Pat Brady, Illinois Republican Party chair

Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party Pat Brady “is calling GOP lawmakers asking them to support a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage,” the Daily Herald reports.

“I think it’s time for people to support this,” Brady is quoted as saying. Brady was speaking “as a citizen”, not in his capacity as GOP chair.

Update: Mr. Brady told the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday:

“More and more Americans understand that if two people want to make a lifelong commitment to each other, government should not stand in their way.  Giving gay and lesbian couples the freedom to get married honors the best conservative principles. It strengthens families and reinforces a key Republican value – that the law should treat all citizens equally.”

“Importantly, the pending legislation would protect the freedom of religion.  No church or religious organization would ever be required to perform a union with which it disagrees.”

The Illinois Senate is expected to vote the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (HB 5170) out of committee on Thursday.  Legislative leaders in both chambers have spoken confidently about having the votes needed to pass the bill before the legislature adjourns on January 8.

Governor Pat Quinn supports marriage equality and has said he will sign the bill into law.

The bill also has the backing of African-American leaders, business leaders and President Obama.

“As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so. Were the President still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,” White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Chicago Sun-Times last weekend.