06/07/2013 12:40 pm ET

Bruce Rauner On Gay Marriage: Illinois GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Won't Take A Stand On Same-Sex Marriage


Political newcomer Bruce Rauner is keeping plenty of cards close to his vest when it comes to big issues the Illinois 2014 gubernatorial candidate will face on the campaign trail.

The video that accompanied the businessman's Wednesday announcement that he'd seek the GOP bid for governor was light on details as to how he would attack big state problems like pension reform and corruption.

When it came to the major issue of legalizing same sex marriage in Illinois, the candidate didn't say anything at all — and gay rights activists have taken notice.

Rauner has not held a press conference since his announcement, only granting a few interviews to local media. Speaking to the Sun-Times, Rauner said the best way to deal with same-sex marriage question is to let the people, not the state legislature, decide.

Camilla Taylor, senior staff attorney with Lambda Legal, noted state referenda are not binding.

“The only way to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot is by passing both houses with a three-fifths majority,” Taylor said. If that passed both houses by a super majority it then would go to voters.

In the Sun-Times interview, Rauner called his personal views on gay marriage "irrelevant.”

When asked point blank, "Should Illinois legalize gay marriage?” Rauner replied "I guess we're done" and reportedly walked away from the podium taking no more questions.

Rauner may also be playing it safe in a strategic attempt to survive what will likely be a competitive Republican primary.

While polls have shown growing support for gay marriage among Illinoisans, the state's Republican leaders are still overwhelmingly against bringing marriage equality to the Land of Lincoln. Former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady was blasted by members of his own party for voicing support of gay marriage in the months leading up to his resignation.

The Windy City Times notes that Rauner's current challenger, State Treasuer Dan Rutherford, previously backed civil unions but said he would not support full-fledged marriage between same-sex couples.



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