By Mark Preston
WASHINGTON (CNN) –
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady resigned Tuesday, citing a handful of reasons including an ongoing struggle with several members of the state GOP over his support for same-sex marriage.
“There were several reasons,” why he decided to step down, Brady said in a telephone interview with CNN. “I’ve been going at it hard for six years, I need to focus on my family, and obviously I had lost the support of the state Central Committee because of my position on gay marriage.”
Brady was elected chair in August 2009. His wife is battling cancer.
Brady is a close confidante of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois. Kirk announced his support for same-sex marriage last month, while Brady did so earlier this year. Brady’s public support of same-sex marriage angered social conservatives because it went against the state GOP platform on the issue. At the time Brady said it was a personal endorsement and reiterated that in the interview Tuesday with CNN.
The Illinois state legislature is considering legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. In speaking about Kirk and same-sex marriage, Brady said, “I agree with him, we need to get on the right side of history.”
Brady also suggested the party is at a crossroads and needs to decide if it can be a party where “people can disagree on some issues” but agree on many others.
The RNC is currently working on a plan to help broaden the GOP’s appeal beyond its traditional political base such as reaching out to minorities and younger voters – voting blocs it lost to Democrats by wide margins in 2012.
Under pressure from social conservatives, the RNC approved two resolutions last month re-affirming its position of only recognizing that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.