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Gay marriage vote poses challenge for Illinois GOP

The Illinois Senate is expected to vote on a same sex marriage bill on Valentines Day. The Illinois Senate is expected to vote on a same sex marriage bill on Valentines Day.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Democrats say they have enough votes to approve gay marriage on the floor of the Illinois Senate.

But Thursday's vote poses a challenge for Republicans.

After suffering big losses at the polls last fall, GOP leaders in Illinois and nationwide said the party needs to be more inclusive and diverse.

But after Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady publicly backed same sex marriage during January's lame-duck legislative session, members of the more conservative wing of his party called for his ouster. Opponents also pledged to fund primary challenges to any Republican who voted in favor of the bill.

The conflict comes as voters' feelings are shifting rapidly in favor of gay rights.

If the Senate approves the measure, it will move to the House.

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