Toronto Mayoral Race Turns Homophobic

October 25th, 2010

A man pastes a poster for Rob Ford. "Not Gay, Assasinated Jesse James," it says. Meanwhile a passerby says "You're an idiot."

It’s civic election day in Toronto today, and the polls indicate a dead heat. By the end of the day, the new mayor of Canada’s largest city will likely either be George Smitherman, who happens to be gay, or Rob Ford, who has been featured on this site twice for ridiculous, homophobic conduct.

Having no patience for intolerance, it should go without saying that I would prefer Smitherman to win over Ford. There are, of course, those that would prefer otherwise—and while they’re of course entitled to vote for whomever they choose, some of their messages have taken a turn for blatantly homophobic.

Catholic Insight, a politically-motivated religious publication, heartily endorsed Ford over Smitherman last week, calling Smitherman “ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil, that of homosexuality.” While the publication tried to remain as polite in phrasing as possible, there was nothing civil about it. “While those attracted to same sex orientation have the right to be treated with dignity like all other persons,” their endorsement stated, “they should not be appointed or elected to leadership positions.”

Gosh, how respectful of them. We gays are perfectly entitled to human dignity, so long as we not take any initiative on any public matters and remain as isolated and invisible as possible. Still, at least Catholic Insight had the decency to use their own name to deliver their hateful message that gays are inferior, incapable as role models, and shouldn’t be elected to any position of influence. Late last week, an anonymously produced, paid radio ad began airing on the Canadian Tamil Broadcasting Corporation. Translated, it begins thus:

Man #1
Elder brother, who are you going to vote for?
Man #2
(Snickers dismissively) What a question! We are Tamil. We have a religion, a culture. Take Rob Ford, he is married to a woman.

Meanwhile, near Victoria Park, crudely-designed posters began to appear overtop of existing election signs asking “Should a Muslim vote for him who married a man?”

Calling the ads “blatantly homophobic,” George Smitherman issued a statement to the press. “I will remain focused on offering a Toronto that finds strength in our diversity and builds for the future, not divides,” he said.

The Rob Ford campaign, meanwhile, posted a response on Twitter. “I do not condone the recent Tamil Radio ad,” the campaign stated, “I support diversity & have no issue with others’ lifestyle choices.”

Uh, OK. Except being gay isn’t a “lifestyle choice.” And, frankly, from Ford’s past actions as a city councilman, he very clearly doesn’t believe that gay people should have the same legal rights as straight people, let alone think the gay community should receive any city support or recognition for its renowned cultural events.

Toronto’s a great city that deserves a great mayor. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you guys today!