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10th candidates air views on abortion, gay rights
By Mick Zawislak | Daily Herald Staff

Elizabeth Coulson

 

Robert Dold

 

Arie Friedman

 

Paul Hamann

 

Dan Seals

 

Julie Hamos

 

Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

Dick Green

 

Elliot Richardson

 

 1 of 8 
 
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Published: 1/11/2010 12:01 AM

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Candidates and voters alike in the 10th Congressional District tend to describe themselves as independent minded.

So even on hot-button issues like abortion or gay rights, that means the traditional party lines tend to blur.

The 10th District covers eastern Lake County and northern Cook County and includes much of the North Shore and many North and Northwest suburbs.

The five Republican and three Democrats seeking the nomination in the Feb. 2 primary say they support Roe v. Wade, though some Republicans oppose public funding for abortion.

Regarding gay rights, most candidates on both sides said they supported civil unions, though some Republicans were split.

Candidates outlined their stances in their responses to a Daily Herald questionnaire.

Among Republicans, Elizabeth Coulson, a state representative from Glenview, supports Roe v. Wade as part of the Constitutional law.

"I trust women, their families, their clergy and their doctors to make correct personal choices, not big government," she said.

Bob Dold, a businessman from Kenilworth, said he also supports Roe v. Wade but would oppose public funding of abortions.

Arie Friedman, a pediatrician from Highland Park, said he believes the decision to take lawmaking authority away from states was incorrect. Since Roe v. Wade is law, he said he would not support a constitutional amendment to overturn it but would oppose public funding of abortions. He also supports the right of a victim of rape or incest to terminate the pregnancy if it will reduce the mother's suffering.

"I also believe that the life and health of a pregnant mother is paramount and would oppose any legislation that would interfere with the ability of doctors to take action to save the mother's life," he said.

Economist Dick Green of Winnetka said he would oppose public funding of abortions.

"While I oppose late-term abortion and support parental notification, I am pro-choice," he said.

Paul Hamann, an electrical engineer from Lake Forest said he supports "all the Planned Parenthood views on abortion."

On the Democratic side, state representative Julie Hamos said she strongly supports Roe v. Wade and has been involved the past 11 years in state legislation affecting choice and reproductive health care.

"Public funding for abortions is restricted through the long-established 'Hyde Amendment' which I respect as standing law," she said.

Elliot Richardson, an attorney from Highland Park, said he is an abortion rights supporter but that label doesn't fully encompass his position. He believes women have the right to make "healthy decisions in a legal, safe and affordable way" and was unwavering in the right to choose.

"While I am an advocate for policies aimed at reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, I will unequivocally protect the right to reproductive freedoms," he said.

Dan Seals, a business consultant from Wilmette, said abortion should be safe and legal but rare.

"I would like to see more focus on preventing unwanted pregnancies from ever occurring. This should be an area where both sides of the abortion debate agree," he said.

Seals advocated more support for adoption.

Regarding gay rights, Seals does not support a constitutional ban on gay marriage because it "violates the spirit of equality" set forth in the Constitution.

"I support civil unions, as well as normalizing all legal benefits to all citizens regardless of orientation or union," he said.

Richardson said he supports civil unions and would oppose a ban on gay marriage.

"As a country, we have worked to expand and protect rights, not limit them based on discrimination," he said.

Hamos supports civil marriage equality and would fight to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, which she described as discriminatory. That's a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as a legal union between a man and woman.

"All levels of government - federal, state and local - should recognize marriage as legal and afford full benefits," she said.

Hamos said she co-sponsored state legislation to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

On the Republican side, Hamann said he was "receptive to having the same legal rights granted for both civil unions and marriages."

Green said gay marriage isn't an issue for a constitutional amendment and supports the Defense of Marriage Act. He also supports civil unions.

Friedman said he opposes a constitutional amendment on gay marriage as a matter best left to states. He opposes civil unions.

Dold supports a constitutional ban on gay marriage, but said same sex partners should have the ability to enter into contracts and have other rights such as hospital visitations.

Coulson said she believes marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

"Civil unions are an issue for each state to debate for itself," she said.