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VIDEO: Nowakowski bashes gay rights

Posted at 2:01 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 12:52:28-05

Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski has apologized after a video surfaced of him apparently bashing gay marriage and same-sex rights while speaking to a group of Latino pastors.

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

The 1 minute, 49 second video was posted Tuesday on Youtube by Leonard Clark.

He released a statement late Wednesday saying his comments were "misconstrued."

"I apologize that my comments, regardless of the context, offended anyone," Nowakowski said. "My reference in the video to 'returning to the way it should be' was in regards to prayer at City Council meetings, not to roll back LGBTQ rights. I understand why my statement in the video was misconstrued, and I apologize."

According to the description, the video was recorded in February during the time the Phoenix City Council was debating whether to keep or get rid of the invocation after the Satanic Temple signed up to do the prayer at the Council's Feb. 17 meeting. 

The Council ended up replacing the invocation with a moment of silence, but voted last week to draft an ordinance that would allow police and fire chaplains to pray before meetings. 

Clark posted a second video two hours later. In that 12 minute video, Clark mostly talks about his thoughts on the councilman's remarks, but said the video was given to him by "a friend."

On Wednesday, Equality Arizona, an organization dedicated to furthering equal rights for the gay community, posted the video clip on its Facebook page and called Nowakowski's remarks, "[an] outrageous statement of bigotry that exposes his previous statements of support for equality as lies."

Mayor Greg Stanton also spoke out against the councilman's comments.

"I condemn these ignorant comments in the strongest terms, and hope and pray the councilman will open his heart and begin to appreciate the diversity of the people he represents," Stanton said. 

Phoenix City Councilwoman Laura Pastor echoed Stanton, noting that she is "dismayed and disappointed" by Nowakowski's comments. 

"It doesn’t represent our values. Phoenix must remain open and welcoming to all our residents," Pastor said. 

On Feb. 26 2013, the Council approved a resolution protecting "gender identity and expression," "sexual orientation" and "disability" from discrimination with regards to public accommodations and employment. Nowakowski was absent for the vote, but supported it.

According to the meeting's minutes: "Mayor Stanton noted for the record Mr. Nowakowski's support of the ordinance."