As the race for the 27th senate district winds down, Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 school board President David Page is looking to distinguish himself on social issues, while his opponent, incumbent state Sen. Matt Murphy said the focus should be on the state's financial problems.
Page, making his first run for the state legislature, said equality for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) population in Illinois is an important issue for him and one that hits close to home.
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Page said his brother, Dan, is gay, and even with civil unions approved in Illinois last year, he said there is still a disparity in rights.
"When you compare it to what my wife and I have, it's separate, but not equal," Page said. He said his brother once went to pick up a pharmacy prescription for his partner and was turned away; and said they always worry that if one of them is injured in a different state their rights would not be recognized.
"I put myself in those shoes and I don't get how that discrimination is still allowed in this day and age," Page said.
Murphy, on the other hand has voted against the civil union legislation and said he would not support a gay marriage law.
"I think marriage ought to be between a man and a woman," said Murphy, who added that he doesn't see a big distinction between civil unions and gay marriage.
Murphy added that the race foir the 27th district is not about social issues, but about who has the experience to help fix the finances of Illinois.
"I don't want to diminish these issues or say they aren't important, but they aren't the focus of my attention in Springfield," Murphy said. "I go back to the biggest difference -- between someone who has proven they will oppose tax increases and someone who says they are going to."
Page, a financial adviser, said he would support gay marriage in Illinois if elected, but is still dedicated to getting the budget worked out.
"(Gay marriage) is not the first bill I'm going forward with, but it's something I feel passionately about," he said.
Page also said he will pursue anti-bullying legislation. He said he is aware of the problem from years on the District 25 school board and from discussing the issue with his wife, a teacher in Northwest Suburban High School District 214.
"You can't change who you are and the problem is districts around the state all have different rules," Page said.
Anti-bullying legislation failed to pass in May by one vote.
Page said he wants to work with the sponsors of the bill to rework it and move it forward.
Murphy, meanwhile, was one of six senators to vote "present" on the bill, but he says he's not opposed to anti-bullying legislation.
Instead, he wsaid he had a conflict with the sponsors over certain wording in the bill.
"It's a reasonable thing to do," Murphy said of the anti-bullying legislation, adding he could support an amended bill going forward.
Still, "With all the of the major fiscal problems we have going on right now, I really think those matters ought to be the priority and those are my focus," Murphy said.
The 27th District includes parts of Arlington Heights, Barrington, Buffalo Grove, Inverness, Palatine, Wheeling, Prospect Heights and South Barrington.