Significant Wins Scored in General Election for LGBT Illinoisans
CHICAGO (November 5, 2014) — As Illinois awaits the final numbers in two statewide races, Equality Illinois, the state’s leading advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans, said Wednesday there were significant successes in Tuesday’s election balloting.
“No candidate lost because of a vote for marriage equality or their support for LGBT Illinoisans, and all three openly LGBT legislators were re-elected, as well as pro-equality U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois. “This is a reflection of the general support among the electorate for LGBT equality issues.”
“We, along with all Illinoisans, are eager to learn the final results in both the Governor’s and Treasurer’s races; still, it is significant to note that there remains strong pro-equality statewide leadership and legislative majorities in Springfield,” Cherkasov said.
“At a minimum, all statewide officeholders in Illinois below governor and lieutenant governor support the freedom to marry and LGBT Illinoisans. That includes Sen. Durbin and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, re-elected Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, re-elected Secretary of State Jesse White, re-elected Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, and Mike Frerichs or Tom Cross, whichever should win for Treasurer,” he said
Cherkasov also noted that even as Sen. Durbin loses his Democratic majority leadership position with the Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Kirk, one of the earliest advocates for LGBT equality on the Republican side of the aisle, joins the majority. “We hope that Sen. Kirk’s voice of moderation will be heard within the ranks of Senate Republicans,” Cherkasov said.
In the Illinois legislature, Equality Illinois-endorsed candidates won all but one of the top-tier races for the organization, including re-elections of Reps. Sam Yingling and Mike Smiddy, and Sen. Andy Manar. Only Sen. Mike Jacobs lost, which has been attributed to local issues. With Yingling’s win, along with Reps. Greg Harris and Kelly Cassidy, all three out members of the General Assembly won re-election. And pro-equality Republican Reps. Ron Sandack and Ed Sullivan Jr. had no problems winning the general election.
In the U.S. Congress, three of the four first-term progressive Democrats targeted by Republicans won–Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Bill Foster and Cheri Bustos–with only Brad Schneider being defeated.
Over the course of the campaign, Equality Illinois led the effort to defend pro-equality candidates and hold anti-equality candidates accountable, educated the public about the issues with an aggressive informational campaign, and contributed cash and in-kind resources to top-tier candidates. By election day, more than 400 volunteers made over 60,000 phone calls to get out the vote.
“The efforts of Equality Illinois and our thousands of supporters made a major contribution to holding the line on LGBT rights in Illinois and ensured that issues such as marriage equality would not become a political cudgel against leaders who support us,” Cherkasov said. “This was a hard-fought election. And even though we wish some outcomes were different, I know that we fought as hard as we could to ensure that LGBT concerns were heard. At the end of the day, even Bruce Rauner and the GOP U.S. Senate nominee Jim Oberweis accepted that marriage equality is a reality in Illinois.”