Equality Illinois, a gay right's advocacy organization, is calling for the resignation of Warren Township school board member Liz Biondi, following comments made at a public meeting last week.
Biondi stated that the search for a new superintendent for the district should not include gay or lesbian candidates.
"I'm concerned that if we hired someone that we were not aware of that background, that they may be fighting more personal fires than superintendent fires, I guess is what I'm going to say," Biondi said at the meeting, according to Equality Illinois.
Follow through on her suggestion would lead to a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act, which outlaws employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.
"Public officials have a duty to not only follow the law but to expect that kind of behavior by others in official positions," Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov said in a statement in response to Biondi's comments.
"Biondi clearly demonstrated that she is not worthy of the trust to hold a position on the school board. We find Biondi's comments as someone who is sworn to uphold the law to be reprehensible, and she needs to resign from the board effective immediately, certainly before the search process proceeds," Cherkasov added.
Warren Township board President John Anderson, who said he was "astounded" by Biondi's comments and found them to be "offensive in every sense of the word," noted that the board will look into petitioning for her removal.
"We appreciate Warren Township board President John Anderson's reaffirming the values of diversity in the workplace and seeking Biondi's departure from the board, and we call on him to recommit that the search for a superintendent will not discriminate against lesbian or gay applicants and follow the law," said Cherkasov.
Meanwhile, Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik is also calling for Biondi's ouster.
"She's an embarrassment to this community. The comments are outrageous, horrible, and she does not represent our community. That's what's most important," Kovsarik said, adding that activists and area residents should picket in front of Biondi's home.