SPRINGFIELD - The drive to pass same-sex marriage in Illinois has drawn support from far and near. Last week, wealthy gay marriage supporters began pouring cash into state lawmakers' campaign coffers. In addition to the money from Equality Illinois (story HERE), several nationally-known marriage redefinition funders rewarded Illinois GOP House members for supporting, and signing on as co-sponsors of, SB 10 - the gay marriage bill.
For example, Tim Gill, founder of Quark Industries, which he sold in 2009 to spend more time in promoting LGBT legislative efforts, sent Republican State Reps. Ron Sandack and Ed Sullivan each $5,300 in late June (see below). Those are the only two donations Gill has written in 2013 to Illinois politicians. Gill, who now lives with his same sex husband in Denver, was heavily involved in forming coalitions that moved Colorado from a conservative Republican state to a liberal Democrat-controlled blue state in 2010.
Clark Pellett, former Chicago Republican Party president, and gay activist, wrote Sandack a check for $5,300 in early June. Pellett also wrote a check for $5,300 to Sullivan in June, shortly before writing a check for $5,000 to Democratic Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Sandack and Sullivan were also boosted by New York billionaire Paul Singer who wrote $5,300 checks to the GOP lawmakers. Illinois State Board of Elections show Sandack and Sullivan as the only two campaign donation recipients from Singer in Illinois. The investment mogul said in May he intended to support Republicans that promote gay marriage. Singer, who is straight, has a gay son that was married to another man in Massachusetts.
“Our job is to let them [Republican politicians] know they have plenty of like-minded friends, activists and party leaders who will stand with them”on the issue, Singer said in an email to the Washington Post.
Singer hopes his support will encourage more conservatives to join the pro-gay marriage movement.
“Ultimately, this fight is about basic equality and individual freedom - both conservative principles," Singer said. "But for those who remain unconvinced, state-by-state evidence that marriage equality does no harm and actually strengthens families and the institution of marriage should put doubts to rest and pave the way for more conservatives to join this growing movement.”
In addition, Sullivan and Sandack received $2500 each on June 29th from Laura Ricketts, of the Chicago Cubs, who is openly gay. She is a board member of of the gay legal group Lambda Legal and very generous to Democrat organizations.
In an interview with MarketToMarketLLC.com, Ricketts, who has a partner, said, "I came out to my family I would say early to mid 30s. I think for a long time I wasn't really out to myself growing up in Omaha, Neb., to a Catholic conservative family. ... I think that it really couldn't of been a better experience. They were all immediately supportive. ... I have been really really fortunate in that regard."
Between Ricketts, Singer, Pellett and Gill, Sandack and Sullivan have received nearly $20,000 in gay marriage support money the last 30 days.