Illinois state Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Republican who represents the deeply conservative Chicago suburb of Wheaton, commented in a recent interview that same-sex marriages are a "completely disordered relationship" and accused LGBT people of trying to "weasel their way" into acceptability.
"This issue is going to be brought up, they're trying to redefine marriage," Ives said in the Feb. 25 interview on a Catholic Conference of Illinois radio show, reported first by the Good As You LGBT advocacy blog on Wednesday.
"It's a completely disordered relationship and when you have a disordered relationship you don't ever get order out of that so I'm more than happy to take a 'no' vote on the issue of homosexual marriage."
Ives went on to describe marriage equality for same-sex couples as a gateway to "redefine society" in a way that would have a lasting impact on children in particular.
"To not have a mother and a father is really a disordered state for a child to grow up in and it really makes that child an object of desire rather than the result of a matrimony," Ives continued.
UPDATE: Late Thursday, Ives responded to the clamor around her comments and claimed that her remarks "misinterpret" her views on marriage equality in a Patch blog. Still, however, she wrote that she "properly understand[s] the institution of marriage and the word "marriage" to be defined as the union between one man and one woman:"
I have no comment on a person's sexual orientation or personal relationships. That is their private business and I have no interest in meddling in a person's private affairs. ... I have simply made statements in defense of the attack on marriage from certain vocal constituencies who seek to redefine it out of existence. I do not believe it is the government's place to redefine marriage.
Earlier, state Rep. Greg Harris, the lead House sponsor of Illinois' marriage equality bill, told the Daily Herald his colleague's remarks were "unfortunate."
Ives, who was elected last November, has not been secretive about her opposition to marriage equality. In a Patch survey last year, she said "Illinois has a DOMA statute that properly prohibits the marriage between two people of the same sex."
Anthony Martinez, executive director of the Chicago-based LGBT group The Civil Rights Agenda, said Ives' comments were "out of touch with mainstream America," the Chicago Phoenix reports.
“She may call us weasels, but I call her chicken," Martinez added, according to the Phoenix.
Ives' comments going viral comes at a moment when rhetoric on the issue is heating up. With a final House vote on the matter expected any day now, a bizarre robo-call targeted constituents of Democratic state Rep. Mike Smiddy, who planned to vote "yes" on the bill, for allegedly accepting "homosexual money." Smiddy described the calls as "bigoted" and said they would not impact his planned "yes" vote.
A date for the bill's House vote is not yet scheduled. If the bill achieves the 60 votes needed for passage in the House, it would next head to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who has pledged to sign it. The vote is expected to be close.