The Illinois legislature could pass a civil unions bill before the end of the year. In today’s Chicago Tribune, the press secretary to a former Illinois Republican, MIke Lawrence, gives advice to his fellow Republicans — and encourages them to get on the right side of the issue.

Earlier this month, Governor Pat Quinn just won a tough race for reelection against anti-equality GOPer Bill Brady. Quinn touted his support for the civil unions bill while Brady opposed it. Lawrence places some of the blame for the GOP candidate’s loss on his opposition to the civil unions legislation:

The legislation at hand does not sanction same-sex marriage. It explicitly protects the practices of religious bodies. They need not ritualize and sanctify the unions. But the proposal would allow gay and lesbian partners to visit critically or gravely ill partners in emergency rooms without negotiating complicated, costly legal mazes. It would give them parity with heterosexuals on estate matters. Moreover, it would permit heterosexual senior citizens who are widowed to form another fulfilling relationship without imperiling survivor benefits. In other words, legalizing civil unions would bolster the ability to provide the care giving, financial security and overall support we extol in dedicated, faithful spouses.

State Sen. Bill Brady’s adamant opposition helped fashion a mosaic of iciness and intolerance that likely cost the Republican gubernatorial candidate and his party a prize they should have snared given the national GOP tide and Illinois’ budgetary chaos under Democratic reign.

Brady lost for being anti-gay. That’s doesn’t fit with the conventional wisdom, but it’s the political reality.