Illinois Republican Party Hedges on Plans to Oust Chair Pat Brady for His Support of Marriage Equality

As Steve mentioned last month, Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady has been under fire from some members of his party angry that he had urged lawmakers to support marriage equality.

BradySaid Brady in January: "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."

Today, Republican leaders had planned a meeting in which they were going to discuss firing Brady for his remarks, but the meeting was canceled, the AP reports:

It was unclear if the committee had enough votes to fire Brady. State Sen. Jim Oberweis, one of the GOP committeemen leading the charge to oust Brady, said it was "certainly a possibility" that the issue could come up again at the party's meeting in April. Oberweis, of North Aurora, said Saturday that members wanted more time and also wanted to be sure Brady, who is out of town, could attend.

"Some of the members thought it would be better to take a little more time and make sure Pat could be back," Oberweis told The Associated Press. "… I think we're all interested in figuring out how to help revive the Republican Party in Illinois."

Though there's clearly dissonance within the party:

Rep. Tom Cross, the top Republican in the Illinois House, has said the push to fire Brady was "a big mistake."

"We're a party that prides itself and often talks about having a big tent approach. And if we're going to be a party that grows … we need to acknowledge that … we're not always going to agree with each other 100 percent," Cross said. "To me, you can be for (gay marriage), or you can be against it. But we ought to say to 'You have a place in this party.'"

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, the state's ranking Republican lawmaker, also said it would be a mistake to remove Brady, spokesman Lance Trover said Friday. Kirk voted to end the policy on gays serving in the military, known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and opposes a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.