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Phoenix councilman will not resign after making anti-LGBT comments

This April 21, 2012 photo provided by the Phoenix Pride organization shows Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski waving during a Phoenix gay pride parade. Gay rights organizations and fellow Democrats called on Nowakowski to resign Thursday in the wake of video showing him bemoaning same-sex marriage and transgender people's use of restrooms that correspond with their gender identity. (AP Photo via Phoenix Pride)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix councilman who has championed LGBT rights said he will not resign Thursday after a video of him making anti-gay comments was posted online.

“(I have) no plans to resign,” Michael Nowakowski said during a press conference. “I will continue to fight for all people’s rights and continue to make sure the city of Phoenix is welcome to everyone.”

Some groups called for Nowakowski to resign after a video of him making anti-gay comments to a group of pastors was uploaded to YouTube.

Nowakowski was speaking to the group last month about the debate surrounding the opening prayer at council meetings when he was heard decrying gay marriage and transgender rights.

“I never thought I would see the day that men and men would be married,” Nowakowski said in the video. “Or where people were allowed to go into the same bathroom as my daughter. This world is changing, and it’s time for us to take the leadership and change it back to the way it should be.”

During his apology address, Nowakowski said he misspoke.

“I believe that love is love,” he said. “My upbringing teaches me that we should treat people fairly. My faith teaches me to love one another and not to judge, as yourself.”

Nowakowski pointed to his voting record to prove that he has stood by the LGBTQ community.

“I support civil unities,” he said. “I support domestic partnerships. My voting record proves all those statements.”

Though the councilman repeatedly asked to be judged by his voting record, he apologized numerous times and said he understands how the video makes him look.

“I am sorry for my statements,” Michael Nowakowski said during a press conference. “I take them back. I am sorry for the hurt and the pain I caused people.”

In a similar apology posted to Facebook, Nowakowski said he sometimes struggles as a Catholic to come to terms with some issues from a religious perspective, but that he still wants to defend civil liberties — including LGBT rights — from discrimination.

“I know that I represent a diverse district that includes members of the LGBTQ community,” the statement said. “My record shows that I have voted to protect our diverse community, giving an equal voice in government to all. My future voting record will continue to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community, regardless of any church teachings or proclamations.”

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