GOP Mich. Mayor Known for Anti-Gay Remarks Voted Out of Office
The conservative mayor of Troy, Mich., who made national headlines for her anti-gay comments, was voted out of office on Tuesday after a successful movement to have a recall vote was put on the Tuesday ballot.
Janice Daniels, a self-professed member of the Tea Party, was removed from office on Tuesday. Fifty-two percent of voters supporting the recall, which was launched in December because of her homophobic statements. Forty-eight percent voted against it with all precincts reporting, the Detroit Free Press reported.
In June 2011, Daniels, 59, took to Facebook and wrote, "I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there." Six months after the controversial comment, and after she became the mayor of Troy, the media spotlight was put on Daniels for her homophobic statement but instead of apologizing she doubled up on defending her remarks.
"It’s my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman," she said. "I love people,, but I want to acknowledge my First Amendment right to speak freely. I know that as mayor, I represent all of the people in this city."
Not long after, Daniels was fired from her day job as a realtor for Century 21. A spokeswoman for the company said they could not hire anyone "who would be capable of such insensitivity to the LGBT community." Daniels, however, continued in her second job as mayor of the Eastern Michigan city, which has a population of nearly 81,000 and is located 22 miles north of Detroit.
Daniels found herself in hot water yet again when she made anti-gay comments on a radio talk show. The politician said the "homosexual lifestyle" is dangerous and then compared being gay to smoking cigarettes.
True to form, Daniels once again defender her anti-gay remarks.
"What I said while I was mayor ... I was in a business meeting, I come from a business perspective ... I said that I would bring a doctor into a meeting that would say that the homosexual lifestyle is dangerous," Daniels said. "Had I been with a group of smokers I might have said I would like to bring a doctor into this meeting to say that smoking is dangerous."
The radio host asked Daniels if she believes being gay is dangerous.
"I think that doctors can make a case for it certainly," the mayor said, adding that she "had no opinion" on whether being gay is more dangerous than smoking. He then asked if she takes issue with the gay citizens in Troy.
"I realize that I am the mayor of all the people of Troy and I love all people," Daniels said. "It was a pithy comment that I made, it was an in-the-moment kind of comment and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to bring this kind of controversy upon myself."
Officials from the recall campaign said they delivered more than 9,300 signatures to the Elections Division, which put Daniels’ fate on the November ballot. When Daniels learned that she had been booted from office, she said that she was relieved.
"I’m going to have a great burden lifted off of my shoulders because I won’t be faced with this relentless, merciless, vicious, unwarranted attacks on my person that would have probably gone on for the next three years had I won the election, so it’s probably for the best," Daniels said.
Those who supported Daniels were upset with the outcome of the recall. Several of them left comments on her Facebook page, the Free Press reported.
"Even though the recall was successful, your values were truly a reflection of your love for our great city and her citizens. Thank you, Mayor Daniels. We need your continued involvement - and we know you will be available for the call for future service to our city and her bright future!" one user wrote.
Those who championed the recall were ecstatic about the results. "We’re extremely pleased that Mayor Daniels has been recalled," said Matt Binkowski, a 40-year-old attorney who helped lead the recall. "Now the embarrassment and ridicule that she brought to the community has finally ended."