Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady has stepped down from his post amid controversy over his public support for same-sex marriage.
Brady is citing personal reasons for his resignation, announced Tuesday in a letter sent to the state party's central committee. According to the Associated Press, his wife is battling "serious cancer" and he wants to spend more time with her and their family.
Social conservatives within the state party had targeted Brady and called for his resignation after he announced that he personally supported same-sex marriage equality early this year. One member of the party's central committee previously described him as "a total disgrace" in supporting marriage equality and other issues that were contrary to both the national and state GOP's policy platforms.
Given the fracas, does Brady regret announcing his support for marriage equality for same-sex couples? "Absolutely not," he told the Chicago Sun-Times Tuesday, though he admitted to WBEZ that the flap concerning the issue "was a factor in my decision, but not an overriding factor."
The committee's current vice chair, Carol Donovan of Chicago will now serve as interim chairman, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Brady's colleague, state Rep. Jim Durkin, a Westchester Republican, told the Sun-Times he was "saddened" by the news. Brady had served as the party's chairman in Illinois since August of 2009.
“He’s a fearless advocate for the Republican party. He’s raised more money than any other chairman has raised in my lifetime,” Durkin told the paper. “He took on the Democratic party like no other chairman has in my lifetime.”
Following the most recent of two previously unsuccessful attempts by conservative members of the committee to oust their chair, Brady had continued to reject calls for his resignation, though he admitted that he would not be running for reelection in 2014.
"I think there are people in the party who don't necessarily agree with me, but the point is .... we're a party that welcomes all ideas," Brady told the AP last month before adding that he feels the state GOP needs to be more welcoming of diversity and inclusive if it hopes for more electoral success going forward.
Meanwhile, a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois is pending in the state legislature and is expected to be taken up for a vote in the state House by the month's end.