The mayor of Chicago may be about to appoint an openly homophobic alderman to its city council, according to reports.
Controversial figure Reverend Wilfredo De Jesus is the senior pastor of New Life Covenant Ministries. His 4,000-member church is part of the Assemblies of God group, which has openly declared that “homosexual behavior is a sin because it is contrary to God’s created order for the family and human relationships”.
A highly influential evangelical churchman, De Jesus’ views on the LGBT community have been met with outrage by activists in the past.
Speaking to the Booster newspaper in opposition to the Pride Campus, a high school that had been planned to actively include LGBT students, he said: “What about that girl who is a virgin, who is being harassed by lesbians and guys to have sex, and yet you’re going to build a gay school? It’s not fair.”
Tom Tunney, another Chicago city council alderman who is openly gay, spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times about De Jesus’ possible appointment by mayor Richard Daley.
“The mayor has been made aware of the concerns of our community,” he said, adding: “I think some of his rhetoric is pretty hateful. Our community feels pretty strongly about it.”
However, Reverend De Jesus has struck back at accusations of homophobia, stating: “As an alderman, my job [would be] to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It is a separate issue, and I want it to stay that way. I continue to say that […] I will support and fight for everyone’s rights, whether they be gay or straight.”