— By Stephen Richer
More and more pro-gay equality Republicans keep popping up.
This one is Dan Rutherford, current treasurer of Illinois and candidate for governor. In a recent interview with Windy City Media Group, Rutherford talked gay rights. The Windy City Media Group started the article by saying:
If more Republicans were like Dan Rutherford, Illinois Democrats might not take the LGBT vote for granted. Rutherford, state treasurer and a GOP gubernatorial hopeful, has backed more LGBT legislation in his career than many of the state’s Democrats.
When asked about civil unions in Illinois he said:
I voted for it, of course. I was the only Republican in the Senate to vote for it. Did I get some grief? Yeah. But it was one of those things that I thought in my heart, it was the right thing to do.
But, sadly, he doesn’t yet support gay marriage because he fears that gay marriage will squash religious liberties (the freedom for churches to abstain from gay marriage — an issue Matt addressed here).
Now, we’ll go to gay marriage. The difference for me there is the religious component.
Fortunately, Rutherford describes his own views as “evolving,” and he thinks the Republican Party should undergo a similar evolution:
I think the party should change. I think the party should evolve. I think it’s going to take people like myself to help the party evolve. When I voted for the human rights bill in the early 90s, there was only a few of us. And when we moved forward to eventually pass it, there was more of us. And as we moved into consideration of the civil unions bill, there were some of us. …
So to answer the question, yes, I think my party needs to be more tolerant. I think they need to be more tolerant of the gay and lesbian community. They need to be more tolerant to the ethnic minority community. I think they need to be more tolerant with regards to the immigrant community.
I’m not saying that to be negative on my party. I’m just saying that if we allow gay rights, guns and abortion to be the definition of the difference between a good Republican and a bad Republican, we will be the party of the perpetual minority.
Overall, not perfect, but moving in the right direction. Ditto the party?