Phoenix city councilman sparks outrage with antigay remarks

Michael Nowakowski

Michael Nowakowski

PHOENIX — Gay rights organizations called on a Phoenix city councilman to resign Thursday in the wake of video showing him bemoaning same-sex marriage and transgender people’s use of restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

Several activists and fellow Democrats said Councilman Michael Nowakowski, who has supported gay rights in the past, had broken the trust of his constituents.

“We now know that behind the scenes he’s been doing other things,” said Brendan Mahoney, chair of the Phoenix Human Relations Commission. “There’s really no way of knowing what he has failed to support or killed behind people’s backs.”

The YouTube video shows Nowakowski speaking at a meeting inside City Hall. According to the post, Nowakowski was addressing a group of Evangelical ministers last month about public prayer at meetings. The councilman is seen seguing into the subject of same-sex marriage.

“I never thought I would see the day that men and men would be married,” Nowakowski says in the video. “Or where people are 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.”

The video has sparked condemnation since it was posted Tuesday. Mayor Greg Stanton said in a statement that he was shocked by “such homophobic views.”

“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,” Stanton said.

Several fellow councilmembers also slammed his comments. Arizona’s largest private sector union, UFCW 99, said it would no longer support him.

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