With a 10-seat majority in the Senate, Democrats say they have enough votes to move Illinois toward legalizing gay marriage with a floor vote Thursday. For Republicans, the issue is far more complicated. GOP leaders in Illinois and nationwide vowed after a drubbing at the polls last fall to be more inclusive and diverse. Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady reiterated that message last week, saying if the party has any hope of winning the 2014 governor's race or gaining seats in the General Assembly, it must do more to appeal to young people, minorities and women — demographics that helped Democrats to huge wins in November. "We just have to do things differently," Brady said. "We need to deliver to a bigger audience and convince them we're not just a party of angry old white guys — that we do understand everyone's problems and we want to help everybody." But the bill to end Illinois' ban on same-sex marriage shows how difficult change can be. After Brady publicly backed gay marriage during January's lame-duck legislative session, members of the more conservative wing of his party called for his ouster. Opponents of gay marriage pledged to fund primary challenges to any Republican who voted in favor of the bill.
- our work