Equality Illinois quiet on support for key Republicans who backed transgender birth certificate law
Equality Illinois, a Chicago-based statewide group representing the LGBTQ community, lobbied hard for passage of the new state law that makes it easier for transgender individuals to change the sex designation on their birth certificates.
Yet officials with the group did not return repeated phone calls and email requests from Prairie State Wire on whether the group would endorse the re-election bids of Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), both of whom backed the transgender birth certificate bill.
Before passage of the new law, transgender people could only change their birth certificates if a doctor verified they had transition surgery. The new law allows for a change if a medical or mental health provider confirms someone has received "clinically appropriate" treatment.
In a separate move, Equality Illinois announced Oct. 31 the start of its “Boards and Commissions Initiative” to “build the policy and political power of LGBTQ Illinoisans by linking qualified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people to openings on key state boards and commissions.”
The Equality Illinois announcement said the group will focus on appointments to panels that have power over five key areas that intersect with the needs and priorities of LGBTQ communities: civil rights and civic engagement, economic development, education, health and human services, and public safety and criminal justice, but will also encourage service on any board of interest to an LGBTQ Illinoisan.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual voters are a solid, Democratic vote, according to an October 2016 survey by the Pew Research Center.
The survey showed that 8 out of 10 LGB registered voters (82 percent) identify with or lean to the Democratic Party, while 18 percent identify with or lean to the Republican Party.
“LGB voters are not only strong supporters of Democratic candidates; they also tend to have broadly liberal political values on a variety of topics, in some cases differing significantly from the views of the electorate as a whole,” the survey said.
For its part, the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) worked hard against the approval of the transgender birth certificate bill.
In a commentary posted on its website after Rauner signed the bill into law, IFI wrote: “For decades Illinois has allowed men and women who impersonate the opposite sex to obtain falsified birth certificates by offering proof that they had had surgery – surgery that actually did not change their sex. But now, thanks to ‘Republican’ Gov. Rauner, those who renounce their biological sex will be allowed to acquire falsified birth certificates based on nothing more than the word of a mental health ‘professional that they’ve been ‘appropriately’ treated. This is both an ethical and political outrage.”
IFI, and other pro-family and anti-abortion groups, also slammed the governor for signing HB40, the public funding of abortions bill, in late September. In early October, 20 groups signed a “Bill of Particulars” saying they would not support Rauner in either the primary or general election, should he make it that far.