Politics

Human Rights Campaign Criticizes Democrat's Ad in Illinois

Gay rights group has endorsed Republican Bob Dold in 10th District

Former Rep. Brad Schneider is casting doubts on Republican opponent Robert J. Dold's record on gay rights. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider is trying to retake his 10th District seat in Illinois by tying current GOP Rep. Robert J. Dold to House Republicans on gay rights.

But that's more difficult to do when Dold has the backing of the Human Rights Campaign, the gay rights advocacy group. 

In an ad recently released by the Schneider campaign, the narrator says, "Dold and the Republicans even said employees could be fired, just for being gay." A headshot of Dold in between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan appears on screen. 

The ad also alleges that "Dold and the Republicans" voted to raise the retirement age, cut environmental protections and defund Planned Parenthood. 

Dold is the only House Republican the Human Rights Campaign has endorsed this election season, and the group isn't happy about the way his recent record in the House is being presented in the ad, a joint effort by the Schneider campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

"Bob Dold has repeatedly voted in favor of federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people," the group's government affairs director David Stacy said in a statement. Dold was the first House Republican to co-sponsor the Equality Act.

"And, he has made clear through his votes and support for marriage equality that he believes in a world where everyone, including LGBTQ people, can live free from fear of discrimination," Stacy said. 

[Rep. Bob Dold Walks a Re-Election Tightrope in Illinois]

Dold's campaign also objected to the ad. "At a time when 10th District voters want and demand Bob Dold's brand of serious bipartisan leadership, Brad Schneider is busy hoping he can dupe his way to Washington but voters are not falling for it," said Dold campaign spokeswoman Danielle Hagen. 

To back up its claim, Schneider's campaign website cited a January 2010 interview Dold gave to WLS-AM 890 radio.

"Dold said gay people shouldn’t be given 'special rights' to ensure that employers are prohibited from firing someone because of their sexual orientation," the Schneider campaign says in a footnote. 

The DCCC also points to a vote Dold took earlier this year. He joined six other Republicans who support gay marriage in opposing an amendment that would have kept the prohibition on anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors out of a bill that created the option to review and repeal federal regulations. 

The Dold campaign insists that the vote — on a so-called motion to recommit — was a procedural maneuver, not a substantive policy vote. Most members of the majority party typically vote against motions to recommit.

Dold voted for amendments offered by Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Scott Peters that protected President Barack Obama's executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT employees of federal contractors. 

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.