Just two weeks before Election Day, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign launched a new ad depicting a wedding between Democratic candidate J.B. Pritzker and House Speaker Mike Madigan.
Titled, "Unholy Union," the ad shows an officiant standing before two men under an arch reading vows.
“I, Mike Madigan, take you J.B. Pritzker as my unlawful partner in destruction,” the officiant says. “To raise property taxes, corrupt government and bankrupt Illinois’ future.”
The man portraying Madigan then says, “Done, deal.”
The officiant then turns to a man meant to resemble Pritzker and asks if he will take Madigan “to honor and obey ‘til death do us part,” to which the actor replies, “always have, always will.”
“By the power vested in me, I now pronounce Illinois [bleep],” the officiant says.
The so-called marriage is deemed “an unholy union Illinois can’t afford.”
“Together, they will bankrupt Illinois with billions in new proposed spending and a massive tax hike,” Rauner’s campaign said in a statement.
Pritzker said in a statement “it is only fitting that Bruce Rauner would choose to end his campaign by blaming others for his own failures.”
“After four years of seeing their governor more interested in affairs with special interests, badmouthing his own state and refusing to compromise, the people of Illinois are looking forward to their divorce from Bruce Rauner being finalized on November 6th,” Pritzker said.
Rep. Greg Harris, an openly gay member of the Illinois House who championed the state's 2013 legalization of same-sex marriage, said the ad "is mocking same-sex marriage as an 'unholy union.'"
Brian Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, told Capitol Fax the organization is "deeply disappointed" by the ad.
"There is still much work to be done to move the hearts and minds of many Republican voters to value the dignity of same sex weddings," the statement read. "As someone who has officiated same sex weddings, Gov. Rauner could serve as a model of inclusivity and use his campaign to vigorously promote full acceptance of LGBTQ Illinoisans. Instead, he chooses to raise the specter of gay marriage to turnout the most extreme elements of his base. We recognize a dog whistle when we hear one."
Rauner has previously officiated a same-sex marriage ceremony in Chicago. He also previously signed a plan making it easier for transgender people to change the gender listed on their birth certificates.
A spokesman for Rauner did not comment on whether the ad had an underlying message about gay marriage.