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Illinois GOP Chair Resigns, Has 'No Regrets' Supporting Same-Sex Marriage

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 7, 2013 4:00PM

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady
Pat Brady resigned as Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party Tuesday after months of internal bickering over his support of marriage equality in Illinois. Brady had been targeted by social conservatives within the party for months due to his support of same-sex marriage in Illinois. Brady told the Sun-Times he had no regrets about his stance.

"Absolutely not," Brady said Tuesday. "I believe 100 percent in my position on that issue, as does Sen. (Mark) Kirk."

Brady long claimed his position on marriage equality didn’t reflect the views of the Illinois GOP, although he said after the Illinois Senate passed the same-sex marriage bill in February (with only one Republican senator in favor) the party was “on the wrong side of history.”

GOP central committeemen tried for months to round up the support to remove Brady from his position but a meeting of the Central Committee in Tinley Park last month made it clear Brady wouldn’t last much longer as chair, according to the Tribune. A succession plan was put into place to allow Brady to resign and the Central Committee to begin the process of finding a successor.

The problem is there’s no clear successor. One of the preferred candidates, State Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine, told the Tribune he has no interest in the post, an indication he may have interest in a statewide office. (Holding a statewide office while being party chairman is a conflict of interest.)

Brady’s resignation is another blow to the Illinois Republican Party, who have acted as the Washington Generals to Illinois Democrats’ Harlem Globetrotters ever since former Gov. George Ryan left office facing an indictment in the licenses-for-bribes scandal during his tenure as Illinois Secretary of State. Last year’s elections led to veto-proof Democratic majorities in both houses in the Illinois General Assembly (although state Democrats have little in the way of actual legislation to show for it.)

Brady, in his resignation letter, thanked his supporters, including U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who publicly voiced his support for marriage equality last month. Brady also thanked his wife Julie, who is seriously ill.

State Rep. Carol Donovan, the party’s current vice chairman, will serve as interim chair.