SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Mark Beaubien Jr., a seven-term state representative who was one of the only Republicans to vote for the recent gay civil union bill, died Sunday afternoon. He was 68.
His family said in a statement issued through House Republican Leader Tom Cross that Beaubien, of Barrington Hills, died suddenly while at a House GOP event with family, friends and colleagues. The family did not provide additional details.
Cross praised Beaubien, who was known as a moderate Republican, for his work in the House.
“He is loved around the Capitol for his brilliance, attention to detail, and ability to work with all legislators on very important issues facing our state,” Cross said. “I will miss Mark deeply.”
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement that Beaubien “dedicated his life to service and making his community a better place.”
“As a state representative, he served the people of the 52nd District with integrity and fortitude, and his sudden passing is a tremendous loss,” Quinn said.
Beaubien was one of the few Republicans who voted in favor of a measure that allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions granting them many rights afforded married couples. The law went into effect June 1.
“He voted his conscience and wasn’t afraid of the prevailing political winds,” Lowell Jaffe, political and policy director for gay rights advocacy group The Civil Rights Agenda, said in a written statement.
Beaubien is survived by his wife, Dee, and their two sons. Funeral arrangements were pending.