Illinois Republicans who voted for the freedom to marry sweep primaries

Yesterday, March 18, three Illinois House Republicans who voted in favor of Illinois’ freedom to marry bill last year won their primary challenges, in spite of aggressive targeting this month by anti-marriage opponents. Several anti-marriage groups spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on blatantly anti-gay mailers and ads targeting incumbent state Rep. Ron Sandack (right), Rep. Ed Sullivan Jr., and Rep. Tom Cross for supporting the freedom to marry. 

But yesterday, Reps. Sullivan and Sandack were re-elected to their House seats while Rep. Cross defeated his anti-equality opponent.

Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

Last night, Illinois Republican lawmakers who voted for the freedom to marry batted a thousand in the GOP primaries. Their victories--three out of three--in spite of desperate and ugly attacks from opponents of equality show that using marriage as a wedge issue no longer works and that backing conservative principles of freedom, family, and individual liberty will prevail. Our side was smart and strategic in these races and stood up for those who stood with us. Thanks to Equality Illinois and the Illinois Unity PAC for their leadership. 

A recent poll from The New York Times showed that 40% of Republicans, including 56% of voters under 45, support the freedom to marry, an increase of 15% over the last two years.

A memo that Freedom to Marry released last year in partnership with Third Way demonstrated that state legislators who vote in favor of marriage for same-sex couples continue to win voter support when running for reelection. The analysis, titled "Pro-Marriage Legislators Win Elections," is based on election results from New York and Washington, where the freedom to marry was approved by legislators in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Ninety-seven percent of the pro-marriage legislators in NY and WA who ran for reelection after voting in favor of marriage won - although overall, the national incumbent reelection average overall in 2012 was just 90 percent.

Learn more about the freedom to marry in Illinois