Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady has resigned from his position after supporting gay marriage, for which the Republican party at large has put Brady under a firestorm of criticism.

Bobbie Peterson, a Republican state central committeewoman based in Beecher, Ill., has been one of Brady’s harshest critics.  “Pat Brady is a total disgrace,” belted Peterson on WBEZ, an Illinois station.  “He’s a pretty face for TV.  He can speak well.  Period.  But what’s coming out of his mouth is not what the Republican party is about.”      

Brady has cited his resignation as being tied to “personal reasons and not because of rifts within the party,” the Associated Press reports.  He has also reported that his wife has been suffering from severe cancer and he wishes “to spend more time with her and their four children.”

While that may be true, the timing of his resignation among all of the criticism from his own party has some people raising eyebrows.  “Social conservatives within the state party have targeted Brady and called for his resignation after he announced that he personally supported same-sex marriage equality earlier this year,” said Abby Huntsman of HuffPost Live.  “The timing does seem to imply that this is related to the fact that he came out for same-sex marriage.”         

Inopportune timing, indeed, seeing as how the subject of same-sex marriage has been peppering news headlines for quite some time now.  A person in Brady’s position is exactly what supporters of same-sex marriage need; a person in high authority on the otherwise opposing side speaking out in support of the American gay culture.  

HuffPost Gay Voices Editor Noah Michelson believes that this is the perfect time for Brady to capitalize on his stance, but still shows sympathy towards his plight.  

“We don’t know exactly the kind of pressures he’s under or what he’s facing, so I think it sometimes just gets to be too hard,” said Michelson.  “But I would hope that someone would stay in there and fight it out because that is how we’re going to get more progress.”

Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.