Conservative Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) -- who was a chief critic of Illinois Republican Party Chair Pat Brady's embrace of gay marriage -- had a different take on U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's surprise backing of same sex marriage on Tuesday.
Oberweis said there's enough room in the Republican tent to embrace differing beliefs.
Oberweis, who raised objections to Brady, said that was not due to the underlying issue, but because Brady on his own took a position against the party platform.
As for Kirk's future in the party, Oberweis' response: "Mark Kirk is a smart guy. I assume he made some political calculation that this was OK or would help him. I have no idea, I didn't talk to him," Oberweis said. "Mark is usually pretty careful, and pretty political. I assume that he made a calculation that he believes it helps him not hurts him."
Oberweis characterized the issue as a distraction to the financial mess that's ahead of lawmakers in Springfield.
"We have a serious pension problem that has got to be resolved," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, things like this are just a distraction for us."