In 2005, LaBarbera Asked Dan Rutherford to Come Clean on Homosexuality

Does renegade, pro-homosexual Illinois Republican politician have a conflict of interest?

“Do you agree that [your constituents] have a right to know if there is a special interest in your life that affects your voting record? From an integrity standpoint, I think the axiom is true: honesty is the best policy.” — Peter LaBarbera to then-St. Sen. Dan Rutherford (Republican-Pontiac, IL), 11/18/2004                                                    

                                                    *       *       *

Dan Rutherford was seen with his male partner, according to one Republican activist. He cast two key votes as State Senator for pro-homosexual legislation.

IL GOP gubernatorial candidate and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford–widely rumored to be homosexual by activists in the GOP–cast two key votes as State Senator for pro-homosexual legislation. Rutherford is now being sued for sexual harassment by a male aide who says he was groped by the politician.

Homosexual newspaper Windy City Times to Dan Rutherford: “Is the Republican Party changing? Should it?”
Rutherford: “I think the party should change. I think the party should evolve. I think it’s going to take people like myself to help the party evolve. When I voted for the [pro-homosexual/pro-transgender] human rights bill in the early 90s, there was only a few of us. And when we moved forward to eventually pass it, there was more of us. And as we moved into consideration of the civil unions bill, there were some of us.

“Equality Illinois [the state’s leading homosexual activist group] was one of the hosts at the Republican National Convention for one of the receptions.”  — WCT interview with Rutherford, 8-6-13


Dear AFTAH Readers,

With reports that Illinois GOP gubernatorial candidate and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford is being sued for sexual harassment by a male aide, I thought it important to reprint the two articles below–which originally appeared on the Illinois Family Institute (IFI) website in 2005–and which I wrote as then-Executive Director of IFI. The article (like many other older pieces) fell off the current IFI website following a overhaul of the site, and currently is not on the IFI site.

Since these articles were written, then-State Sen. Rutherford, having already helped the Democrats pass a homosexual “nondiscrimination” bill, went on to cast a second key Republican vote for a bill legalizing homosexual “civil unions.” The latter was a precursor to legalized homosexual “marriage” in the Land of Lincoln (the state “gay marriage” law takes effect June 1, 2014). Rutherford, who went on to become Illinois State Treasurer in 2011, never answered this writer’s query about alleged homosexuality–something which most men, especially those falsely accused like myself, find very easy to do. But he has offered curt and carefully-worded denials to others about being homosexual. This includes responding “No” to an oddly-worded “non-question” alluding to his alleged “gayness” in an interview with conservative Illinois Review editor Fran Eaton. (I’m afraid Eaton’s overly deferential, walking-on-eggshells approach–Rutherford answered “No” to “The Question” without her defining it–revealed more about the uncomfortableness surrounding homosexuality than it did about Rutherford’s past or present sexual lifestyle.)

Most recently in an interview last August with the Chicago homosexual newspaper, Windy City Times, Rutherford had this exchange with a reporter:

WCT: Your support for the LGBT has put you in the spotlight. Conservative bloggers have speculated you are gay. How do you define your sexual orientation?

Dan Rutherford: I’m not gay.

To which Chicago homosexual activist Robert Castillo responded: “Thanks for asking if he’s gay. You should have also asked if he is bisexual.”

Note that on every occasion of Rutherford being “questioned” about homosexuality, there are no follow-up questions (e.g., have you ever been in a homosexual relationship?)–and no probing into the meaning of words. (Many men who engage(d) in homosexual or bisexual behavior do not claim to be “gay”; there is even a term for it: men on the “down low.”) Also note that Rutherford’s continued advocacy of homosexuality in the Republican Party sets him apart from a person who may have engaged in homosexual behavior in the past but abandoned it–i.e., a repentant or recovered former homosexual. (Christians believe in the power of God through Christ to help people overcome that behaviorial sin pattern.)

On the conservative side, activists like Republican Chicago attorney and Republican News Watch founder Doug Ibendahl have long maintained that whether Rutherford ever admits it publicly or not, he is “gay.”

Encounter with Rutherford’s “partner”

Of course, there is the very real possibility that Rutherford–a politician, after all–is lying and dissembling about his aberrant sexual past and/or present so as not to hurt his prospects running in a Republican primary for governor.

A couple of years ago–long after my attempt at IFI to get Rutherford to clarify his sexuality–I had an interesting discussion with a veteran Illinois Republican activist, who told of meeting Rutherford “and his [male] partner” a number of years ago while travelling abroad. The man who accompanied Rutherford was clearly his partner, the activist said matter-of-factly. The activist source had no special animus toward Rutherford and worked with him as a GOP supporter, as with other ILGOP leaders.

Why should we care?

Why is any of this important? Because the people have a right to know if their public servant has a conflict of interest–and because honesty, morality and integrity matter. If Dan Rutherford has practiced a homosexual lifestyle–while advancing “gay” public policy goals in his role as a legislator (in defiance of the ILGOP and national Republican Party Platforms), it says something about his character. (As you can see, I am not a liberal.) And if he then lied and continues to lie or mislead about the matter, it says even more about his character.

Just like in 2005, the voters in Illinois today have a right to know if Rutherford engages in homosexuality or has ever lived a homosexual lifestyle–especially given his prominent pro-homosexual advocacy and voting record. The politics of “outing”–like all politics surrounding homosexuality and the liberal-dominated media–are skewed in favor of the Gay Lobby. Homosexual activists tend to “out” only homosexual Republicans with conservative, pro-family voting records. For example, LGBT bloggers are attempting to “out” Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Peoria) because he opposes same-sex “marriage.” With his “gay” votes in Springfield, Rutherford, then representing a right-leaning, downstate Pontiac as State Senator, was behaving very oddly for the “conservative” he claimed to be.

We had gathered much information to suggest that Rutherford was not being forthright as to the special personal interest that might have led to him break with conservative principles on homosexual issues. I still believe that Rutherford has not come clean with the people of Illinois about his proclivities and bias on the issue. (And Rutherford–if homosexual or bisexual– could be subjected to blackmail by homosexual activists if he opposed “gay”-friendly legislation.)

Lessons from Mark Foley

Republican leaders knew about Mark Foley's homosexuality, but learned too late about his predatory behavior. The Foley page scandal helped the Democrats gain control of the House in 2006.

House Republican leaders knew about Mark Foley’s homosexuality, and did nothing about it. Then they learned too late about his predatory behavior. The ensuing Foley page scandal helped the Democrats gain control of the House in 2006, ushering in Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.

The next year (2006), with the breaking of the Mark Foley page scandal, conservatives gained further insight into the catastrophe that could result from looking the other way at a Republican politician’s (semi-secret) homosexuality. In the years prior to the scandal, this writer–like many others familiar with Florida “gay” politics–was aware of the “open secret” that Foley (R-Palm Beach) was a homosexual. When his immoral sexual lifestyle devolved into him to attempting to seduce teenage male pages, the scandal that ensued–eagerly covered by the liberal media–helped the Democrats rout the Republicans in the 2006 mid-term elections and take control of the House. A little honesty about Foley’s (deviant) homosexual lifestyle might have saved the GOP a lot of electoral trouble. But alas, the Republicans, led by Illinois’ own House Speaker Denny Hastert, chose political correctness over truth, and suffered a loss because of it.

AFTAH is not Republican or Democrat. We are non-partisan, and we are also consistent: we do not believe that God gives Republicans who advocate homosexualism a pass just because they are not Democrats. Regardless of whether these homosexual sexual harassment charges are true, I hope Dan Rutherford one day tells the full truth about his sexual lifestyle, and if he does struggle with homosexuality, I hope he is able to overcome it through the power and grace of Jesus Christ. –Peter LaBarbera, Americans For Truth

Following are the original IFI articles (also sent out in e-mail form) on Dan Rutherford [original web links have been removed]:


Will Dan Rutherford Come Clean on His Special Self-Interest in “Gay Rights”?

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 9/13/2005 4:23:00 AM

By Peter LaBarbera, [then-Executive Director], Illinois Family Institute

A Letter from the Executive Director:

Dear IFI Reader,

I know that the following item will offend some Republicans, but we at the Illinois Family Institute try to put God and moral truth above the interests of any political party. The fact is, a Republican Party that dissembles–or embraces error–on core moral issues like homosexuality, abortion and marriage cannot call itself a “pro-family” party.

God does not care any more for Republican immorality (e.g., Judy Baar Topinka riding a float in the annual “Gay Pride” parade) any more than He does for Democratic immorality.

I hope you agree with me.

Earlier this year, state Sen. Dan Rutherford, a young, energetic GOP legislator representing a conservative rural district (Pontiac), cast a key vote enabling passage of the awful “gay/transgender” bill. This law will–until we repeal it–put Illinois’ “Human Rights” bureaucracy in the service of advancing homosexuality across our state. It is one of the most radical “gay rights” laws in the nation, in that it actually includestrans-gender confusion (read: men in dresses) in its definition of “sexual orientation.”

Thanks to Mr. Rutherford’s vote for homosexual/transsexual “rights,” people of faith–be they in businesses, schools, or churches–WILL be restricted from living out their moral beliefs. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” (If you don’t believe that our freedoms are endangered, just look at the case of Matt Barber, who was fired by Allstate–two weeks after his wife gave birth by C-section to their third child–merely for writing an online essay opposing homosexual “marriage” and the “gay” lifestyle.

This battle is indeed about “intolerance”–from social Leftists like the ACLU who seek to use the law and cultural intimidation to deny your freedom to honor your Creator by living according to your biblically-informed conscience. We should note that there are also many non-religious people whose rights to stand up for morality are under threat.

Where’s the pride?
I have always believed that if the homosexual movement is so “proud” of itself, its agenda and behaviors should be open for all to see. Yet, sadly, the homosexual agenda (and yes, there is an agenda) advances through secrecy and unelected courts–or, in Illinois’ case, through last-minute, lame-duck sessions in which some Republicans joined the Democrat majority in undermining morality and freedom.

I do not believe Dan Rutherford has shown integrity in dealing with the public–since he refuses to answer questions about his own self-interest in advancing the homosexual cause.

I am not saying Mr. Rutherford should not run for office, just that he should be completely honest in doing so.

In light of Rutherford’s announcement yesterday of a run for Secretary of State, we re-post our item from earlier this year focusing on the “elephant in the room” that nobody wants to talk about: Rutherford’s alleged special interest in the homosexual issue.

Won’t sign Marriage Referendum
In addition to helping pass the “gay rights” bill, Rutherford, although solidly pro-life on abortion, refuses to sign the Marriage Advisorty Referendum petition that has been endorsed by the Illinois GOP and dozens of legislators and pro-family groups.

Back in February, Illinois Family Institute responded to an article in the The Illinois Leader praising Rutherford.

Amid widespread “open secret” discussions among Republican leaders and activists concerning Rutherford’s alleged homosexuality, I had written Rutherford (in November 2004), asking him to directly answer questions about it. I argued that his constituents have a right to know since this would influence his votes as a legislator.

Also, I noted that aggressive homosexual “outing” activists put added pressure on “closeted” homosexual legislators to vote pro-“gay.”

Rutherford never responded to the IFI query, and has walked away from some other people who have asked him.

The following is IFI’s original essay published February 3, 2005:

Dan Rutherford’s Special Interest in “Gay Rights”
(Original pub. date on IFI website : 2-3-05)

In a recent guest opinion published by the IllinoisLeader.comCharlie Johnston defends Illinois State Senator Dan Rutherford voting record in Springfield. Mr. Johnston says that on pro-life issues, Rutherford “gets a 100 percent rating from the IFRL (Illinois Federation for Right to Life)” and on Second Amendment issues, Rutherford “is rated A+ by the NRA (National Rifle Association).”

Johnston reasons that “Rutherford makes no effort to confuse people about where he stands. For conservatives he is a solid 80 percent friend – and a hardworking one at that. He has spent more time traveling this state and supporting other conservative Republican candidates than anyone else I know.” Therefore, Johnston contends, “[Rutherford] has earned our support.”

Contrary to Mr. Johnston’s assertion above, I don’t believe Dan Rutherford has been honest and straightforward with his constituents and IL conservatives, at least on one key issue: his (alleged) homosexuality. A few weeks ago, Mike Van Winkle of broke the silence by writing about the pink elephant in the room: that Rutherford is (allegedly) homosexual (see Van Winkle’s full article below).

To Mike, a libertarian, this is not really a big deal, but to many pro-family conservatives, it explains how Rutherford could be so GOOD on the life and gun issues and so BAD on homosexual agenda issues like the SB 3186 vote: he has a special self-interest revolving around the controversial issue of homosexual behavior.

This is important because while Mr. Rutherford may see homosexuality as OK (or be involved in it himself), SB 3186 TAKES AWAY the freedom of other Illinois citizens opposed to homosexuality to act on their beliefs. Personally, I don’t understand how any “conservative” could vote for a bill that so blatantly uses government power to restrict people’s freedom to act on their moral beliefs.

In his Illinois Leader piece, Charlie Johnston [a good man, by the way] failed to put Sen. Rutherford’s vote in its proper context, continuing a charade that must finally come to an end.

In an age when “gay” activists threaten to “out” any homosexual politician (especially Republicans) who votes against their agenda, the wide open “secret” surrounding Rutherford’s (alleged) homosexuality makes him a potential blackmail target.

I spoke to the leading gay “outing” activist in DC, Mike Rogers, and he told me point-blank: he and his activist friends don’t “out” politicians unless the legislator crosses the gay political agenda (e.g., by opposing “gay marriage”). In other words, if they know a Congressman is “gay,” but he is careful to go along with the “gay” lobby on votes like theFederal Marriage Amendment, he is left alone. But if not, his “secret” my be revealed.

This double game cannot be tolerated.

Besides, in this “Will & Grace” era of sodomy jokes during primetime TV, does it really make sense to have a widely reputed homosexual politician NOT be up front about his sexual preference/lifestyle–especially when he represents a conservative district like Pontiac? Does the “closet” make sense anymore when gay activists and their liberal allies insist on promoting homosexual behavior as normative, even to toddlers (i.e., the current“Postcards from Buster” hubbub [a PBS kids show in which an episode featured a friendly interview with two lesbian couples; the episode was cancelled following criticism byEducation Secretary Margaret Spellings]? I don’t think so. We’re too far down the road of proud homosexuality in this culture for homosexual politicians to hide behind the closet.

In November, I wrote Mr. Rutherford asking him to answer the widely assumed questions surrounding his sexuality, and he never responded. Here is the text of my e-mail letter to him, dated 11-18-04:

Dear Sen. Rutherford,

There is an awful lot of speculation…

…about you being a homosexual. In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to know if it’s true, so that your constituents and others in Illinois can be better informed about you.

I believe in this day and age, this issue should not be something that is relegated to secret discussions and gossip. Indeed, the other day I had a conversation with Mike Rogers, a homosexual activist in Washington, D.C., who is in the business of “outing” any perceived homosexuals who are NOT sufficiently supporting the “gay rights” agenda (e.g., opposing “gay marriage”). Interestingly, he and his friends seek to expose only those “homosexuals” who are voting or acting publicly IN OPPOSITION to “gay rights.” This strikes me as tantamount to political blackmail, but they are forcing the issue: “homosexual” legislators now know that they could be exposed if they speak out against homosexual agenda goals. Clearly, it is not fair to a legislator’s constituents if, unbeknownst to them, he or she could be subjected to such political pressures from liberal militants.

Even though I disagree with the other side’s tactics, it seems that due to an array of factors the days of “closeted” homosexuality are coming to a close. Perhaps this is best given that so many on the “gay” side seem intent on making this such a public matter.

Would you be willing to answer questions about your sexuality (“orientation”)? Are you a homosexual? I think it is only fair for you to answer these questions, especially since public policy issues surrounding homosexuality are hot in Springfield and across the state. If you are homosexual, it would be more honest for you to engage in public life openly, than to continue in the current situation in which speculation is rife. If you are not, you need to squash the rumors. Of course, I would completely defend your right to continue in public life as an open homosexual (or whatever orientation you embrace). You have a reputation as a very effective legislator, but there is growing consternation among people I have spoken with–Republicans who admire your competence–regarding what is perceived to be the “open secret” of your alleged homosexuality.

All this raises issues of potential conflict of interest. I think I speak for many in saying that if these suspicions are true, they should be aired before the public.

My last point is an obvious one: if you actually do identify as “gay” or bisexual, practice homosexual behavior (or have sympathies in that direction), this could influence your voting record on key issues like SB 3186, the gay/transgender rights bill that could be voted on today, or the Marriage Protection Amendment backed by IFI and other pro-family/pro-life groups. I would suspect that many of your constituents agree with Illinois Family Institute’s position on these measures; do you agree that they have a right to know if there is a special interest in your life that affects your voting record? From an integrity standpoint, I think the axiom is true: honesty is the best policy.

Thank you for considering this request for information. I hope you respect the good-faith desire on our part to have full disclosure and a fair discussion of these sensitive issues. I would be happy to sit down with you and discuss this, and I do intend to help make this information available to the wider public.


Peter LaBarbera
Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute


The following is an excerpt from Mike Van Winkle’s original article on Dan Rutherford (emphasis added) in, titled, Is Dan Rutherford a viable gubernatorial candidate in 2006?:

…The final problem that Rutherford faces is that nasty little rumor that everyone talks about but no one prints: (in a loud whisper) he’s gay. At least that’s the rumor. For some conservatives this guarantees that he not only shouldn’t run but that he couldn’t win the nomination if he did. I’m not so sure. Last I checked Rutherford’s district isn’t Halsted Street. In fact it’s downstate in the “red”. Plus, we shouldn’t underestimate the power of rationalization. Suppose Rutherford is gay? I’ve spoken with several people who have admitted they’d probably be willing to vote for a gay pro-lifer.

Ultimately though, Rutherford’s sexual preferences probably won’t come in to play unless he brings them into to play … and it certainly should not keep him from running. The left won’t attack him on it … obviously for fear of disaffecting their own base. The right might care … but ironically … if his primary opponents go after him on it they’ll probably end up wedging apart the conservative coalition (which some of course won’t mind). There is a scenario in which the conservatives are split between Stever R’ and Pat O’, effectively making the moderates the largest wing of the party … and this scenario would hand the nomination to Rutherford … if he wants it.

Private behavior affects public policy
I know I will be criticized for “prying” into a man’s private life, but based on dozens of conversations with GOP activists and leaders, Mr. Rutherford’s situation is hardly private (it really is an open secret). However, it IS much more hidden from average conservative grassroots folk than party elites.

But it comes down to this: regular churchgoing people have a right to know when their representative in Springfield becomes a homosexual activist–the same would apply to heterosexual philanderers who espouse other liberal agendas. Rutherford’s alleged “private” behavior has public policy consequences; surely it influenced his critical vote for a radical homosexual special-rights bill that could endanger Illinoisans’ moral freedoms for years to come.

I will also be attacked for raising this issue by a media that constantly sends the message that “sexual orientation” (homosexuality) is merely a “civil rights” issue, and really no big deal. But it is a big deal. Homosexual behavior is so destructive that it kills men in the prime of life. No party–Republican or Democrat–should promote it. If Mr. Rutherford does struggle with homosexuality, I hope he gets help from a group like Redeemed Lives Ministries, Exodus International or Stephen Bennett Ministries, which help people overcome sexual addictions.

I sincerely believe that nobody has to be “gay” and that healthy change is available to all, with the help of a loving God through His son, Jesus Christ. “Tough love” and true compassion call for offering the hope of change to men and women caught up in this harmful and wrong behavior. Thousands have left the homosexual lifestyle, most through the grace and power of Christ.

That said, I don’t think the average guy has a hard time answering the question, “Are you a homosexual?” It’s time for Mr.Rutherford to be up front with Illinois voters, especially those in his own district, by addressing these questions and conducting his public life with the honesty attributed to him by his defenders.


Peter LaBarbera
[then-] Executive Director
Illinois Family Institute

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith,
Act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
(1 Cor. 16:13-14 (NASB)

This article was posted on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 at 3:03 am and is filed under "Civil Unions" & "Gay Marriage", News, Outing, Republican Party. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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