Statement by Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois and Board Member of the Equality Illinois PAC: While there is much work to be done to ensure full equality, Illinois is at the forefront of advancing LGBTQ civil rights.
As LGBTQ Illinoisans, we find ourselves in an unprecedented position as the November 2018 election approaches: we have two supporters of LGBTQ equality running for Governor.
There are few, if any, Republican Governors in the country who have been as supportive of LGBTQ civil rights as Governor Bruce Rauner. He has hired LGBTQ people into senior roles in his administration. He has signed seven pro-LGBTQ civil rights bills into law, including a law to ban harmful conversion therapy, a law to allow transgender Illinoisans to update their birth certificate, and a law to ban the "gay panic" defense in Illinois courts. He has been present at events for our community, which is no easy task for a Governor whose party platform rejects full equality for LGBTQ Illinoisans. We thank Governor Rauner for his willingness to stand up for LGBTQ civil rights, even when those in his party opposed him.
Democratic Candidate JB Pritzker has been a longstanding champion of the LGBTQ equality. In the 1990's, he funded civic engagement training programs for LGBTQ Illinoisans. He supported LGBTQ candidates for public office when such support was controversial. He has marched with us when many leaders stayed away. There are few leaders in our state who have served as courageously and consistently for LGBTQ equality over recent decades as JB Pritzker.
Elections, however, are about choices. No matter how many great supporters our community has on the ballot, voters only get to choose one.
The Equality Illinois PAC is proud to endorse JB Pritzker for Governor and Juliana Stratton for Lieutenant Governor on November 6. We make this choice for two reasons. First, while Governor Rauner has been a supporter of LGBTQ civil rights, we believe JB Pritzker will be a champion. His record proves that. Pritzker has lead out front on LGBTQ civil rights for decades. He has made LGBTQ civil rights a central part of his campaign, and we believe he will continue to do so as Governor.
Second, the Illinois budget crisis has hurt the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community: our homeless youth, our seniors, our poor, and those of us living with HIV. While Governor Rauner is not solely responsible for the crisis, the buck stops with him. The Equality Illinois PAC advocates for a Governor who will support both our civil rights and the full funding of services the most vulnerable members of our community need. Governor Rauner has not delivered on this critical need. We believe JB Pritzker will do so.
We now think it is time for JB Pritzker to take Illinois even further down the path for full equality for LGBTQ people.
From a press release