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Dan Rutherford
Dan Rutherford addressed about 100 supporters at the Elks Lodge in Pontiac after being declared the winner in the race for Illinois State Treasurer, Nov. 3, 2010. (The Pantagraph/Kevin Barlow)

SPRINGFIELD -- State Sen. Dan Rutherford, who was elected to statewide office last month, was the lone Republican to vote in favor of civil unions Wednesday.

The Chenoa Republican, who will be sworn in as state treasurer Jan. 10, was among 32 members of the Senate who supported the legislation to give gay couples the same legal rights as married couples.

Rutherford said he found during his campaign for treasurer that the proposal makes some people uncomfortable. But he said he supports it.

"It's the right thing to do," said Rutherford.

"I've been all over Illinois," he said. "This legislation today, it is opposed by some. And it's uncomfortable for some. But the one thing that I do know about the people of Illinois is that they want fairness."

"The people of Illinois, they don't want discrimination," Rutherford added.

Rutherford will be replaced in the Senate by state Rep. Shane Cultra, R-Onarga. Cultra voted against the legislation when it moved through the House on a 61-52 vote Tuesday.

Five Democrats, including state Sen. Gary Forby of Benton, were among those voting against the legislation in the 59-member Senate. One Democrat, Ira Silverstein, voted "present."

Forby said he doesn't think same-sex couples should be afforded the same rights as married couples.

"It is between a man and a woman," said Forby. "I don't want it. My district doesn't want it."

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