- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - A gay rights group is mourning the death of Republican Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

Equality Illinois says in a Wednesday statement that Topinka demonstrated political labels shouldn’t be a barrier to reaching out to all citizens. Topinka died early Wednesday at age 70 after suffering a stroke.

Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov called Topinka a leader in supporting issues important to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans. He said she endorsed same-sex marriage in Illinois and even offered to be a flower girl for any same-sex couple that would have her.

Cherkasov also said Topinka opened her office to Equality Illinois’ delegation on the group’s annual Springfield lobbying days. He says she also attended Chicago’s Pride Parade and the group’s annual galas.

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