* From WBEZ…
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has hired former state Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady to lobby for a same-sex marriage bill in Springfield, months after his own support of gay marriage sparked a controversy that led to his resignation.
The ACLU confirmed Tuesday that it has hired Next Generation Public Affairs, the lobbying and public relations firm Brady co-founded after he left his party job in May.
“I think the very core of the conservative movement, which I consider myself a part of, is application of equality under the law for all,” Brady said Tuesday in an interview with WBEZ.
Brady will focus on lobbying House Republicans in hopes of getting the same-sex marriage bill passed during this fall’s veto session, he said. He’ll also tap the political donors he cultivated during his four years as party chairman to raise money for groups that support gay marriage, and for Republican lawmakers who may be hesitant to cast a yes vote, fearing a challenge in next year’s primary.
Brady’s hiring comes after the ACLU launched a $10 million national push in June, aimed at winning support for same-sex marriage from Republican lawmakers and voters in a handful of states, including Illinois.
Steve Schmidt, a GOP strategist who was formerly a top advisor to Arizona U.S. Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, is heading up the national effort.
It’s probably not a bad hire at all, particularly if he follows through on the fundraising aspect. That alone could make him more effective than he was as chairman, when he couldn’t convince more than one Senate Republican and two House Republicans to vote for gay marriage. Brady also wasn’t the only Republican operative pushing gay marriage in Illinois last spring. Aside from Sen. Mark Kirk, some highly experienced and capable GOP lobbyists were also on board. They didn’t have much success.
I have no evidence yet, but I figure Tom Cross might decide to be a “Yes” vote now that he’s stepping aside as House GOP Leader. But that won’t have anything to do with lobbying. It’ll be about the fall campaign.