Republican Candidate Still Refuses To Admit His Stance On State's Gay Marriage Law

Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner smiles as he and opponent Gov. Pat Quinn appear together for the fir
Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner smiles as he and opponent Gov. Pat Quinn appear together for the first time before the 2014 general election, during the annual meeting of the Illinois Education Association Friday, April 11, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

One day after a new Illinois law allowing same-sex marriage went into effect, LGBT advocates lashed out against Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner over his apparent opposition to marriage equality and his unwillingness to clarify his position on the issue in detail.

At a Monday press conference at Daley Plaza in Chicago, advocates criticized Rauner for stating last December that he would have vetoed the marriage equality bill had it come to his desk as governor in an audio clip shared by the Capitol Fax political blog.

Marriage equality advocates associated with Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal, The Civil Rights Agenda and other groups, as well as several elected officials and community leaders, signed onto an open letter criticizing Rauner distributed Sunday. (Read the full letter embedded below.)

"Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, claims to be a social moderate," the letter read. "We know the real Bruce Rauner. His administration would very likely be working behind-the-scenes to block new legislation and erode the existing laws protecting our families."

Marriage equality advocates are also pointing out that Rauner's running mate, Wheaton City Council member Evelyn Sanguinetti, has also expressed her belief in "the traditional definition" of marriage -- suggesting she is opposed to same-sex marriage.

In response to the criticism, Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf told the Chicago Tribune that "Bruce doesn't have a social issues agenda, and doesn't have an agenda to change the law on gay marriage."

Rauner told the Chicago Sun-Times last June he feels his personal view on same-sex marriage is "irrelevant" and that the issue is best decided by voters, rather than lawmakers, a position his spokesman reemphasized Monday.

Rauner's opponent in the general election, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, has been a vocal supporter of marriage equality and on Monday attended a ceremony and reception at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art where more than a dozen same-sex couples wed.