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Ill. Gov. Noms Clash on Gay Issues

Ill. Gov. Noms Clash on Gay Issues


In a Thursday night debate, Illinois governor Pat Quinn (pictured, right) said the state needs a leader who is tolerant of gays, while his opponent, state senator Bill Brady (pictured, left), said opposition to civil unions does not create an antigay climate, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Democrat Quinn and Republican Brady clashed over a variety of issues, both social and economic, in the debate, televised by Chicago's PBS affiliate.

"The governor should be tolerant," Quinn said to Brady. "And I think you should be tolerant. You haven't been tolerant."

When journalist Carol Marin, who moderated the debate, asked Brady if his opposition to civil unions contributed to a hostile environment for LGBT people, he replied, "Not at all," adding, "The law of Illinois is that marriage would be a protected institution between a man and a woman, and I support that law."

A bill that would establish civil unions for same-sex couples is pending in the Illinois legislature and is likely to pass before the end of the year. Quinn has said he would sign the bill, while Brady has said he would veto such legislation -- although he has also asserted that if it becomes law under Quinn, he would not seek to repeal it as governor. In the state senate, Brady has tried to roll back LGBT antidiscrimination protections.

The debate came a few days after state senator Rickey Hendon called Brady "homophobic" as well as "racist" and "sexist." The evening also saw Brady and Quinn spar over abortion rights, taxes, and other issues, such as Quinn's association with disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich. Quinn, who had been lieutenant governor, succeeded Blagojevich when he was removed from office last year amid accusations of trying to sell the U.S. Senate position once held by President Barack Obama. In the debate Brady characterized Quinn as "Blagojevich's partner for eight years."

A recent poll by the Tribune and TV station WGN shows Brady leading Quinn among voters, 43% to 39%.

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