Illinois Republicans are facing backlash after distributing a campaign leaflet featuring a depiction of a gay Democrat candidate with a limp wrist.
The attack ad depicts Cook County commissioner candidate Kevin Morrison as a puppet with a limp wrist being maneuvered by the Illinois House speaker Mike Madigan.
Morrison, who would be the first openly LGBT+ person to serve as commissioner, has called the ad a “bigoted caricature of gay people” and a “dog whistle” for homophobia.
Republican election leaflet depicts gay Democrat with limp wrist · PinkNews https://t.co/Gx28XGxbIR— Margie (@paeznyc) October 15, 2018
Morrison responded to the ad with a post on his campaign’s Facebook page.
“On National Coming Out Day, 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 like this. We have to win this election for Cook County, Illinois, and LGBTQ people across the country.”
Those responding on Morrison’s Facebook post were appalled by the ad:
And many voters voiced their support for the candidate:
The Illinois GOP did not agree with Morrison’s characterization of the ad.
The ad was put out by the Illinois GOP, which is lead by Commissioner Tim Schneider, Morrison’s opponent in the election. According to Travis Sterling, the executive director of the Illinois GOP, they stand by the ad saying there’s nothing to read into.
Sterling says Morrison’s response is nothing more than a distraction:
The whole image paints the entire picture clearly. This is nothing but a desperate attempt from Kevin Morrison to try and hide the fact that he takes his orders from Toni Preckwinkle and Mike Madigan.
Morrison, however, says Schneider’s record shows similar anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments.
In 2016 Schneider voted against a measure to boycott North Carolina and North Carolina-based businesses in response to the state’s bathroom bill which attempted to limit public bathroom access for transgender people.
LGBTQ+ groups supporting Morrison’s campaign are calling for an apology from Schneider, saying he knew exactly what he was doing when he created the ad.
“For too long, openly LGBTQ candidates were defeated by opponents who appealed to homophobia in a desperate effort to win votes,” said Annise Parker of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “But I am confident this attack ad will backfire on Schneider.”