Illinois politicians from both parties have been nearly silent in response to President Barack Obama's endorsement of gay marriage. Many prominent Illinois Democrats already back gay marriage, while Republicans say their top election issue is the economy. Neither side sees much political value in putting the spotlight on same-sex marriage. One exception to the general silence was Gov. Pat Quinn, who came out firmly in favor of gay marriage. In past years, the Chicago Democrat has backed civil unions while hedging on how he felt about gay marriage. Anthony Martinez of the gay-rights group The Civil Rights Agenda says it would be risky for Republicans running in political districts drawn by Democrats to be seen as extreme on gay marriage and similar issues.
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