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Chicago mayor blasts anti-LGBTQ comments during set-aside debate

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CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted aldermen for comments made during a debate on city contract set-asides for LGBTQ businesses last week.

During Tuesday’s debate, Ald. Jason Ervin, chairman of the council’s Black Caucus, was concerned about fraud and about the possibility that LGBTQ set-asides would come at the expense of African Americans. Ald. Walter Burnett refered to the movie “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” as an example of the kind of fraud.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Lightfoot said the comments were “demonizing” the gay community and said the “pie is big enough to slice it in lots of other ways.” Lightfoot is the city’s first out gay mayor.

“It’s not the questions that are the problem. It is the content of the questions, and the offensive nature of the tone and the questions and the ‘concerns’ that were expressed,” the mayor said.

“As a black gay woman proud on all fronts, I have to say I’m disturbed by the nature of the committee discussion and the nature of the discussion here today. We need not ask anyone’s indulgence, patience or forgiveness or acceptance to be who we are and who we love.”

She added, “My friends, the pie is big enough to slice it in lots of other ways….We need not victimize, demonize and discriminate through our words against anyone else because we are worried about what the size of the pie is going to be for me.”

The Sun-Times reported that the resolution for the study passed 47-1 on Wednesday. Only Ald. David Moore cast a no vote.

Ald. Maria Hadden, the only gay black woman on the City Council, said she doesn’t know whether to react with anger or laughter to the debate.

“We’ve got to do better, you guys. Being afraid is never an excuse to dismiss” a legitimate concern about discrimination, Hadden said.

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