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Rauner ad depicts Madigan, Pritzker in mock gay wedding
by Matt Simonette
2018-10-23

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A new political ad from incumbent Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, depicting a marriage between rival J.B. Pritzker and House Speaker Mike Madigan, has been blasted by advocates and politicians for its anti-LGBT overtones.

"Rauner just vetoed a law to protect LGBTQ Illinoisans from workplace discrimination," tweeted state Rep. Greg Harris Oct. 23. "Now he is mocking same-sex marriage as an 'unholy union.' Rauner's blatant homophobia has no place in Illinois."

The ad, paid for by Citizens for Rauner, features stand-ins for the governor's adversaries—their faces are not seen—in a mock wedding ceremony. At the end of the vows, the presiding minister pronounces Illinois "fucked."

Equality Illinois CEO Brian Johnson also denounced the ad Oct. 23 in an Oct. 23 statement: "We are deeply disappointed by Gov. Rauner's new campaign ad that mocks marriage equality by tying two of his opponents together in a parody wedding.

"We remind the governor that the official platform of the party he leads opposes marriage equality. A recent national poll found that a plurality of Republicans still oppose marriage equality. There is still much work to be done to move the hearts and minds of many Republican voters to value the dignity of same sex-weddings. As someone who has officiated same sex weddings, Gov. Rauner could serve as a model of inclusivity and use his campaign to vigorously promote full acceptance of LGBTQ Illinoisans. Instead, he chooses to raise the specter of gay marriage to turn out the most extreme elements of his base. We recognize a dog whistle when we hear one.

"The governor should be ashamed of using the LGBTQ community for comedic value to make a political hit. Our weddings are not a joke. Gov. Rauner does not represent Illinois' values with this ad."

A statement was released from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ( LGBTQ ) Illinoisans:

"We are deeply disappointed by Gov. Rauner's new campaign ad that mocks marriage equality by tying two of his opponents together in a parody wedding.

"We remind the governor that the official platform of the party he leads opposes marriage equality. A recent national poll found that a plurality of Republicans still oppose marriage equality. There is still much work to be done to move the hearts and minds of many Republican voters to value the dignity of same sex weddings. As someone who has officiated same sex weddings, Gov Rauner could serve as a model of inclusivity and use his campaign to vigorously promote full acceptance of LGBTQ Illinoisans. Instead, he chooses to raise the specter of gay marriage to turnout the most extreme elements of his base. We recognize a dog whistle when we hear one.

"The governor should be ashamed of using the LGBTQ community for comedic value to make a political hit. Our weddings are not a joke. Gov. Rauner does not represent Illinois' values with this ad."


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