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Bill Brady's Religious Protections Bill Postponed

By Joseph Erbentraut in News on Mar 5, 2010 9:40PM

State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) may have just narrowly won the GOP's stamp of approval for his gubernatorial run, but a bill he authored was not as successful this week. SB 3447, which would allow certain tax-exempt religious organizations to discriminate against prospective employees on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or religion, was not called to vote Tuesday.

The bill - which flies in the face of workplace protections outlined in the Illinois Human Rights Act - was first filed by Brady early last month, before his name was abruptly removed from the bill. Its chief sponsor was changed to State Sen. John O. Jones on Feb. 25. Perhaps it's another example of Brady's back-pedaling in the wake of his nomination (similar to with his pet gassing bill). With its provision allowing religious groups to legally take employees' and applicants' religious affiliations into consideration, opponents of the bill note that its ramifications extend beyond LGBT communities.

Bernard Chesakov, CEO of Equality Illinois, an LGBT advocacy organization lobbying against the bill, noted the legislation could still be called for a committee hearing and a vote. Chesakov told "Senator Brady wants to energize his base in anticipation of his gubernatorial run, and he is trying to do that at the expense of LGBT equality ... It is up to us as a community to stop this bill from moving anywhere."

Brady has been an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, proposing an amendment to the state constitution banning both marriage and civil unions for gay couples. He also voted against the state's human rights act in 2005, effectively supporting discrimination against gay men and lesbians in housing and employment matters. "I'm trying to give the government back to the people," Brady told the Sun-Times, of his proposed gay marriage ban.