On Oct. 11, openly gay Democratic Cook County Commissioner candidate Kevin Morrison was the target of an alleged anti-LGBTQ print attack ad mailed out by the Illinois Republican party.
The ad depicted him with a limp wrist and on puppet strings, with Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan holding the strings. Morrison's opponent in the race is Illinois GOP Chair Tim Schneider.
Morrison was made aware of the ad when he saw his own postal carrier with one of the cardstock mailers.
"Like many openly LGBTQ people, coming out was a pivotal part of my development," said Morrison. "Fortunately for me, I was accepted and loved by my family. Many young LGBTQ people cannot say the same. They face exclusion from their communities, their families and our political leadership. That is what makes what happened to me even more disgusting.
"My opponent mailed an attack ad of me to voters across the district picturing me with a 'limp wrist,' a bigoted caricature of gay people. Actions like this are a dog whistle to homophobes and perpetuate violence against, and oppression of, LGBTQ people. This is unbecoming of a Cook County Commissioner. We have to show Tim Schneider that we will not stand for anti-LGBTQ attacks of any kind. Attack pieces like this are classic cases of gaslighting. The records show for themselves that I have not received support from Mike Madigan and I am not a puppet to anybody."
Equality Illinois PAC Chair John Litchfield said his organization is "deeply disturbed that the Chairman of the Illinois Republican party would exploit a shameful anti-LGBTQ stereotype and homophobic imagery against openly gay candidate for Cook County Commissioner, Kevin Morrison. The irony of this mailer arriving on National Coming Out Day makes it all the more offensive and tasteless. We call on incumbent Tim Schneider to denounce the mailer and affirm his support for LGBTQ Illinoisans."
"Let me be clear: Tim Schneider and his team knew exactly what they were doing when they altered a photo of Kevin Morrison to show him with a limp wrist and on his tiptoes," said Mayor Annise Parker, president/CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, in a statement. "Schneider is taking a page from the playbook of his pal in the White Houseengaging in the divisive and destructive politics that Donald Trump thrives on. For too long, openly LGBTQ candidates were defeated by opponents who appealed to homophobia in a desperate effort to win votes, but I am confident this attack ad will backfire on Schneider."
"Kevin Morrison is simply trying to distract from the real issue, which is that he will be a puppet for Toni Preckwinkle and Mike Madigan," said Schneider. "I have a record of supporting numerous resolutions in support of the LGBT community."
Schneider did not answer Windy City Times' political questionnaire this year; Morrison has. Quesstionnaire responses will be published in Windy City Times' Oct. 24 and 31 issues.