Illinois gay activists are alarmed by a
New York Times story predicting wins for Republicans Bill
Brandy and Mark Kirk in the fall.
Statistician Nate Silver is predicting
87 percent chance that Illinois State Senator Brandy will defeat
incumbent Governor Patrick J. Quinn to take the governor's mansion,
and a 54 percent chance that Congressman Kirk will claim victory in
the fall over his rival, Democrat Alexi Gianoulias, in the race to
represent the people of Illinois in the U.S. Senate.
“Brady is no friend of the gay
community,” Rick Garcia, public policy director for Equality
Illinois, the state's largest gay rights advocate, told gay website
which collaborated with On Top Magazine on this story. “He
is a hard right wing opponent of our basic rights.”
Brady, a former real estate developer
from downstate Bloomington, Illinois, opposes any government
recognition of gay couples, including civil unions and marriage, and
favors placing an amendment in the Illinois Constitution banning gay
In March, Brady authored a bill that
would exempt religious groups from a gay protections law.
Brady's bill, which the Legislature
rejected, sought to 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 men,
lesbians, bisexual and transgender people. The bill's exceptions
would only apply to workplace protections.
“Stop this guy, he is dangerous,”
Illinois State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, a Democrat from Chicago, said
during a rally for Quinn last month. “He [Brady] will hurt this
community,” she added, referring to the gay community.
The Illinois Legislature has considered
several bills that recognize gay unions, including civil unions and
Governor Quinn has said he would sign
the civil unions bill.
“Bill Brady doesn't bode well for
LGBT issues or any progressive issues,” openly gay Illinois State
Rep. Greg Harris, a Democrat who authored the gay marriage bill,
“The LGBT community ought to be
concerned as hell,” he added.
Garcia echoed a similar sentiment,
saying that a Brady win would set back gay rights in Illinois.
“We cannot afford a Brady win,”
Garcia said. “It is no understatement that the gains our community
has made would be jeopardized under him and moving forward would be
Gay groups are also concerned about
Illinois Congressman Kirk, who voted against repeal of “Don't Ask,
Don't Tell,” the law that forbids gay troops from serving openly,
in May, and opposes marriage equality.
Illinois Treasurer Giannoulias, on the
other hand, is seen as an ally of the gay community. In June, the
34-year-old Giannoulias signed an executive order that extended
family-leave benefits to gay treasurer office employees, and he
supports gay marriage.
Kirk has denied allegations by his GOP
primary opponent, Andy Martin, that he is gay.