Susanne Atanus
Candidate Who Blamed Gays for Disasters Wins Ill. Congressional Primary

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com March 19 2014 5:04 PM ET

The Illinois congressional candidate who blamed LGBT people for tornadoes and autism won the Republican nomination in Tuesday’s primary election.

Unofficial vote totals show Susanne Atanus with 15,238 votes to more moderate opponent David Earl Williams’s 13,864 in the Ninth Congressional District primary, reports the Niles Herald-Spectator, a newspaper in the Chicago suburbs. Atanus’s chances of winning the November general election are slim, however, as she faces a popular incumbent in a heavily Democratic district.

Political newcomer Atanus made news in January during an interview with the editorial board of the Daily Herald, another suburban paper, in which she said gay activism and legalized abortion are responsible for phenomena including tornadoes, dementia, and autism because they have aroused God’s wrath.

“God is angry,” she said. “We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions.” Party leaders quickly called on her to quit the race, but she refused.

Her opponent, a former Democrat, had baggage of his own: an order of protection obtained by a former girlfriend who alleged that he impersonated her online in an effort to have her fired from her job and kicked out of school. He said the accusations are false and an act of revenge for their breakup.

In the general election, Atanus will face Democrat Jan Schakowsky, an LGBT ally who is in her ninth term in Congress. The Ninth District, predominantly Democratic, includes much of the north side of Chicago as well as parts of the north suburbs.