Illinois Republican Party chairman Pat Brady faces a vote as early as Saturday that could remove him from office over his support for same-sex marriage.
Two former Republican governors — one a gay marriage supporter, the other an opponent — came out against Brady’s possible ouster, the Chicago radio station WBEZ reported.
Brady expressed “full support” for gay marriage legislation under consideration in the Illinois legislature, saying that his party was on “the wrong side of history” on the issue.
That public comment vexed many Republicans. The bill passed the state Senate with only one Republican vote, in exchange for religious conscience protections being added to the legislation.
Brady’s critics argue that their problems with the chairman go beyond gay marriage to fundraising, communications, and other concerns. But Illinois state Sen. Jim Oberweis, a central committeeman from Sugar Grove, acknowledged that marriage was an issue.
“You cannot have the chair of an organization publicly going out and lobbying in opposition to the organization’s stated goals,” Oberweis told WBEZ. “Doesn’t matter what the goal is. It would have been exactly the same result if he had lobbied in favor of Obamacare.”
Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, a Republican who opposes same-sex marriage, said removing Brady would be a “mistake” and the “wrong political decision.”
Former Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson, a Republican who backs gay marriage, said that Brady’s removal would be “outrageous” and that “they better have a damn fine candidate to replace him.”
A three-fifths majority of the party’s state central committee is required to sack Brady.
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