The Second City made history on Tuesday night. Former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot handily won a runoff to succeed Rahm Emanuel as mayor of Chicago. Lightfoot’s list of superlatives would be enough to fill an entire article. Not only will she be only the second female mayor in Chicago’s 142-year history, but she will be the first woman of color and first openly LGBT person to lead the city.
Watch Lightfoot’s victory speech here, courtesy the Chicago Sun-Times.
It should come as no surprise that more than a few fundie luminaries would have a conniption fit over a major American city electing a lesbian mayor. As it turned out, at least two of the nation’s so-called moral guardians went into epic on-air meltdowns over Lightfoot’s historic victory.
First up, E. W. Jackson, the morning host on Urban Family Talk, a radio division of the American Family Association that caters to black conservatives. When Jackson heard Lightfoot declare that her victory proved “it doesn’t matter who you love,” it set him off. People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Jackson fumed that when Lightfoot and other lesbians say, “it doesn’t matter who you love,” they aren’t really talking about love, but “who you have sex with.” As he saw it, Lightfoot was engaging in “a satanic, demonic twisting of language.” Really, E. W.? Are you willing to say that to the faces of Lightfoot and her wife, Amy Eshelman, who have been together for 16 years?
Jackson warned Lightfoot and the Second City that while they may think it doesn’t matter who you love, it does matter to God. For that reason, he and other fundies feel they should care when you give the government’s blessing to “things that are inherently sinful and wrong,” it puts “our hands in your filth.” But in the same breath, Jackson says that what LGBT couples like Lightfoot and Eshelman do in the privacy of their homes is their business.
Um, E. W.? You forget that’s the whole point of the LGBT rights movement–to allow people to live their lives normally, and end the stigma of having their relationships being viewed as “sinful and wrong.” That stigma is a big reason why, among other things, LGBT couples still find it difficult to adopt. Lightfoot and Eshelman have an adopted daughter; in much of the country, they would have faced all-but-insurmountable hurdles to adopt her even though they are otherwise more than fit parents.
Not long after Jackson signed off, Jesse Lee Peterson weighed in on Lightfoot’s victory. As he saw it, it was yet another example of what happens when–horrors!–women are allowed to make up their own minds at the ballot box. Watch here.
Peterson claimed that with the victory of the “radical lesbian” Lightfoot, it was “over” for Christians in the Second City. He claimed the election of “radical, evil people” like Lightfoot would lead to more laws that were “against Christianity and against men and against families.”
To Peterson’s mind, it was yet another example of how “wrong is being accepted as right.” LGBT mayors were among “the wrong kinds of people running our country.” As he saw it, part of the problem was that women were “voting for the wrong things” and “the wrong people.”
Peterson would just as soon not allow women to vote at all; back in 2012, he claimed that the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was “one of the greatest mistakes America made.” But he believes that if women can vote, they ought to vote the way their husbands, fathers and other men in their lives tell them to vote. As it stands now, Peterson argued, women are actually influencing their men to “vote for the homosexuals and other people.”
So let’s see if we’ve got this right. Peterson would have you believe that if the men of the Second City simply put their feet down and told their women to vote as they were told, Lightfoot wouldn’t have won. One problem–Lightfoot defeated fellow Democrat Toni Preckwinkle in the runoff with over 77 percent of the vote. So it’s not likely that women voting as they were told would have made much of a difference.
More seriously, though, Peterson is making an argument that not even the most extreme religious right commentator would make in an unguarded moment. He is calling for women to be relegated to the margins of society. In other words, Peterson wants “The Handmaid’s Tale” to be the norm. But then again, this is to be expected from a guy who considers Donald Trump to be an ideal man.
So there you have it, folks. Two prominent religious right luminaries went into on-air tantrums over the Second City electing a lesbian mayor. If this is the best you can do, gentlemen, quit while you’re ahead.
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