equality advocates associated with Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal, The Civil Rights Agenda and other groups, as well as several elected officials and community leaders, signed onto an open letter criticizing Rauner distributed Sunday.
"Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, claims to be a social moderate," the letter read. "We know the real Bruce Rauner. His administration would very likely be working behind-the-scenes to block new legislation and erode the existing laws protecting our families."
Marriage equality advocates are also pointing out that Rauner's running mate, Wheaton City Council member Evelyn Sanguinetti, has also expressed her belief in "the traditional definition" of marriage -- suggesting she is opposed to same-sex marriage.
In response to the criticism, Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf told the Chicago Tribune that "Bruce doesn't have a social issues agenda, and doesn't have an agenda to change the law on gay marriage." - Huffington Post, 6/2/14
Throughout the campaign for marriage equality, we heard the stories of LGBT couples across Illinois — couples from all walks of life, couples with children, couples who had been together for decades. Those couples wanted to be able to care for and protect their families through marriage.And Rauner is trying to act like he can't remember claiming he would've vetoed Illinois' marriage-equality bill:
A robust debate occurred last year over whether all Illinois couples and families should be treated equally and with dignity under the law. Today, as we celebrate the official commencement of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, we honor those officials who stood for freedom and equality.
We also remember those public figures, like Bruce Rauner, who chose the side of bigotry and intolerance.
Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, claims to be a social moderate. In public and in the media, he claims not to "have a social agenda" and that "it doesn't matter" how he feels about marriage equality.
Rauner can't have it both ways. A real leader takes a stand. But we now know how he really feels. Last year at a Tea Party gathering in Quincy, he had this to say about marriage equality: "They haven't approved it in a referendum, so if I were governor I would veto."
Rauner opposes the freedom to marry. If he had been Governor, the many couples across Illinois who today are celebrating new families would still be relegated to a second-class legal status. Bruce Rauner, as he said in Quincy, has no problem with that.
We know the real Bruce Rauner. His administration would very likely be working behind-the-scenes to block new legislation and erode the existing laws protecting our families.
Just look at the GOP "top of the ticket" and the elected officials Rauner surrounds himself with, like running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti and U.S. Senate candidate Jim Oberweis, both of who strongly oppose the freedom to marry, LGBT family adoption rights and other legal protections. Moreover, he has given tens of thousands of dollars to anti-LGBT candidates throughout our state.
The record is clear: LGBT couples and their families will not be welcome in Bruce Rauner's Illinois. All of us, friends and family alike, must remember who really stands with the LGBT community this November.
Bernard Cherkasov, CEO, Equality Illinois
Art Johnston, Founder of Equality Illinois
Jim Bennett, Midwest Regional Director, Lambda Legal
Jeremy Gottschalk, Chair, Equality Illinois PAC
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy
State Rep. Ann Williams
John Kohlhepp, Campaign Manager, Illinois Unites for Marriage
David Munar, President & CEO, Howard Brown Health Center
Anthony Martinez, Executive Director, Civil Rights Agenda
Alyx S. Pattison, Candidate, Second Ward Alderman
Willard Dumas III
Jennifer and Leslie Henry
And there's a good reason Rauner doesn't want to talk about marriage equality:Rauner’s campaign could not verify the account or provide a response to the letter because they could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday evening.
Earlier Sunday, campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf declined to reveal Rauner’s personal feelings on same-sex marriage because “Bruce does not have an agenda on social issues.” But he said Rauner is not in favor of overturning the new law unless a referendum on the ballot calls for it. The campaign also noted Rauner was endorsed by GOProud, a Republican pro-gay rights group.
And Schrimpf added that Rauner does wish the best for newly-married same-sex couples.
“He wishes them congratulations and many years of happiness together,” Schrimpf said.
State Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago said Rauner’s comments make him look “wishy-washy” at best and a “hypocrite” at worst.
“If he doesn't want to support equal rights for all families then he should stand up and say so,” said Harris, who helped usher the marriage law through the House. - Chicago Sun Times, 6/1/14
Then again, lets see if Rauner will brag about this:Four years ago, in his first election for governor, Quinn was able to narrowly defeat state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington following late criticism of the Republican’s social conservatism that shifted the focus away from the Democrat’s handling of the state’s poor economy and finances.
This time around, Rauner, a first-time candidate and equity investor from Winnetka, has strenuously sought to quickly put aside any discussion of social issues in favor of attacks on Quinn over the economy, state spending and tax policy. Rauner, however, has yet to produce detailed plans on those subjects.
On Monday, Quinn looked on as Jim Darby and Patrick Bova exchanged vows under a white canopy at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Darby and Bova have spent years pushing for the right to marry in their home state, including serving as lead plaintiffs on a lawsuit challenging the state's previous ban on gay marriage.
Quinn took aim at Rauner, contending he “didn't need a referendum” to realize supporting gay marriage was “the right thing to do.” Quinn previously backed civil unions for same-sex couples, a right he signed into law in 2011, but said he soon evolved in favor of full marriage rights. - Chicago Tribune, 6/2/14
We shall see. Either way, Rauner shouldn't be trust when it comes to defending the rights of the LGBT community if elected Governor. If you want to get involved and donate to Quinn's election bid, you can do so here:The guy who recently declared that he would have vetoed Illinois' new gay-marriage law has been endorsed by — surprise — a national gay-rights group.
It's interesting timing, as the new law goes into effect over over the weekend. But GOProud, which describes itself as "a national organization of gay and straight Americans who seek to promote freedom by supporting free markets, limited government and a respect for individual rights," announced in a press release that Bruce Rauner is its candidate for governor of Illinois.
The California-based group surely is Republican — even to the political right of the more-established Log Cabin Republicans organization. But when Mr. Rauner has said anything at all about gay rights — and he generally avoids the subject — it has not been supportive. - Crain's Chicago Business, 5/30/14