US politician says free speech gives her the right to say gay people are ‘so disgusting’

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A councilwoman in the US state of Texas has defended comments she made during which she said gay people are “disgusting”, and should not be allowed to adopt children.

Elisa Chan, a councilwoman in San Antonio, Texas, made the comments at a staff meeting in May, a recording of which was leaked to the press. She has now said she thinks her right to free speech was breached, and that defended the comments as her personal opinions.

During the original meeting, Chan said that gay people are “so disgusting”, and went on to say that same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt because children would get “confused”.

“I don’t think homosexual people should do adoption. They should be banned by adoption. You’re going to confuse those kids. They should be banned… You shouldn’t affect the young people. How terrible. … They’re going to be confused. You see two men go into a bedroom. You see two women kissing. Is that not confusing? It’s confusing,” she said.

Calling for free speech, Chan has now said: “The comments from the staff meeting on May 21st were and are my personal opinions and thoughts as guaranteed to me by the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is unfortunate that a former member of my D9 Council team betrayed the trust of my staff members and me. I will fight, I will always fight for our freedom of speech, especially in a private setting.”

In a press conference this week, she said: “Part of the May 21 meeting was to address the City Council Request regarding the possible ordinance of non-discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity,” she said. “I know that many people find the comments made in the offensive, but again it was a confidential meeting set in the privacy of my office where none of us are supposed to worry about what we say.

“Even though the LGBT community and I do not share the same views, I respect and support their personal freedoms and right to their lifestyle,” she continued.

“I govern from fairness, because one of the basic tenets of our democracy is the guarantee of right to live in any matter unless it poses a threat to an individual or society at large. Any opinion I hold is surely superseded by this fundamental principle,” she went on.

“Political correctness will not win this day; standing firm as an individual in service to the whole community does. I stand strong in my First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech and our right to privacy. As an immigrant, I consider this to be the greatest privilege of being an U.S. citizen.”

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said: “Councilwoman Chan’s comments were hurtful and misinformed and they don’t reflect the views of the overwhelming majority of San Antonians,”