The Chicago city council's first openly gay alderman, restaurateur Tom Tunney, was elected to a full term on the council Tuesday, defeating three opponents to keep the seat he was appointed to in January to fill a vacancy. Mayor Richard M. Daley, who also was reelected Tuesday, nominated Tunney last month to succeed Alderman Bernard Hansen, who retired in November after citing health reasons. As alderman of the 44th ward, Tunney represents an area on Chicago's north side well known for its gay nightclubs and Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.
"We're excited that times have changed in Chicago," said Bob Kearney, political director of the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which helps to fund the campaigns of out gay candidates. "Until yesterday Chicago was the largest city in America to have never elected a gay person to its council. Voters said resoundingly that Tom Tunney is the best person for the job."