Illinois GOP Chair Resigns, Cites Support For Same-Sex Marriage As A Reason

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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.

From our media partner CNN

Mark Preston, CNN Political Director