Equality Illinois Political Action Committee, on March 12, issued an endorsement for incumbent Rahm Emanuel in the April 7 mayoral runoff election.
Equality Illinois PAC Chair Nicole Bashor said in a statement that the endorsement stemmed from Emanuel's willingness to expend political and personal capital on issues that are important to the LGBT community.
"Mayor Emanuel stood with us not only in the significant effort to achieve marriage equality but on other policies and initiatives that support LGBT Chicagoans," Bashor said.
Emanuel's challenger, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, has gained traction since the Feb. 24 elections that resulted in a runoff, and has been popular with many members of the LGBT community. But Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov said his organization was considering Emanuel's track record on addressing challenges facing the LGBT community.
"We have been impressed that the candidate field in the city elections have thoughtful LGBT platforms. Mayor Emanuel has been a leader on LGBT issues in Chicago, and that's why he's the choice of Equality Illinois PAC," Cherkasov said. "He has led the city forward and ensured Chicago is welcoming to LGBT families, seniors, workers, and immigrants. Mayor Emanuel was also a crucial ally in our successful fight for the freedom to marry in Illinois."
Among the city's actions under Emanuel's watch cited in the statement were developing and completing the city's first affordable housing complex for LGBT seniors; developing the LGBT Community Action Plan; establishing rules regarding how police officers should respectfully interact with transgender individuals; and investing more resources to prevent youth homelessness.
Equality Illinois PAC has also endorsed openly gay James Cappleman, who is vying with lesbian challenger Amy Crawford to retain control of his post as 46th Ward alderman; openly gay Raymond Lopez, who is running to become alderman in the 15th Ward, on the city's South Side; and Springfield Ald. Cory Jobe, who is running to keep his seat on the Springfield City Council.
The organization endorsed Emanuel, Cappleman, Jobe, and Alds. Deb Mell and Tom Tunney in the Feb. 24 election.