Second House Republican Backs Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois

Over the weekend, Republican Illinois State Rep. Ed Sullivan Jr. voiced his support for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state, joining fellow House Republican Ron Sandack in publicly supporting same-sex marriage.

Sullivan, who represents the 51st District in the state's House of Representatives as well as the chairman for the House Republican campaign organization, said in a recent interview that he has decided to support same-sex marriage based on personal reasons.

"This issue for me […] goes to the core of fairness – marriage equality for all people. I think it is in line with […] what I believe, and I personally believe it is in line with what our party believes, and that's trying to treat people with fairness," Sullivan said Sunday as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Sullivan, who reportedly has a mother-in-law who is gay, added that he believes the state's Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which has already passed the state Senate, will adequately protect religious liberties with the legalization of same-sex marriage.

Representatives Sullivan and Sandack (R-Downers Grove), are the only two members of the GOP party in the Illinois House to publicly support the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, which will be up for a House vote once state lawmakers return from Spring Break on April 8.

Illinois Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican who represents the 120th congressional district of Illinois, joined his fellow Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, a democrat, in supporting same-sex marriage earlier in March.

Kirk was the second GOP senator on a national level to voice his support for the redefinition of marriage, following Ohio GOP Senator Rob Portman, who in March said he had changed his stance on the issue because he had an openly gay son.

As The Christian Post previously reported, the issue of same-sex marriage in the state of Illinois has been especially contentious.

Pat Brady, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, found himself embroiled in controversy earlier this year when he went against the Republican Party's platform by urging state lawmakers to pass the bill legalizing same-sex marriage.

Although there are a select few Republicans in Illinois who have chosen to support same-sex marriage, the majority argue that opposing same-sex marriage is central to their party's platform.

"Any Republican in Illinois who betrays the cause of marriage will be casting a career-ending vote and will be held accountable to their constituents," Brian Brown, National Organization for Marriage president, previously said in a statement in reference to the Pat Brady controversy.

Additionally, some of Chicago's leading black clergy have voiced their opposition to the bill through their organization of the African American Clergy Coalition, which includes former state senator the Rev. James Meeks.

"Marriage was the first institution created by our God. He tells us in the word that marriage should be between a man and a woman and not those of the same sex," Bishop Larry Trotter of the Chicago's Sweet Holy Spirit said in a radio ad launched by the African American Clergy Coalition, according to NBC News Chicago.

The upcoming same-sex marriage bill needs to pass the House with 60 votes, and Illinois democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has already confirmed that he will sign the bill into law if it passes.

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