Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot denounced homophobic campaign flyers that surfaced around the South Side over the weekend, saying “hate has no place in Chicago.”
Lightfoot, who is openly gay, made the comments at a City Hall news conference Monday morning where she accepted endorsements from several labor unions, including the organization that supports CTA workers. She was responding to questions about the flyers, which show a photo of Lightfoot and her wife with their arms around each other. The flyers read: “The Feminist and Gay Movement Have Come Full Circle!”
Underneath their picture, they say, “The GAY EQUALITY ACT!!! ITS OUR TURN.” Below that, in red ink, are the words, “1st openly gay woman in City Hall.”
The back of the flyers say Lightfoot is “pro law enforcement,” and add, “All contracts, jobs, and employment newly assigned exclusively to gay people!”
The flyers also say: “With our people in City Hall, I promise to enforce the Gay Equality Act. All churches will abide by the gay marriage laws. All public restrooms will be gender free. All public schools will teach Gay History by mandate. School restrooms must be DE-SEGREGATED.”
“Simply put, hate has no place in Chicago,” Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, said.
People need to stand against hate, Lightfoot said, particularly in light of the anti-Muslim massacre in New Zealand last week.
“Any attempts by anyone to propagate hate, we have to stand together as a city and denounce it unequivocally because hate can have no place in our city,” Lightfoot said.
She said she feels “honored and overwhelmed” by the support she’s received across the city and feels confident that if her campaign works hard and stays focused, “we are going to have a broad mandate for change in our city.”
This isn’t the first controversy over Lightfoot’s sexuality during the campaign. At a debate with Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle earlier this month, Preckwinkle said she admires Lightfoot’s openness about her sexual orientation.
Lightfoot later wondered aloud about Preckwinkle’s response and whether it was a signal to conservative voters in a campaign where both candidates have been negative about each other.
“Well, look, coming in the context of a clear strategy to be as negative against me as possible, I can only hope she wasn’t blowing some kind of dog whistle,” Lightfoot said.
When Preckwinkle was asked about the debate exchange and whether she was directing a “dog whistle” toward conservative voters, she previously told reporters, “That’s ridiculous. I’ve always been a strong supporter of the LGBTQ community, I have members of that community on my staff in my campaign and my government office.”
At the Monday news conference, Lightfoot received endorsements from Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 241 and 308, which represent CTA bus and train operators; Gas Workers Local 18007; Iron Workers District Council and Local 1; City College Contingent Labor Organizing Committee; IEA Region 67; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 9; Sprinkler Fitters Local 281; United Steelworkers of America Local 9777; Teamster Local 705; and National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 11.
Keith Hill, president of the union that represents CTA bus drivers, said his members “move Chicago.”
“We know the best way to move Chicago forward is by electing Lori Lightfoot as our next mayor of Chicago,” Hill said.
“We do need change and we need change that opens up doors of opportunity to people all over the city,” Lightfoot said.
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