A $4,800 contribution to the Cross for Treasurer campaign from Chicago gay rights activist Clark Pellett is raising questions about Cross’ critical vote last month to legalize gay marriage. Up until the day of the vote, Cross’ staff consistently assured conservatives that Cross would be a solid “no” vote.
Pellett, who is in a same-sex relationship with Chicago’s Robert Kohl, is credited with having a leadership role in passing Illinois’ gay marriage law. For years, Pellett was active in the Republican Party as Chicago GOP’s chairman. He has also donated to Cross’ political campaigns over the years.
Pellett’s check, reported to the Illinois State Board of Elections Thursday, brought Cross’ gay marriage vote back into the spotlight because his support for the measure was unexpected, and the bill narrowly passed with one vote more than needed.
“We were surprised when Cross voted yes,” Illinois Family Action’s David E. Smith told Illinois Review. “He lied to us. Absolutely, he lied.”
“Had the three Republicans that voted for gay marriage held firm to the party platform, we’d still be fighting the issue in Springfield,” Smith said.
Cross is pro-choice, voted for medical marijuana, supported the (renewed) Equal Rights Amendment and backed stem cell research. His vote shouldn’t have been a huge surprise.
And, yes, the fact that Cross’ vote will help him raise money in the gay community is most definitely a plus. It was simply good politics in a state like this. His Democratic opponent was a prominent supporter, so Cross took a big issue off the table that allows him to tap into money that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.
But just one contribution so far? C’mon. If anything, that ought to be a disappointment for Cross’ campaign.
* Also, party platforms are only important to some of the people who write them. They aren’t statutes. And they shouldn’t be used to keep the party small and exclusive, especially in a state dominated by Democrats.