Democrat on Phoenix (AZ) City Council Condemns LGBT Rights While Speaking to Local Pastors

Over the past couple of months, the Phoenix (Arizona) City Council has been mired in a debate about whether or not to keep invocations at their meetings. They’ve gone from an open invocation system, to one where speakers were pre-approved (to prevent The Satanic Temple from delivering the prayers), to a moment of silence, to an invocation delivered exclusively by Christian chaplains. It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Michael Nowakowski is one of the eight city council members who’s been involved in this debacle. He’s a Democrat who’s been an ally of the LGBT movement. He supported a non-discrimination ordinance in 2013. When a judge legalized same-sex marriage in the state, he supported it.

Good stuff, right?

And yet, when Nowakowski spoke to a group of pastors last month about the invocation prayer issue, he spoke about LGBT issues as if he were trying to earn the support of Ted Cruz‘s voter base.

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While the video first went online on February 1, it only picked up traction this week when activist Leonard Clark posted it on YouTube. The relevant part begins at the 6:50 mark.

“I never thought I would see the day that men and men would be married,” Nowakowski said. “Or where people were allowed to go into the same bathroom as my daughter. This world is changing, and it’s time for us to take the leadership and change it back to the way it should be.”

What the hell is that supposed to mean?

What way should it be?

Does he mean before LGBT people had the rights they do now?

Mayor Greg Stanton immediately condemned the remarks:

“I am shocked that a council member who represents so many LGBT individuals in the heart of our city would hold such homophobic views,” Stanton said in a statement. “I condemn these ignorant comments in the strongest terms, and hope and pray the councilman will open his heart and begin to appreciate the diversity of the people he represents.”

The group Equality Arizona also criticized Nowakowski, calling his remarks “an outrageous statement of bigotry that exposes his previous statements of support for equality as lies” and that his “hateful, bigoted comments don’t represent our community or city.”

Nowakowski hasn’t explained his seeming hypocrisy in any way. And he hasn’t said anything on his Facebook page, either, though plenty of people are commenting.

To be clear, his votes matter far more than his statements. It’s hard to understand why he would publicly support pro-LGBT legislation while telling something very different to pastors — did they even buy his comments, given his record?

And why would he placate the pastors on the invocation issue by throwing LGBT people under the bus?

He needs to explain himself. I know it’s not exactly news to have a politician say one thing and do another — or talk to different groups in different ways — but voters deserve to know if the Democrat they’re supporting is secretly a homophobe.

(Image via Facebook. Thanks to Greg for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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