Is Harrisburg’s Mayor Homophobic?

Mayor Linda Thompson is accused of spewing anti-gay remarks

Courtesy of Harrisburg's Office of the Mayor

She’s known for her fits of temper, says the Patriot-News. But Linda Thompson – the city’s first African-American mayor of Harrisburg – is now being called homophobic thanks to statements allegedly made to staffer Chuck Ardo. Before working for Thomson, Ardo was a spokesperson for former Gov. Ed Rendell. He has since resigned his post at City Hall.

The newspaper reports that on several occasions, Ardo accused the mayor of making anti-gay statements targeted toward City Controller Dan Miller, a top political rival and the first openly gay elected official in the city. Says Argo, Thompson reportedly called Miller “that homosexual, evil little man,” according to the paper.

Ardo also revealed that Thompson referred negatively to Jewish people. When working with a local developer, the mayor talked about his “Israel money.” Ardo, who told the news that he is the son of Holocaust survivors, was deeply affected by the comment.

If the accusations are true, Thompson would be violating Harrisburg’s ordinance outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation. The city is one of the few in the commonwealth that protects LGBT people from this type of harassment.

The mayor has not denied making any of the comments. She did, however, issue a formal statement this week:

“I have a passion for all people and have surrounded myself with a diverse group of people, both in my personal and professional life. Those who have a relationship with me, both personally and professionally, know that I care about our city and all people.”