Ill. GOP Politician: I Pray for ’Homosexuals to Repent’
Don Castella, a Republican hopeful for state Senate, took to Facebook last weekend and posted that he prays "for homosexuals to repent," the Chicago newspaper the Daily Herald reported in a Jan. 17 article.
Castella, from Lake County, Ill., is running for the 30th Senate District seat, which is now occupied by Terry Link (D). Lake County is located in the northeastern corner of the state and lies on the shore of Lake Michigan.
The comment was in reply to an article from Christian.org.uk about comments made by a managing editor of a gay Canadian newspaper. Castella also wrote, "I have read what the Holy Bible teaches and pray for homosexuals to repent."
When the Daily Herald contacted the GOP politician he said he is friends with gays but does not agree with their lifestyle or "that particular behavior."
"I always hope that, at some point, they will leave that lifestyle and recognize what the Bible teaches about it," Castella told the Daily Herald. He also said "gays reap what (they) sow" and that they "don't live as long" as heterosexuals.
Link was shocked to hear Castella's bigoted and outdated views. "Repent what? What are they repenting for?" Link said. "What sin did they violate in the Ten Commandments?"
Gay rights groups were also outraged at the GOP's comments. Equality Illinois criticized Castella's stance on gays.
"It's unfortunate that candidates are still making disparaging comments about gay and lesbian Illinoisans when there are other issues that need attention in this state, like the economy and creating jobs and dealing with the state's budget mess," the organization's director of public policy, Randy Hannig said.
Bob Cook, Lake County Republican Party leader, said that Castella has the right to "pray for whatever group he wishes" but says the Republican Party does not share the same views as the politician.
EDGE reported of a similar incident in a Dec. 2011, article where the mayor of Troy, Mich., was fired from her day job because of anti-gay comments she wrote on her Facebook.
When gay marriage was legalized in New York Janice Daniels posted, "I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there." Although the comment wasn't discovered until about six months later it still made national headlines.
"It's my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman," Daniels later told the media. "I love people, but I want to acknowledge my First Amendment right to speak freely. I know that as mayor, I represent all of the people in this city."
Despite defending her remarks, her regular employer, Century 21, announced that they fired Daniels.
"The owner stated that he can have no one in his company, either employee or independent contractor, who would be capable of such insensitivity to the LGBT community, or to anyone for that matter," said spokeswoman for Century 21, Nancy Robinson.