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A Thanksgiving Thaw for New York Democrats?

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a conflict in the New York Senate (between Democratic leader and marriage equality supporter Malcolm Smith and a group of three "rogue" Democrats lead by Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. of The Bronx) that was preventing a majority from taking hold.

Diaz_smithAt the time, the New York Post reported: "Gay marriage emerged as a central issue in the fight for control of the Senate yesterday, after a key lawmaker vowed to withhold support from any leader who would push to legalize same-sex nuptials. Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. of The Bronx - one of three rogue Democrats threatening to spoil the party's hard-fought rise to Senate dominance in January - called on Democratic leader Malcolm Smith to pledge publicly not to advance the issue. 'Just give it to me in writing that you will not bring the gay marriage to the floor and you got me,' Diaz told The Post."

Today, Reuters published a story on the power struggle: " Democrats won a majority in the upper house Senate for the first time in more than 40 years in the Nov. 4 election, but three Democratic senators refuse to back fellow Democratic Sen. Malcolm Smith as majority leader without concessions. The Republicans could regain their power in the Senate if the three Democratic senators, who include longtime gay marriage opponent Sen. Ruben Diaz, opt to vote with them."

What Reuters did not mention was a gay-organized Facebook group that has sprung up online to put pressure Diaz into making nice with Smith. The group, organized by activist and attorney Jeff Campagna, had initiated a campaign resulting in over 3,000 phone calls to Diaz's office by the middle of last week. Campagna also urged protestors at the 'Join the Impact' rally on November 15th to place calls to Diaz right then and there.

Diaz was feeling the pressure, according to the New York Daily News.

Friday it was reported that the "gang of three" were holding a private meeting, and it looked hopeful that Diaz was going to separate himself and support Smith for majority leader.

TurkeyYesterday, PolitickerNY reported that Smith and Diaz were buddying up at a Thanksgiving event:

"State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. just introduced Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm Smith at a turkey giveaway in the Bronx by saying he wants Smith 'to be my friend.' Not just that, Diaz added, 'I want him to be your friend.'"

The implications for same-sex marriage in the state of New York are enormous. With what looks like a Diaz thaw underway, the group has set its sights on Senator Kruger.

UPDATE: NY GOP bribing renegade Dems?

Stop a marriage referendum in N.Y.: Malcolm Smith for Majority Leader [facebook]

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Comments

  1. He needs to be primaried. He is playing political games while state is facing one of the worse economic crisis since the 1970s. I should also point out that the NY Times did an article, and I am not sure if it's his district, but one of highest concentration of gay couples of color in America- gay families- is in the bronx. The idea that he would hold their lives hostage is equally offensive.

    Posted by: The Gay Numbers | Nov 26, 2008 4:50:07 PM


  2. Three cheers for Campagna [and Smith]!!!!

    Repeat after me:

    No more Mr. Nice Gay!
    No more Mr. Nice Gay!
    No more Mr. Nice Gay!
    No more Mr. Nice Gay!
    No more Mr. Nice Gay!
    No more Mr. Nice Gay!
    No more Mr. Nice Gay!
    No more Mr. Nice Gay!
    No more Mr. Nice Gay!
    No more Mr. Nice Gay!

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Nov 26, 2008 5:26:46 PM


  3. So, does the NY Gay community need to do LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of Out Reach to this law maker and those that support him? "Please Mr Diaz, treat us as equals and not second class. Please Mr Diaz treat us as equals and not second class, please please"

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Nov 26, 2008 7:37:07 PM


  4. the idea that this black bigot has a latino name is revolting.

    Posted by: nic | Nov 26, 2008 8:49:05 PM


  5. NIC,

    with all due respect,

    Fuck you.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Nov 27, 2008 1:21:51 AM


  6. NIC, you fucking idiot. Have you even looked at the other "Gang of Three" douchebags. Carl Kruger's a white dude and Pedro Espada Jr's latino.

    What this shows is that homophobia has no skin colour.

    You, on the other hand, ARE a bigot and a racist.

    Posted by: RAB | Nov 27, 2008 2:07:53 AM


  7. Why are racists like NIC allowed to post here?

    By the way NIC- you do realize that Latinos can be black, white, Asian (Yes even Asian due to groups like the Cuban Chinese subgroup) etc? My friend who is black is also Cuban. I have DR friends and PR friends whom you would probably assume are white, but identity as Dominican or Rican. You show a real ignorance about the various Latin cultures in your post.

    But, again, why should we even have to respond to obvious race baiting? How does this contribute to anything resembling a conversation? Why is this person not banned from this site?

    Posted by: The Gay Numbers | Nov 27, 2008 2:20:23 AM


  8. cooler heads will prevail, i'm sure. i am neither a racist nor a bigot. Mr.Diaz Sr is a black man and a bigot. the drift of my impolitic statement was that blacks overwhelmingly supported prop h8t in CA; latinos did not. while i accept that the vagaries of racial politics toss us to and fro, i do not accept accusations of my being less than i am.

    i admire Gov. Paterson, while i abhor Mr Diaz. i have all kinds of hope for P.E. Obama, while i am not fond of Ms Rice. i think that alberto gonzales is as guilty of war crimes as much as i think that john woo is.

    in deed, if holding ALL people to a higher standard is false, then my life has been ill spent, and to a supremely lesser degree, may i be banned from this site.

    Posted by: nic | Nov 27, 2008 5:31:05 AM


  9. I thought the democrats the pro-gay party and automatically deserved our votes just for being democrats? I guess not everyone one in a party can be covered by blanket statements.

    Posted by: ousslander | Nov 27, 2008 7:59:05 AM


  10. Nic,

    What's your point? You are still trying to stir your racial pot. You obviously want to make sure "the Gays" don't forget that blacks voted for 8 in large numbers. Ok. Now what?

    Your way of thinking might go a long way towards explaining why prop 8 passed. You don't ask yourself what can be done to change the view of gays by the black community. You don't care why blacks voted the way they voted. All you care about is that they are black.

    And PLEASE don't give me that tortured "some of my best friends are black" tapdance you did. I saw through that the same way I see through my grandmothers lace curtains. A bigot is a bigot even whe stands behind an opaque wall, we can still see you.

    Btw, NIC shouldn't be banned for expressing his views. That's some un merican stuff right there. He didn't express himself as some sort of cross burning racist. Just, in my opinion, as an uniformed bigot. He still has the right to speak his mind. I'd die of boredom if I agreed with everyone here.

    I have joined my local black caucus and when I did I told them straight up that I'm gay and I didn't want any close minded bullshit going on around me. Because I was so straightforward, many of the members have emailed me with their own ,"my cousin was Gay and died of AIDS and I miss him", stories. They have asked me to help out with events (I know) and to help them understand gay issues. They are also helping me with my food drive for at risk youth. I think this is the way (along with those grassroots protests) to get the people to know us and next time not vote against us.

    Sorry so long a comment.

    Everybody take a breath now.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Nov 27, 2008 9:27:59 AM


  11. Nic,

    Fuck you! You are an ignorant, racist ass. As others have said, you are clueless as to what it means to be Latino! The majority of Africans slaves in the Americas lived in Latin countries--Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Peru, Mexico, Haiti, etcetera--not the United States.

    You are conflating race with ethnicity and disregarding culture. Latino is a term that refers to culture, someone comes from a Iberian (Spain or Portual)-descended culture. That person can be of any race: Native American, Asian, White, Black, and mixed.

    Your "disgust" at seeing a "black" face with a Latino name is mindbogglingly offensive. Newsflash, just because someone has African ancestry does not mean that he defines himself as "black" or sees himself as part of the "black" community.

    Diaz is a member of the Latino community in New York. He does not define himself as African-American.

    Race in Latin America is not organized by the One Drop Rule that makes some "black" by merely having partial African ancestry. He comes from a different culture. In Latin America, white supremacist thought encouraged people to intermarry to whiten the race. This philosophy became government policy in many countries. Thus, people with obvious African or Native American ancestry would consider themselves anything other than "black" or Indian.

    Trying to make Diaz's apparent homophobia a result of his African DNA instead of his religious or cultural beliefs shows your anti-black, illogical racism.

    You are also pushing the discredited line that about 70% of African-Americans voting for Prop 8. That statistic has been shredded by leading statisticians like Nate Silver of Fivethirtyeight.com.

    In doing so, you attempt to continue to create an us versus them paradigm: gays (white) against them (blacks).

    But why should you care about facts? It's easy for you to be as racist as it is for some others to be homophobic.

    As for your remark about "cooler heads," again: fuck you, you condescending jerk. Take your racist shit and choke on it.

    Posted by: noah | Nov 27, 2008 11:12:31 AM


  12. Ruben Diaz refuses to see the light on the gay marriage issue. It's a shame, because if gay marriage were legal in New York state, it would hardly impact him or any straight people in his district. I also take strong exception to this canard that "black people caused Prop 8 to pass". Even if every registered person of color in the state of California voted for Prop 8, this by itself wouldn't be decisive. For Prop 8 to pass, millions of voters of every description had to pull the lever for it. Sadly, this just reinforces the reality that homophobia knows no racial or ethnic boundaries. The LGBT community needs to recognize this. Fighting amongst ourselves over racial issues is wrongheaded and destructive. The homophobes in our society hate us not because we are black or brown or white, but because we choose to love each other in our own way. We are the people of the rainbow flag. Everyone is supposed to fit within our community. Think about it...

    Posted by: Nathan James | Nov 27, 2008 11:38:32 AM


  13. Ugh, NIC's comments remind me of the neighborhood I used to live/work in. There was a lot of racial tension between the Hispanic and the Black side of the block. I was at work one day and one of my co-workers said (about a piece of merchandise), "Oh, that's a ghetto xxxx. Don't buy that." And I and the other white employees looked a little blank and asked "What's that mean?" (we knew it was something offensive) and as one the Hispanic employees chorused "Nothing that comes out of the ghetto ever works!".

    I went home and told my mother about it, who's lived in the Southwest for years and years. She told me, "Oh, yes the Mexicans are very prejudiced against people with darker skin. The ones I know can't stand the idea of people thinking they might be African-American or have an AA ancestor. It's because of the Conquistadors and the caste system. The darker your skin the lower you are on the social totem pole."

    The irony is my friends here go on about how racist the (mostly) lily white state I grew up in must be, but I never heard as much racist crap in 25 years I was there as I hear on a hourly/daily basis here in a state with a lot of racial diversity. In fact, in 25 years in Oregon/Washington I only ran into 3-4 truly loudly bigoted morons (who made sweeping generalizations about races/religions/gender etc), here they're all over the damn place and they put them on TV and vote them into public office.

    Posted by: Wheezy | Nov 27, 2008 12:05:41 PM


  14. Ruben Diaz, Sr. is a flaming asshole. He has been a flaming asshole for twenty years and he will continue to be a flaming asshole. He is a bigot, a religious zealot (one and the same) and absolutely HATES gays and lesbians--and I mean HATE! The irony is that his son, Ruben Diaz, Jr. is a sweetheart, progressive both socially, spiritually and politically. Jr. has done many good works in the NY State Legislature. His dad, however, is another story. You'd better believe that if Gov. Patterson or anyone else tries to move out of committee any bill to recognize same-sex marriage, there will be an outcry across the state and we'll end up in NY with a "citizens initiative, just like y'all had in CA. And the one hear will go down into defeat also. The black church has been in NYC is not the progressive church of Dr. Martin Luther King. It is more of the Jamaican, Aruban, Bahamian, east Indies black churches that are very conservative and very bigoted and hateful when it comes to gays. They will vote against same-sex marriage in a minute and Ruben Diaz, Sr. will lead the charge against us. So, get ready for it queer NYers. OUr day of reckoning is coming soon.

    Posted by: mike | Nov 28, 2008 2:45:24 PM


  15. Ruben Diaz, Sr. is a flaming asshole. He has been a flaming asshole for twenty years and he will continue to be a flaming asshole. He is a bigot, a religious zealot (one and the same) and absolutely HATES gays and lesbians--and I mean HATE! The irony is that his son, Ruben Diaz, Jr. is a sweetheart, progressive both socially, spiritually and politically. Jr. has done many good works in the NY State Legislature. His dad, however, is another story. You'd better believe that if Gov. Patterson or anyone else tries to move out of committee any bill to recognize same-sex marriage, there will be an outcry across the state and we'll end up in NY with a "citizens initiative, just like y'all had in CA. And the one hear will go down into defeat also. The black church has been in NYC is not the progressive church of Dr. Martin Luther King. It is more of the Jamaican, Aruban, Bahamian, east Indies black churches that are very conservative and very bigoted and hateful when it comes to gays. They will vote against same-sex marriage in a minute and Ruben Diaz, Sr. will lead the charge against us. So, get ready for it queer NYers. OUr day of reckoning is coming soon.

    Posted by: mike | Nov 28, 2008 2:47:20 PM


  16. Ruben Diaz, Sr. is a flaming asshole. He has been a flaming asshole for twenty years and he will continue to be a flaming asshole. He is a bigot, a religious zealot (one and the same) and absolutely HATES gays and lesbians--and I mean HATE! The irony is that his son, Ruben Diaz, Jr. is a sweetheart, progressive both socially, spiritually and politically. Jr. has done many good works in the NY State Legislature. His dad, however, is another story. You'd better believe that if Gov. Patterson or anyone else tries to move out of committee any bill to recognize same-sex marriage, there will be an outcry across the state and we'll end up in NY with a "citizens initiative, just like y'all had in CA. And the one hear will go down into defeat also. The black church has been in NYC is not the progressive church of Dr. Martin Luther King. It is more of the Jamaican, Aruban, Bahamian, east Indies black churches that are very conservative and very bigoted and hateful when it comes to gays. They will vote against same-sex marriage in a minute and Ruben Diaz, Sr. will lead the charge against us. So, get ready for it queer NYers. OUr day of reckoning is coming soon.

    Posted by: mike | Nov 28, 2008 2:47:51 PM


  17. Ruben Diaz, Sr. is a flaming asshole. He has been a flaming asshole for twenty years and he will continue to be a flaming asshole. He is a bigot, a religious zealot (one and the same) and absolutely HATES gays and lesbians--and I mean HATE! The irony is that his son, Ruben Diaz, Jr. is a sweetheart, progressive both socially, spiritually and politically. Jr. has done many good works in the NY State Legislature. His dad, however, is another story. You'd better believe that if Gov. Patterson or anyone else tries to move out of committee any bill to recognize same-sex marriage, there will be an outcry across the state and we'll end up in NY with a "citizens initiative, just like y'all had in CA. And the one hear will go down into defeat also. The black church has been in NYC is not the progressive church of Dr. Martin Luther King. It is more of the Jamaican, Aruban, Bahamian, east Indies black churches that are very conservative and very bigoted and hateful when it comes to gays. They will vote against same-sex marriage in a minute and Ruben Diaz, Sr. will lead the charge against us. So, get ready for it queer NYers. OUr day of reckoning is coming soon.

    Posted by: mike | Nov 28, 2008 2:48:09 PM


  18. Mike,

    Diaz is Latino, not African-American! Because someone has obvious African ancestry does not make him ethnically African-American! Diaz is a Puerto Rican who has African ancestry but he does not define himself as African-American.

    Putting a label on Diaz to satisfy your need to classify racially in a way to make you comfortable is does both you and Diaz a disservice. You're simplifying things, putting a ribbon around it to make it easy for you.

    You're also saying the "black church in New York" comprises churches that represent Caribbean immigrants. Um, what about all of the churches led and primarily attend by ethnic African-Americans, mainly those people descended from American slaves?

    Diaz is a minister in the Pentecostal, Church of God. A sect that is a very conservative, evangelical sect. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_God_(Cleveland,_Tennessee)
    http://www.churchofgod.org/

    Why can't we accept the fact that Diaz is a conservative, religious politician like Mike Huckabee? Both use their Evangelical Christianity as excuses for oppressing sexual minorities. Right? Both also are anti-abortion and don't believe in embryonic stem cell research.


    Posted by: noah | Nov 29, 2008 6:22:33 PM


  19. Noah,

    You are slicing and dicing it man! I appreciate your precise and coherent responses to these ignoramuses you foul up this site. Cheers to you!

    mD

    Posted by: mikey d | Nov 29, 2008 7:07:29 PM


  20. Diaz needs to know that if he continues on the anti-gay, hyper-conservative path he is on, he WILL be thrown out on his ear next election, his career will be OVER! How dare he ignore the large proportion of his constituents that are gay?

    Take your bigotry, Senator, and shove it where the sun does not shine. You took and oath to your OFFICE, NOT to your faith. This is a country of separation of church and state. If you cannot live up to that, you are betryaing your office and should resign immediately! NOW fuckhead!

    Posted by: CK | Nov 29, 2008 9:35:44 PM


  21. So, these three clowns want to hold their own political party hostage because they want to extort a "written promise" from the governor that he won't do his job? They certainly sound like typical Democrats to me. That is, they're prone to vicious infighting and the PUMA mentality.

    Hey, dummies, you're on the BLUE team. Say what you will about the Republicans, they're single mindedly loyal to their cause. True, neo-conservatism is an abhorrently dreadful cause. But at least you know what you're getting.

    Posted by: John in CA | Nov 30, 2008 2:00:35 AM


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