Ald. Mitts flip-flops on gay rights, apologizes for comments

March 26th, 2015 3:18 PM

By Reema Amin

Austin Talks

Ald. Emma Mitts apologized Wednesday for an anti-gay comment she made that was caught on video at a West Side candidates forum last weekend.

In a video taken at the March 21 event, Ald. Mitts is heard saying, "I don't want to be biased here, but I don't support the fact that we can have two women married, two men married and we pay our fees and your tax dollars go. And they can get the same benefit as the woman or a man get. And I don't think that that playing field is level."

The 15-year alderman, facing CPS teacher Tara Stamps in the April 7th runoff, chalked up her comments to being raised in rural Arkansas.

"People didn't talk about it," she told the Sun-Times Wednesday. "Now, it's more open and publicized. Their rights have been elevated. There are things you don't believe in, and you can be wrong about your beliefs."

The alderman's stance on the issue appeared to have changed from Tuesday night when she and Stamps were asked at an AustinTalks/Austin Weekly News debate what their views were on gay rights.

Mitts told the approximately 150-member audience gathered at La Follette Park that she has never supported gay rights in her professional and personal life, but as a lawmaker, if "the law supports gay rights, so will I."

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