The chair of the Illinois Republican Party will remain in his role, having survived a meeting to discuss whether to fire him for his backing of same-sex marriage. However, he may be forced to leave in six weeks time as a committee voted on a plan which could see his successor chosen.

On Saturday the Illinois State Central Committee met to make a decision on whether to fire chairman Pat Brady for bucking the party line on marriage.

In January Mr Brady said that same-sex marriage “honours the best conservative principles. It strengthens and reinforces a key Republican value – that the law should treat all citizens equally.” He was justifying his backing of a bill to legalise same-sex marriage in Illinois.

In response, Illinois Republicans organised a meeting for 9 March to decide whether he should stay in his role, but this was cancelled at short notice.

Yesterday the Committee finally met to discuss the issue, and decided that they would not vote on whether to keep Mr Brady in power.

However, the Chicago Tribune reports that a vote found 87% in favour of a plan to decide on a successor committee within 30 45 days, with one member who did not wish to be named saying they would search for a replacement for Mr Brady.

Mr Brady spoke positively about the outcome of the meeting.

“I think there are people in the party who don’t necessarily agree with me, but the point is …. we’re a party that welcomes all ideas,” he said. “You don’t have to be exactly a platform Republican to be welcome in the party, and that’s the direction we’re taking the party.”

Mr Brady previously said the reaction to his pro-equality stance enforced public perception that the Republican party is a group of “old white guys”, but said he would respect the decision of the committee.

On Friday the Republican Party’s national committee voted unanimously to reaffirm its opposition to equal marriage, and to urge the Supreme Court to uphold Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act.