Romney’s IL campaign chief Dan Rutherford says offended pro-family conservatives “can go someplace else and drink”
The following is reprinted from Americans For Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH): www.aftah.org:
By Peter LaBarbera, AFTAH Exclusive, published Aug. 28, 2012
Folks, there is a reason that conservatives often jokingly call the Republican Party “the stupid party” (as opposed to the Democrats being the liberal party). We learned today from the Chicago Sun-Times that the Illinois Republican Party delegation to the GOP convention in Tampa — led by former legislator and current Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford — is partnering with a homosexual activist group that is pushing to close down what it calls the “hate-filled, homophobic” Chick-fil-A restaurants in the state.
Equality Illinois (EQ), the leading “gay” pressure group in the state, is sponsoring the IL-GOP event by covering the bar tab at the IL-GOP “Beachside Cocktail Hour” this evening in Clearwater, FL, where the Illinois delegation is staying. EQ, which lobbies aggressively to legalize homosexual “marriage” in the state, curiously combined its sponsorship with a fierce condemnation of the GOP’s conservative platform — particularly the party’s call for a federal marriage amendment.
Recently, Equality Illinois led a pro-homosexual “Flick-the-hate” campaign to pressure leasing and rental companies to cut ties with the 19 Chick-fil-A restaurants in Illinois. Equality Illinois’ online petition (shown above) “will be given to key stakeholders in Illiniois who lease, rent or allow Chick-fil-A to continue to sell their hate-filled homophobic ‘Chiken,’ asking them to cut ties.” EQ joined other homosexual groups across the country in attacking Chick-fil-A after its COO, Dan Cathy, defended Christian family values including natural marriage as one-man, one-woman.
Rutherford to conservatives: drink elsewhere
Dan Rutherford, Illinois State Treasurer and the state’s campaign manager for Mitt Romney. As a state senator, Rutherford angered conservatives by supporting two key pieces of homosexual activist legislation.
Rutherford, the former Illinois state senator who is Mitt Romney’s Illinois campaign chair, dismissively told the Sun-Times that Republican conservatives who do not approve of the Equality Illinois alcohol sponsorship of tonight’s GOP gathering “can go someplace else and drink.” The following is a reprint of yesterday’s Sun-Times report (emphasis added):
Gay-rights group covers Illinois delegates’ bar tab, criticizes GOP gay-marriage platform
By Dave McKinney, Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2012
CLEARWATER, FL — Republicans mostly wanted nothing to do with helping pass a state law legalizing civil unions in 2011.
Yet a prominent gay-rights organization in Illinois is footing the drink tab for the state’s GOP delegates Tuesday – and, on Monday, went so far as to criticize Mitt Romney for allowing the “far right” to “hijack” the national party’s platform on the issue of gay marriage.
Nationally, Republicans adopted language calling for a constitutional amendment to bar gay marriages across the country and to begin enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.
“The proposed Republican platform flies in the face of the growing national consensus behind equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in general and marriage equality specifically,” Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, said in a prepared statement.
“The language shows that the Romney-Ryan ticket, whose anti-LGBT positions are well known, has allowed the far right in the Republican Party to hijack the convention process,” Cherkasov said.
Equality Illinois has agreed to pay “a couple thousand” dollars to cover the bar tab for what is described as a Beachside Cocktail Hour in the Clearwater, Fla., hotel where Illinois delegates are staying for the Republican National Committee, an Equality Illinois spokesman said.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Romney’s Illinois campaign manager and the only Senate Republican to vote for the civil unions law, expressed support for the Equality Illinois’ stance on the gay-marriage constitutional amendment question.
Rutherford said he is against gay marriage but doesn’t believe a constitutional question should dictate to states how they should handle the matter.
“My personal opinion is I’m not sure that’s where I would go if I was making those decisions,” Rutherford told the Chicago Sun-Times. “I think it should be left up to the individual states.”
Rutherford said he did not know whether Equality Illinois’ sponsorship of a cocktail hour would breed any dissension among more conservative members of the delegation but said if it does they are under no obligation to drink the group’s liquor.
“They can go someplace else and drink,” Rutherford said.
Some pro-family GOP delegates contacted by AFTAH quickly condemned Equality Illinois’ sponsorship of the IL-GOP delegation’s cocktail event. Said Republican consultant John Zahm:
“As an elected delegate from the 17th Congressional District, I am upset to learn of this sponsorship by Equality Illinois. This group does not stand for our core values nor the Republican Party Platform that we are about to approve at the convention. I certainly won’t be drinking [from the EI-sponsored bar]. Our values should not be for sale.”
Another 17 Congressional District delegate, Kay Ferris, of Sterling, Illinois, said the homosexual lobby group’s sponsorship of the IL-GOP event is “outrageous”: “We weren’t aware of it. I would not attend that [event] because of that. We should not accept their money if they go against our principled family values.”
Matt Barber, Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action and former Communications Director for Illinois Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jim Oberweis, said,
“We’ve known for years now that the IL GOP’s leadership has been made-up of left-leaning RINOs, but have they completely gone off the liberal deep end? They’re partnering here with one of the most bigoted anti-Christian, anti-Republican outfits in America. This is like the NAACP forging an alliance with skinheads at its national convention. Is [Romney IL campaign chief] Rutherford intentionally trying to alienate the base of the Republican Party? It’s reprehensible, not to mention just plain stupid.” [Barber is also Board Chairman of AFTAH]
A Republican Party activist with wide connections statewide in Illinois tells AFTAH that he has heard from others attending GOP fund-raisers at which Rutherford spoke — and the Romney campaign manager is urging fellow Republicans not to focus on social issues. This parallels similar advice coming from other Republican VIPs (eg., Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels) to lay low on social issues while concentrating on the U.S. economy and fiscal crises. Conservative critics have countered that it is wrong to downplay or ignore social issues when left-wing social activists continue to push hard for their agenda goals, including same-sex “marriage.”
AFTAH will be following this story closely.