Lightfoot is the first-ever openly LGBTQ candidate for mayor of the Windy City

(February 7, 2019)

CHICAGO–The Equality Illinois PAC endorses Lori Lightfoot, the political action committee announced on Thursday. The Equality Illinois PAC is the only statewide political action committee dedicated to advancing justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people in Illinois.

“The Equality Illinois PAC is proud to endorse Lori Lightfoot for Mayor of Chicago,” said John Litchfield, Chair of the Equality Illinois PAC. “She is blazing an historic trail as the first openly LGBTQ person to run for chief executive of the Windy City. At a time when the Trump Administration is attacking the rights of LGBTQ people, we have the opportunity to keep Chicago moving forward. We believe Lori Lightfoot is the right candidate for the job.”

Lightfoot has dedicated her life to advancing justice for LGBTQ people. In 1993, she helped draft the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance that included sexual orientation as a protected class in Cook County law. As a board member of the ACLU of Illinois and the Chicago Lawyers Committee on Civil Rights and in her pro bono legal work, Lightfoot has advocated for and fought on behalf of the LGBTQ community. In particular, she highlights a federal case where she helped a gay refugee and torture victim living with HIV to tell his harrowing tale for the prosecution of his abuser.

She was the first mayoral candidate to release a comprehensive LGBTQ equality policy agenda. She was also the first candidate to call for action by the Chicago Police Department to investigate the murders of Dejanay Stanton and Ciara Minaj Carter, two transgender women of color killed in Chicago in September and October 2018, respectively. Their murders are part of a national epidemic of violence against transgender people.

“We also know how important representation in the halls of power is for LGBTQ people,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “None of America’s three largest cities has elected an openly LGBTQ person to be mayor. Yet, we know that when LGBTQ people are seated at tables of power, they are able to share their stories and contribute to policies that affirm our lives. We can make history in Chicago, and show that representation matters at the highest level of municipal government.”

The Equality Illinois PAC is proud to join two other LGBTQ political organizations – the LGBTQ Victory Fund and LPAC – in endorsing Lightfoot. Victory Fund is the national organization dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people who can further equality at all levels of government. LPAC is the national political organization that builds the political power of LGBTQ women by electing candidates – LGBTQ women in particular – who champion LGBTQ rights, women’s equality, and social justice.

The Equality Illinois PAC also highlights the pro-equality records of several other mayoral candidates.

“At the same time the Equality Illinois PAC endorses Lightfoot’s candidacy, we want to recognize the significant pro-equality leadership of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza,” said Litchfield. “They have long records of advancing justice for LGBTQ people in Chicago and Illinois.”

For decades, Comptroller Mendoza has been a strong champion of the LGBTQ community. As a state representative, she supported LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections in 2005 and civil unions in 2010. She was also a major proponent of marriage equality in Illinois.

President Preckwinkle is a long-time advocate for LGBTQ equality and inclusion. She was a strong supporter of marriage equality and the 2005 amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act that protects LGBTQ people from discrimination. She also expanded the critical County Care program, which provides equal access to healthcare for all /LGBTQ individuals.

Mendoza and Preckwinkle have each unveiled strong policy platforms to advance justice and inclusion for LGBTQ people in Chicago. We thank them for their leadership to advance justice and affirm the equal dignity of LGBTQ people. For this race, however, our sense of responsibility to LGBTQ Chicagoans, our allies, our city, and history compels us to endorse only one candidate for Mayor: Lori Lightfoot.

The Equality Illinois PAC’s endorsements are based on a candidate’s record in office and responses submitted on the Equality Illinois PAC’s candidate survey.