Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Will Rauner get caught in gay marriage issue despite efforts to avoid it?

The last legal obstacles in Illinois fell this weekend toward gay couples being able to walk into a county clerk’s office and get the license that permits them to get married.
RAUNER: Will gay marriage harm him?

But now, we will have to see if there will be obstacles that crop up toward Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner’s chances of electoral success come Nov. 4.

FOR RAUNER IS of that GOP persuasion that has led the effort to oppose the idea of marriage being a legal option for gay couples. Is Gov. Pat Quinn going to be able to count on the fact that he gave strong lip service to the idea, then signed it into law as soon as he possibly could, as a source of votes come Election Day?

It was interesting to learn that a group calling itself GOProud went out of its way to endorse Rauner. The group purports to represent the interests of gay people who are Republican (yes, gay Republicans really do exist).

Personally, I don’t think the endorsement means much. Many more activist types are recalling back in the days of the primary when Rauner hinted he wanted to see the issue come up for a voter referendum, and that because of the lack of such voter input he would have vetoed the bill that Quinn signed into law with a big ceremony at the University of Illinois at Chicago campus.

For those who don’t want to believe Rauner said that (he’s not admitting to it), the Equality Illinois activist group says he did. And on Monday, the Capitol Fax newsletter of Springfield published an audio snippet from back in December of Rauner saying such a thing.

THE REASON FOR the controversy is that Rauner these days tries to ignore questions about this issue (and others). He wants to go through the next five months repeating “Pat Quinn is Evil!” without having to go into details.

On gay marriage now, Rauner says his view is “irrelevant.”

Which could be a sign that he’s being mature, accepting the fact that gay marriage is now part of Illinois law and that talk of trying to repeal it for purely partisan political reasons would be harmful to us all.

Although Rauner will never be that blunt about the issue. Because if he were, he would wind up upsetting the gay rights activist types to the point where they would turn out in force to vote against him. His strategy is to create apathy among his opponents so they won’t care enough to vote at all.

BUT IF HE were to come out and say that people should accept the law as it is now, that would offend the ideologues who are the bulk of the people who are susceptible to the “Pat Quinn is Evil!” rhetoric. Rauner needs those people to be eager to turn out to vote Nov. 4 for him.

In fact, it’s even risky that Rauner’s spokesman told the Chicago Sun-Times, “Bruce does not have an agenda on social issues.” Because there are many people among the Republican ranks who do!

Particularly the 60 percent of Republican primary voters back in March who cast ballots for anyone except Rauner. Which is a fact that we’re not supposed to remember anymore. He’s supposed to have united the party – although if anyone brings the GOP together it will be the thought of Quinn for four more years.

Rauner the guy who doesn’t want us to remember that he once talked of vetoing gay marriage (albeit under a limited circumstance) is just like the guy who doesn’t want us to remember his hostile primary rhetoric about organized labor.

HE’S THE WIZARD of Oz, telling us which curtain to not pay any attention to.

Because it doesn’t fit the all-powerful image he’s trying to project of himself today.


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