Ford endorses anti-same-sex-marriage candidate
Mayoral hopeful Rob Ford and a city council candidate who opposes same-sex marriage have mutually endorsed each other.
Ford and Wendell Brereton, who has withdrawn as a mayoral candidate and registered Wednesday to be a candidate for the Ward 6 council seat for Etobicoke-Lakeshore, stood side-by-side in front of city hall.
Brereton is a former police officer turned pastor. Both Brereton and Ford oppose same-sex marriage.
"I support traditional marriage, I always have," Ford told reporters.
"I'm not worried about what people do in their private life. I look out for the taxpayer's money. To each his own what happens behind closed doors."
Brereton, in response to a question, said there is a substantial difference between gay rights and a belief that traditional marriage as a cornerstone of society. He said gay people have a right to get jobs and be protected from crime, but seemed to draw the line there.
"We're talking about social norms, not necessarily spiritual norms," Brereton said, adding that he supports social norms.
"I represent a fundamentalist Christian tradition with respect to marriage. That's who I am and that's what I will always represent," he said.
Ford said Brereton shares his views on municipal issues such as the need to reduce taxes and fight crime. Same-sex marriage is a federal issue, he said.
"I need people like Wendell Brereton to come down and support cutting taxes and finding efficiencies ... At the end of the day, that's why I'm supporting him," Ford said.
Adrienne Batra, Ford's director of communications, said the two candidates are focused on their shared political ideals, rather than their personal beliefs.
"When Coun. Ford and Pastor Brereton stand here together, it's all about bringing accountability to the taxpayer of Toronto," said Batra.
"It has nothing to do … with how they will bring forward their personal beliefs."
On Brereton's website, numerous comments about his personal beliefs were taken down.
One example from a cached page on Google: "My kind of Toronto doesn't parade immorality and call it pride."
Spokespeople for George Smitherman, the former provincial cabinet minister and current contender for the mayor’s seat, raised concerns about who Ford is aligning himself with, CTV Toronto’s Naomi Parness reported.
Ford has come under fire before on same-sex issues -- mainly from Smitherman, who is gay.
In earlier mayoral debates, Smitherman attacked Ford for 2006 remarks made during a council debate over a motion to fund the AIDS fight.
Ford, who voted against the motion, said at the time: "It is very preventable. If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn't get AIDS probably, that's the bottom line."
Ford didn't directly respond to Smitherman's attack or disavow his earlier remark.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Naomi Parness