Alderman Tom Tunney of the 44th Ward broke his silence over the recent controversy involving Cardinal Francis George's comparison of the gay liberation movement to the Ku Klux Klan.
Tunney helped negotiate a time change in the 2012 Pride Parade after Lakeview-based Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church asked the alderman and parade organizers to consider the disruption the parade might have on its Sunday mass. The parade time was pushed back from 10:00 a.m. to noon to accommodate the church.
Cardinal George, wading into the debate before the changes were announced, said repeatedly that the Pride Parade could mirror protests against Catholicism, similar to those of the KKK.
In a statement released to Windy City Times, Tunney said that, "Cardinal Francis George's recent comments about the LGBT community are regrettable. It is clear that his comments are his own and are not shared by Our Lady of Mount Carmel parishioners and the majority of Chicago Catholics. It also is important to note that before his comments were made public, we came to a friendly compromise on a local issue involving the 2012 Pride Parade that will help protect public safety and allow parishioners to celebrate their morning services."
Tunney had previously declined to comment publicly on the issue.
On Jan. 3, LGBT Catholic organization Rainbow Sash Movement ( RSM ) released an open letter, calling on Tunney to participate in a protest against the cardinal scheduled for Jan. 8.
RSM chastised Tunney for not responding to its protest invitation and for his handling of the issue with Mt. Carmel.
"We have difficulty understanding Alderman Tunney's rational when he indicates that a friendly compromise was reached over the parade time adjustment," the organization said in a statement. "Could not this also be interpreted as caving in to pressure from the Archdiocese for possible political interests? We don't think that to be a unreasonable question to ask of the alderman."
Max Bever, a spokesperson for Tunney's office, said that the alderman will not be issuing further comment on the matter. Bever said that the alderman considered the issue to be a local matter that has already been resolved.
Bever also added that Tunney will not be attending the Jan. 8 protest.