The state's former GOP chairman, who stepped down in May amid pressure over his public support of same-sex marriage, has started a firm that partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union to lobby for marriage equality.
Shortly after stepping down from his post as chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, St. Charles resident Pat Brady helped co-found Next Generation Public Affairs – a public affairs lobbying firm that started up a few months ago, he said. Another co-founder includes Matt Strawn, former chairman of the Iowa Republican Party.
The ACLU recently hired Next Generation Public Affairs to lobby for marriage equality issues, Brady said.
"Hopefully they hired us because we're good at what we do and we've been advocates for people in different capacities," he said.
He said the ACLU is likely reaching out to Next Generation Public Affairs to help influence other "like-minded" Republicans in the House of Representatives who might vote for marriage equality.
Brady stepped down in the spring from his GOP chairman post after calls from Illinois State Central Committeemen, including state Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, called for him to resign. Brady said he and Oberweis are friends even though they disagreed on the issue, and said it had no impact on the firm's decision to partner with the ACLU.
"I think he certainly is entirely free to choose his line of work," Oberweis said. "I wish him good luck."
Brady said he thinks the general opinion about same-sex marriage has "changed dramatically" on the national level in the last few years.
"I think there's been a shift nationally in favor of marriage equality, especially among young voters and suburbanites," he said.
He said thinks legalizing same-sex marriage is the right thing to do and said he looks forward to being able to rally for an issue he personally believes in.
Next Generation Public Affairs specializes in traditional advocacy, messaging and educating legislators on behalf of the ACLU, Brady said.
"It's part of a very large national effort by the ACLU," he said.
Aside from same-sex marriage issues, the firm also will lobby for issues relating to energy, financial services, higher education, transportation and health care, he said.