Rauner in hot water after campaign ad that appears to mock marriage equality

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican running for re-election, has angered people across the state with his latest ad that looks like it mocks marriage equality.

The video has a pair of lookalikes for Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker and state House Speaker Mike Madigan getting married or, according to the Rauner campaign, forming an “unholy alliance.”

While the Chicago Tribune remarked mostly on the use of a bleeped out f-bomb, others have been objecting to what seems like an attack on marriage equality with having the ad showing to men getting married then calling it an unholy union.

Equality Illinois reacted quickly, reminding the governor about his party’s stance on marriage equality.

From Equality Illinois CEO Brian Johnson:

“We are deeply disappointed by Gov. Rauner’s new campaign ad that mocks marriage equality by tying two of his opponents together in a parody wedding.

“We remind the governor that the official platform of the party he leads opposes marriage equality.  A recent national poll found that a plurality of Republicans still oppose marriage equality.   There is still much work to be done to move the hearts and minds of many Republican voters to value the dignity of same sex weddings.  As someone who has officiated same sex weddings, Gov Rauner could serve as a model of inclusivity and use his campaign to vigorously promote full acceptance of LGBTQ Illinoisans.  Instead, he chooses to raise the specter of gay marriage to turnout the most extreme elements of his base.  We recognize a dog whistle when we hear one.

“The governor should be ashamed of using the LGBTQ community for comedic value to make a political hit.  Our weddings are not a joke.  Gov. Rauner does not represent Illinois’ values with this ad.”

State Rep. Greg Harris, the House assistant majority leader and a gay man, blasted Rauner for “blatant homophobia.”

While Rauner has occasionally been sympathetic to the LGBTQ community, including signing a law that makes it easier for transgender people to update their birth certificates and banning the “gay panic” defense, the Illinois GOP has been moving further to the right with their candidates. The Tribune pointed out that the ad could remind social conservatives of Rauner’s occasionally support for civil rights, a voting block he needs if he’s going to have any chance of staying in Springfield.

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