Illinois State Senator Bill Brady, the
GOP front-runner for the Illinois governor's mansion, has authored a
bill that would exempt religious groups from a gay protections law,
gay website ChicagoPride.com
Brady's bill would carve out exceptions
to the Illinois Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on
the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, for religious
groups, effectively allowing any church-affiliated group to
discriminate against gay people. The bill's exceptions would only
apply to workplace protections.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is
expected to vote on the bill today.
Last Thursday, the bill's sponsorship
was transferred from Brady, who authored the bill, to Senator John O.
Jones, a Springfield Republican. Brady has also transferred
sponsorship of a controversial bill that would re-legalize mass
euthanasia of dogs and cats.
“It is interesting that he [Brady]
has tried to backpedal on this attempt to expand discrimination by
passing sponsorship to Senator Jones, just as he has tried to
backpedal on his efforts to kill animals in a cruel and inhumane
way,” said openly gay State Representative Greg Harris, a Democrat
from Chicago. “I wonder where his true beliefs lie: his initial
instincts or his reaction to the outrage of the Illinois public.”
Illinois, the state's largest gay rights advocate, called the
“This law has been on the books for
over 5 years now, protecting Illinoisans' basic human rights, and
doing so very well,” Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois,
said. “Senator Brady wants to energize his base in anticipation of
his gubernatorial run, and he is trying to do that at the expense of
Cherkasov is urging members of the gay
community to contact members of the committee: “It is up to us as
a community to stop this bill from moving anywhere,” he said.
Earlier in the month, Brady publicly
acknowledged that he supports amending the state's constitution to
define marriage as a heterosexual union, effectively banning gay
marriage and blocking the state's top court from legalizing the
“I'm trying to give the government
back to the people,” Brady said.