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"Open Letter" sent to Mayor Daley, Free Press, Windy City Times, Gay Chicago

GLN permalink posted July 15, 2009

July 15, 2009
Richard M. Daley
Mayor, City of Chicago
City Hall, Room 507
121 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602

Dear Mayor Daley:

If aldermanic hopeful Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus condemned women, Jews or African Americans from his pulpit, public outrage would be such that not even a heavenly host could force him onto the City Council. Yet, in a Tribune interview last week, while hiding behind his bible, De Jesus condemns homosexuality and assumes this to be no impediment to his City Council appointment.

Also, De Jesus tried to deflect criticism of his anti-gay bigotry by accusing pro-LGBT equality activists of being "intolerant." Would De Jesus argue that a bigot preaching Puerto Rican inferiority should be tolerated in that opinion? Not likely. We say there is no equivalence between bigotry and opposition to bigotry, and remain steadfast in our opposition to anti-gay hatred and discrimination no matter what its source.

Opposition to homosexuality and abortion were his "paramount priorities" De Jesus told Christianity Today last year. And he's already put that opposition into practice against our community. The preacher's virulent opposition to the ""Pride School", the social justice high school for LGBT-identified and other youth, was key to torpedoing that proposal last fall. Until he stepped in, it had the tacit backing of Mayor Daley and Chicago Public School's CEO Arne Duncan.

GLN respects the concerns expressed by Humboldt Park residents, including LGBTs, that gentrification is threatening the Puerto Rican cultural heritage of the community and forcing out long-term residents, and that De Jesus' large church membership will help stabilize the neighborhood. However, sacrificing the needs and concerns of LGBT residents along the way defeats solidarity for all.

We ask Mayor Daley to reject Wilfredo De Jesus as a City Council member, and we urge Humboldt Park community leaders to recommend someone who can represent all the people of the neighborhood while also defending the equal rights of all Chicagoans.

Bob Schwartz


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