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Antigay Pastor Seeks Chi. Mayoralty

Antigay Pastor Seeks Chi. Mayoralty


A second antigay megachurch pastor is seeking to succeed Richard M. Daley as Chicago's mayor.

The Reverend Wilfredo de Jesus (pictured), pastor of New Life Covenant Church, one of the largest Assemblies of God congregations, plans to announce his candidacy Thursday, radio station WBEZ reports. The Reverend James Meeks, an Illinois state senator and pastor of a huge Baptist church in Chicago, has expressed interest in the mayor's post as well. De Jesus and Meeks both have a history of antigay stances.

De Jesus will join a crowded field in which the highest-profile candidate is Rahm Emanuel, a former congressman who just resigned as chief of staff to President Obama.

De Jesus opposed a planned Chicago public high school for LGBT students, which he claimed was "a form of segregation," and has stated that marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples. When Ald. Billy Ocasio resigned his seat on the city council last year, he pushed for De Jesus to replace him until the next election, but Daley rejected De Jesus after gay activists objected to his appointment.

Daley, who has been mayor since 1989, has decided not to seek reelection. The election for mayor and other city offices will be held in February, with a runoff in April if necessary.

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