Keeping a candidate’s policy positions straight isn’t easy when the candidate appears to come out on both sides of an issue. Sometimes it is due to a simple mistake, as people can misspeak without even realizing it.
When the issue is taxpayer funding of abortion, however, a person is either for it or against it. The same comes to religious liberty and conscience rights. There is no middle ground, even though some candidates would love for there to be some.
State Representative candidate Burt Minor’s recent statements regarding taxpayer funding of abortion and conscience rights have raised questions about his commitment to the pro-life and religious liberty cause. Minor is running in the 42 district, as are candidates Amy Grant and Ryan Byrne.
In a recent Daily Herald article, Burt Constable wrote:
Minor says that while he was “disappointed greatly” that Rauner signed a bill allowing tax dollars to pay for abortions, he would work with that existing law. Grant and Byrne disagree.
Minor would “work with that existing law”? In other words, he would not work to undo the law, but instead would leave the status quo – taxpayers funding abortions – in place?
Constable noted Grant’s and Bryne’s positions:
“Taxpayers should not have to fund abortions,” Grant says, adding that she would like to see the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortions be overturned.
Saying that he “wrestles” with the potential “threat of two lives lost” in an illegal abortion, Byrne says, “I don’t think it should be funded by taxpayer dollars.”
Also in the article is this:
The candidates also differed on so-called religious freedom laws that would allow medical facilities and business owners the right to discriminate against people who request services that are in opposition to the vendors’ religious beliefs. Grant and Byrne said businesses should have the right to discriminate for religious reasons, but should strive to be polite, compassionate and civil. Minor disagreed with the laws.
If Constable is correct, then Burt Minor’s position on the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty is also troubling.
In the course of a campaign, candidates cannot tell one group one thing, and another group something else. To do so is to raise the prospect that they are just telling people what they want to hear. The campaign fray, however, is nothing compared to the political battles that take place in Springfield. Anyone who is not firm in their stance can easily be swayed to vote the wrong way when the pressure is on.
Is Burt Minor completely pro-life as he stated and was recorded in the IFI voter guide? Is he someone conservatives can count on to make the right choices in defense of religious liberty?
On the subject of being pro-family and pro- natural marriage, Burt Minor, as a member of the platform committee at the Illinois Republican Party state convention in 2016, was on the wrong side of the debate concerning the Marriage and Family plank in the party’s platform. At the time, IFI’s Dave Smith reported on what had happened:
The 2016 Illinois Republican Convention was held in Peoria this past weekend on Friday and Saturday. We are thrilled to report that leftists within the party failed to advance their agenda in the newly adopted 2016 Illinois GOP Platform.
If fact, Illinois Republicans strengthened the Right to Life plank in the platform and rejected an attempt to water down and distort the Marriage and Family plank!
The platform committee had voted to change the language, and Smith wrote that those who supported the change “evidently believe that the institution of marriage is the same as and equal to ‘non-traditional’ families… And they want the Illinois Republican Platform to reflect this untruth.”
The good news is that the next day, the full convention voted overwhelmingly (782 to 202) to support and strengthen the language from the 2012 party platform Marriage and Family plank. Smith wrote at the time, “It turns out that convincing Republicans of the meaning and importance of true marriage and family wasn’t all that difficult.”
Just before this article was to be published, there was some breaking news in the campaign for the 42nd Illinois House district. Reports of a meeting last October between Minor and Illinois Attorney General candidate Erika Harold included allegations of Minor using some unfortunate language as he questioned Harold on her life and background.
The Daily Herald Editorial Board, which has endorsed Minor, retracted that endorsement on Tuesday.
In that meeting, Harold said, Minor, now running for the Illinois House, used a pejorative term to ask if she is a lesbian and repeatedly used the N-word in asking her when the racial slur would be appropriate to use.
Harold campaign finance director Katelyn Wallace, who attended the meeting, backs Harold’s account.
In a lengthy statement last week and in an interview earlier this week with our Editorial Board, Minor gave a substantially different account.
The Daily Herald posted “the full video of Minor’s defense,” and invited readers to “gauge for yourself how credible you think that defense is.”
While noting that “In some respects, this is a classic he-said-she-said,” and that “We’ll probably never know for certain whose story is accurate,” the Herald editors went on to list “what’s troublesome about Minor’s account…”
These trouble spots do not constitute proof that Minor’s story is untrue. But taken together, along with Harold’s allegations and Wallace’s corroboration of them, they raise enough doubt that we can no longer feel confident in our earlier endorsement of Minor’s candidacy.
That being the case, we must rescind that endorsement.
The Illinois Family Action endorses Minor’s opponent, Amy Grant.