A Republican candidate for Attorney General is reported to have said she’d give a foster child to an abusive heterosexual couple over a gay couple.
Erika Harold, who is running for Attorney General in Illinois, reportedly said the comments during a beauty pageant in 2000.
NBC reports that the former Miss America winner was asked in an interview whether she would place a foster child in the home of a heterosexual couple known to be child abusers, or with a gay couple.
According to three people on the judging panel, Harold picked the heterosexual couple.
“I remember it because it was so shocking,” one of the judges told NBC. “She took some time to answer it. And that drew people in. It stopped the room. She spoke about reading the Bible daily and said her beliefs could not subject a child to the gay lifestyle.”
Harold’s spokesman said that she did not remember the interview due to the fact it was almost 20 years ago. The Harold campaign later released a statement to NBC.
“Voters should first know that NBC Chicago chose to air an unverified story from anonymous sources 12 days before election,” the statement read. “Erika does not recall the alleged exchange, but Erika certainly support[s] same-sex adoption and foster care placement.”
Another judge told NBC that they do not believe Harold’s lack of memory over the exchange.
“I find it literally impossible she does not remember, because it cost her the pageant, she did not even make the top 10 that year,” the judge said. “There’s no way she does not remember.”
Despite being seen as an LGBTQ friendly state, Illinois has had a steady flow of anti-LGBTQ incidents make headlines in recent months.
In September, conservative parents tried to pull a gay-themed book off the shelves of a West Chicago Public library.
Governor candidate Jeanne Ives aired a transphobic campaign ad with an actor in a dress thanking the incumbent governor for letting them use the restroom. She later defended the ad’s portrayal of transgender people saying it “does not attack people, it tackles issues.”
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