CHICAGO — The leader of a political fringe group is taking issue with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's support for marriage equality.
Madigan emphasized her support for marriage equality in an op-ed piece in the Tribune last week, calling it "discrimination" to not allow gay couples the same rights as heterosexuals.
Rikki Jones, president of a group called the Cook County Democratic Women, is disseminating "an open letter to Lisa Madigan" calling it "very disrespectful to say the least" to equate marriage equality with civil rights.
"As a Christian who believes in the Bible, I feel what you are doing is taking my rights as a Christian and sacrificing them for the gay and lesbian community. How could you?" the letter said. It continues with references to Biblical condemnations of homosexuality.
The letter goes on to say allowing marriage equality violates the Constitution because "you have no business insinuating yourself in the church's business.
"You have gotten out of your lane and got in God’s lane! Have you lost your mind? Yours arms are too short to box with God!"
Madigan's office brushed off the letter, issuing a statement saying: "The office’s legal position is based on an extensive legal analysis of the law."
Democratic officials have taken pains to point out that Cook County Democratic Women has nothing to do with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and pointed to another open letter Jones put out in support of state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) in his unsuccessful attempt to unseat Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010.
Preckwinkle issued a statement reaffirming her support for marriage equality in no uncertain terms, saying, “Gay and lesbian couples deserve full recognition of their relationships, which only marriage can provide. Couples who are in loving, committed relationships should be able to marry and be treated equally in the eye of the law.”
Preckwinkle has previously joined other African-American politicians in stating that marriage equality is a civil-rights issue.
"I did send out this letter and am very proud to have done so," Jones affirmed Wednesday. "Although we have both whites and Hispanics in our organization, it is mostly professional black women who believe in God and follow the Bible."
Her group's influence is hard to measure. Cook County Democratic Women has less than $200 in its coffers, according to state campaign finance records, and did not contribute to any political campaigns in the last election. Jones has not made any political donations since 2007, when she contributed $500 to former Ald. Sandi Jackson. Jackson pleaded guilty to tax evasion in February.