Rob Ford was the only member of Toronto city council to vote against a proposal to help gay homeless youth Thursday, just a day after he was the only councillor not to join in a standing ovation for WorldPride organizers.
The motion — which passed 37-1 — asks city staff to study allocating 25 per cent of beds in a youth shelter to LGBTQ individuals. It also asks staff to consider the feasibility of a shelter dedicated to homeless gay youth.
A 2013 study from a University of Toronto researcher suggests gay youth face frequent verbal and physical abuse in city shelters.
On Wednesday, Ford refused to release his "hold" on the motion — a tactic forcing a council item to be debated rather than passed without a vote. The reason, evidently, was that he wanted to voice his disapproval.
Olivia Chow, one of the frontrunners to replace Ford as mayor in October, took to Twitter to express her disappointment.
Ford voted no to a LGBTQ youth shelter. In a world free of homophobia we wouldn’t need one. It’s a world he refuses to help create. #TOpoli— Olivia Chow (@oliviachow) July 10, 2014
John Tory, another top mayoral candidate, expressed a similar sentiment online the day before.
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, the only openly gay or lesbian member of council, told reporters Thursday that she's seen enough this week to conclude Ford has a problem with gay people.
"The mayor is homophobic," she said.
Cllr Kristyn Wong-Tam says mayor Rob Ford is "homophobic" he was the lone vote against a report on LGBT shelter beds pic.twitter.com/6fGuIaJQ6w— Jack Boland (@TorSunphoto21) July 10, 2014
Ford, however, maintains that he is no such thing.
"You guys have asked me this question for 14 years," he told reporters Wednesday. "And you know the answer. I’m not homophobic."
Ford, who recently returned from a two-month stint at rehab, has blamed his substance abuse issues for the homophobic and racist slurs in the past.
"When you have this disease, you say things, you do things, that aren't you," he recently told a CBC reporter.
Toronto voters head to the polls on October 27.
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