Rob Ford endorses, is endorsed by pride-dissing, anti-gay-marriage pastor. Hilarity ensues
The story of the day, as far as city politics goes, is Rob Ford‘s endorsement of Wendell Brereton—the pastor of Glorious Church-Faith Temple who, until yesterday, was also running for Mayor. Brereton is well-known in his Regent Park community, and parts of his campaign sound like early 20th century social gospel. Ford ran into trouble, though, when reporters at the introductory press conference started asking about Brereton’s—and Ford’s—views on the GLBT community. (Because that’s gone so well for Ford thus far.)
Every paper in Toronto has this story, but let’s go with the Globe‘s account:
Mr. Ford’s views emerged during a reciprocal endorsement Wednesday with Mr. Brereton, a former Ontario Provincial Police officer who now preaches at the Glorious Church-Faith Temple, a multiethnic Christian congregation near Regent Park. Under the heading “my opponents” on his mayoral website, the pastor wrote: “Men who don’t truly comprehend the reality of the importance of the God defined family will dismantle the very ethical fibers of what a healthy democratic civilization is.”
He later told The Globe and Mail the comment was a shot at George Smitherman, the mayoral candidate who is married to Christopher Peloso. The pair have an adopted son. “That line definitely was a reference to George Smitherman, yes,” Mr. Brereton said.
While the press conference was going predictably awry, Brereton’s views were going viral on Twitter, thanks to some excellent googling by Jonathan Goldsbie (see here, here, and here). For a few hours, Ford’s endorsement of Brereton disappeared from Twitter only to reappear later. Needless to say, whatever Ford was hoping to do with his endorsement of Brereton, things have gone a little sideways.
The Ford campaign is responding to all this by (accurately) saying that mayors don’t marry people, and Ford can’t overturn federal law allowing gay marriages. So this is all a distraction from what the mayor can do, like cut spending and lower taxes. Kudos to Ford’s team for staying on message—they certainly excel at taking lemons and turning them into tax cuts—but voters aren’t required to view the race through the lens that’s most beneficial to Ford. They’ll make up their own minds about whether Ford’s views on marriage rights matter to them. His opponents certainly wasted no time making their views known—each of the other four leading candidates condemned Ford.
The Globe article also notes that Ford said this incident “has made it less likely the candidate will formally endorse any other would-be councillors.” Ya think?
• Ford’s endorsement of pastor for council stokes fear among gays [Globe and Mail]
• Ford weighs in on same-sex marriage [Toronto Sun]
• Ford gets endorsement from anti-Pride pastor [Toronto Star]
• Gays can wed if they want: Ford [National Post]
• Ford says he supports traditional marriage [CBC News]
(Images: Ford, toronto.ca; Brereton, Facebook)