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Ald. Emma Mitts videotaped making anti-LGBT comments
Video below
by Gretchen Rachel Hammond

This article shared 5068 times since Wed Mar 25, 2015
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Facing a run-off election against challenger Tara Stamps, 37th Ward Ald. Emma Mitts attended a candidates forum March 21. There, she was videotaped by audience member Brandon Johnson making the following comments concerning marriage-equality:

"I don't want to be biased here but I don't support the fact that we can have two women marry, two men marry and we then we pay our fees. The tax dollars go and they get just the same benefit as a woman or a man and I don't think that playing field is level."

Windy City Times has reported escalated levels of violence towards the LGB and in particular the transgender population in the neighborhood of Austin over which Mitts presides.

She has received substantial financial support from Mayor Rahm Emanuel—who has expressed solidarity for the LGBT community—and has voted with Emanuel 97 percent of the time.

"I don't think her comments were appropriate," Stamps told Windy City Times. "I thought they were insensitive. The responsibility is for an alderman to serve everyone in the community. I was embarrassed for her. I was embarrassed to know that someone who has represented this community for 15 years is still trapped in backwards thinking, that she has used her prejudice to attack our families and members of our community. It was fear-mongering and it was insulting. When we do that and call ourselves believers and Christians, it distracts from the real issues."

A statement received by Windy City Times from Mitts' campaign read: "This is truly politics at its worst. This is another example of my opponent stretching the truth to serve her political ambitions. My comments were taken out of context and my beliefs were distorted. I support marriage equality and my comments were meant to address the financial realities that come with it. I have reached out to my friends and colleagues on the City Council to clarify this statement"

Mitts did not address the fact that her comments were videotaped rather than related to Windy City Times by Stamps.

"This is an old trick that's used to divide and conquer communities and distract from the fact that our community is violent," Stamps said. "The facts are that our communities are violent and that, over the past 15 years, the incumbent has voted to trap workers into poverty, has not addressed the spiraling violence in our community and has closed mental health facilities. We deserve better."

One of Mitts' colleagues—openly gay 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney—released a statement in support of Mitts. "Over the 12 years I have been on the City Council, I have always found Alderman Mitts to be a strong supporter of equal rights for all Chicagoans and a friend of the marriage equality movement. Whether it has been voting to prevent profiling of [transgender] individuals, honoring LGBT athletes, or extending immigration benefits to same-sex couples, we have been able to count on Alderman Mitts to advocate for our rights."

"We all deserve equal protection under the law," Stamps said. "Rahm Emanuel's policies have been devastating to the Austin community. We're the only community that says 'the way to succeed is to be poor.' That's why this fight is so critical."

Emanuel's office had not made a comment to Windy City Times regarding Mitt's statements by the time of publication. Similarly, emails and calls to mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia's office were not returned.

Video by Brandon Johnson

This article shared 5068 times since Wed Mar 25, 2015
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