Pat Brady, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, revealed on Tuesday that he will be stepping down from his position in order to focus on his family and his wife who is battling cancer.
"I've been going hard for six years. It's time to move on," Brady said, according to The San Francisco Chronicle, adding that his wife has been in a serious fight against cancer for the past two years, and he needs to spend more time with her and their four children. His full letter of resignation can be found on the Illinois GOP website.
Brady has been mixed up in a gay marriage controversy ever since he opposed the party's platform and expressed support for including same-sex couples in Illinois's definition of marriage in January.
"More and more Americans understand that if two people want to make a lifelong commitment to each other, government should not stand in their way," Brady said when he announced his stance. "Giving gay and lesbian couples the freedom to get married honors the best conservative principles. It strengthens families and reinforces a key Republican value – that the law should treat all citizens equally."
In February, the state moved closer to enacting gay marriage legislation after it passed the Democratic-controlled Senate by a 34 to 21 vote.
Brady has since explained that he was speaking from a personal standpoint, not as a GOP chairman, and said of the differences within the Republican Party: "It's about addition and not subtraction, and if we come off as mean-spirited or angry or too dogmatic, then we don't attract people to the party."
Social conservative Republicans have insisted that most in the GOP Party do not support that point of view and are committed to traditional marriage between one man and one woman.
"I believe everyone has the right to their own opinion, but as the platform committee chairman and a practicing Catholic, I am in complete support of the party's position on marriage," Mike Bigger, a State Farm Agent and the 18th Congressional District representative for the Illinois Republican Party previously told The Christian Post. "And to my knowledge, Chairman Brady's position on the issue was never discussed with anyone inside the party prior to his comments surfacing in the news."
In March, former Governor of Arkansas and 2008 GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee warned that evangelicals would leave the Republican Party if it embraces gay marriage.
"And it's not because there's an anti-homosexual mood, and nobody's homophobic that I know of," Huckabee explained, "but many of us, and I consider myself included, base our standards not on the latest Washington Post poll, but on an objective standard, not a subjective standard."
State Sen. Matt Murphy of Palatine was one option for Brady's replacement, the Chicago Tribune noted. But the senator has since withdrawn from running for the position.