Although critical of same-sex marriages, gubernatorial hopeful and social conservative state Rep. Jeanne Ives said she wouldn't interfere with "adult consensual relationships" if elected.
"I'm a social conservative ... no problem with that ... unlike Gov. (Bruce) Rauner," said the Wheaton Republican, who is running against the incumbent in the March 20 primary.
"But I have no interest in regulating adult consensual relationships at all. By the way, we've had the federal government weigh in subsequently on a lot of those issues," Ives told the Daily Herald editorial board recently.
In 2013, Ives made waves on a radio show saying same-sex marriages are "disordered" and couples are "trying to weasel their way into acceptability so that they can then start to push their agenda down into the schools, because this gives them some sort of legitimacy." She said her remarks were only about her opposition to same-sex-marriage and not about gay couples.
Ives is drawing on her conservative credentials in the campaign to draw a line between herself and Rauner, who outraged many in his party by signing a bill in the fall allowing state health insurance and Medicaid funding for abortion.
"I'm not going to lie to people about who I am," she said. "I'm happy to advance policy on behalf of taxpayers. I'm happy to stop bad policy when it reaches my desk, regardless of what type it is. If I get a repeal bill on taxpayer-funded abortions, I will sign it immediately."
The mother of five has taken on male bastions, graduating from West Point and serving in the U.S. Army and as a three-term lawmaker in the General Assembly.
Asked for her thoughts on the #MeToo social media movement where victims of sexual harassment are speaking up and identifying abusers, Ives revealed she was on the receiving end of a sexist comment.
In October, an open letter that gathered at least 300 signatures circulated around the state Capitol describing an environment where sexual harassment and intimidation went unchecked.
"Is sexual harassment rampant down there (in Springfield)? I don't know," Ives noted. "Has it happened to me? Yes. Did I handle it? Yes."
Ives did not name who harassed her, noting it wasn't "anyone who had anything over me or had a bill sitting over my head. It was nothing like that. It was just was a personal comment, and I handled it. (Harassment) comes in all sorts of forms."
But leaders "set the tone and culture" of the organization, Ives noted, blaming Democratic leaders for failing to hire a legislative inspector general to review complaints.
She also faulted Rauner for breaking with the GOP by signing the Trust Act. The measure prevents local police from arresting someone based on immigration status.
Ives said the policy creates a sanctuary state that makes Illinoisans less safe.