Home Illinois News Madigan taps openly gay state rep for new Majority Leader

Madigan taps openly gay state rep for new Majority Leader

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CHICAGO – State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) broke through a ceiling this week when he became Illinois' first openly gay and HIV-positive lawmaker to assume the powerful political role of Illinois House Majority Leader. 

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan tapped Harris to succeed former longtime Majority House Leader Barbara Flynn-Currie – Madigan's faithful, relentless Democrat floor leader – who retired at the end of last session.

Harris' appointment was not received well by Illinois Family Institute executive director David E. Smith, who said the Democrat Party's veer to the Left is becoming more and more prominent.

"This is just more evidence of the Leftward slide of the Democratic Party. Blue dog Democrats are quickly going extinct. This is not something to celebrate, but rather something to lament," Smith told Illinois Review.  "Chicago Democrats have very little tolerance for traditional Judeo-Christian values, and that is demonstrated by how they govern with in Springfield. Illinois voters deserve a robust opposition Party who isn't afraid to uphold the platform of the Republican Party."

It's likely the Illinois Republican Party will not be the source of the "robust opposition" Smith seeks. While Republican State Rep. David McSweeney didn't offer a typical response to Illinois Review on Harris' new position, he did to Politico's Shia Kapos – a comment Kapos described as "praise."

"I don't always agree with him ideologically, but I have the highest personal respect for Greg Harris. He's hard-working and looks out for the good of the state," said Rep.Dave McSweeney(R-Barrington Hills).

Kapos went on to quote former IL GOP Chairman Pat Brady, who called the appointment "phenomenal."

Pat Brady, who drew criticism for supporting gay marriage when he was GOP chairman in the early 2000s, also had high praise. "It sends a phenomenal message about the state of Illinois. It's a great moment for the state."

Harris assumed office when his predecessor Larry McKeon stepped out of office in 2006. Before that, Harris' bio says, he "served 14 years as chief-of-staff to former 48th Ward Chicago Alderman Mary Ann Smith and in a number of senior management positions with the National Home Furnishings Association." 

That background and his experience in the Illinois House qualified Harris to be key to moving legislation through the Democrat-controlled Illinois House, according to Speaker Madigan. 

There's no question that whatever legislation the gay rights advocacy group Equality Illinois seeks, they will get it it the upcoming legislative session.

With the Democrats with veto-proof majorities and a Democrat governor that was enthusiastically supported by Chicago's gay community, Illinois' traditional religious community will have little – if any – political power in Illinois for the foreseeable future. 

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  2. McSweeney responded that he has the “highest personal respect for Greg Harris” which points to the GOP’s problem with moral clarity. While according to most accounts, Greg Harris has many admirable qualities, his volitional embrace of a homosexual “identity” and his active pursuit of policies that affirm the destructive “LGBT” ideology should render him undeserving of either a leadership position or the “highest” personal respect.

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