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updated: 11/8/2013 5:13 AM

Will same-sex marriage loom in treasurer primary?

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  • Tom Cross

      Tom Cross

  • Bob Grogan

      Bob Grogan

  • Video: Duckworth testimony

 
 

State Rep. Tom Cross of Oswego -- who just weeks ago was the Illinois House's top Republican -- didn't have much to say publicly about his surprise vote for same-sex marriage this week. One opponent might not push him to say much more.

Cross is facing a Republican primary race for Illinois treasurer against DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogan, who could be trying to position himself as the more conservative candidate.

Grogan opposes same-sex marriage, but he didn't take any swings at Cross. "I'm running for treasurer, and treasurer doesn't have a lot to do with that topic," Grogan said. "How Tom Cross votes on it is not relevant to me."

Off the table?

State Sen. Mike Frerichs of Champaign, the Democrat in the race for treasurer, has tried to seize on the issue, criticizing Cross for not publicly backing same-sex marriage before the vote Tuesday.

Cross's vote would effectively make same-sex marriage a nonissue if he and Frerichs faced each other in the November general election. But Cross doesn't address that in his written statement. In it, he says he talked with his father, a retired minister, about the decision.

"I believe that all citizens in Illinois should have the individual freedom to live their lives as they see fit and pursue happiness," Cross says in the statement. "I also believe that our government must treat everyone equally and not exclude citizens from engaging in marriage based on their sexual orientation."

Republican Michael Scott Carter, a Chicago businessman, also says he's running for treasurer.

They say no Madigan sway

House Speaker Michael Madigan's rounding up votes has been credited with helping same-sex marriage's approval, and there were suggestions he nudged some suburban freshman Democrats who could face some of the strongest opposition for re-election.

But they say that didn't happen.

State Rep. Marty Moylan, a Des Plaines Democrat, says he came to his "yes" vote after Pope Francis famously said of gay people: "Who am I to judge?"

"The speaker never asked me or called me," said Moylan, who is Catholic.

State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, an Aurora Democrat who also said Madigan played no role in her vote, heard from lots of advocates as the issue brewed over the summer.

"The only people I talked to about my vote were the people in my district," she said.

Safety first

Office Depot Inc. co-CEO Ravi Saligram this week was praised by Illinois lawmakers for his testimony asking for tax breaks as the company decides whether to put its headquarters in Naperville or Florida.

At one point, he explained the company will want to move quickly on that decision.

"If the new CEO is announced shortly, this thing is going to move faster than a Tokyo bullet train," Saligram said.

"And hopefully safer," said state Sen. Matt Murphy, a Palatine Republican.

Duckworth backs U.N. convention

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat who lost both legs in Iraq, testified in the U.S. Senate this week for approval of a United Nations convention outlining rights for people with disabilities.

"Unfortunately, our laws do not follow service members and veterans when they are outside U.S. borders. When veterans travel abroad, we are often jolted by leaving our nation that does everything in its power to support our wounded warriors," Duckworth said.

Senate tackles Urlacher appointment

The Illinois Senate Thursday confirmed Casey Urlacher, Mettawa mayor and brother of former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, as a member of the state's Civil Service Commission.

Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Urlacher to the $25,320-per-year job earlier this year.

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