NY Senator Diaz Sr. Issues Threat to Gays as Dem Deal Breaks Down

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that it was looking like the power-sharing deal between New York Senate Democrats Malcolm Smith and the so-called “gang of three” (Senator-elect Pedro Espada Jr., Senator Rubén Díaz Sr. of the Bronx, and Senator Carl Kruger of Brooklyn) was on its way to a breakdown.

Diaz_smithLast week it was reported that the deal, which might have made a technical Democratic majority in the Senate into a solid one, had sacrificed a vote on same-sex marriage in the coming session by using it as a bargaining chip.

What the four Senators seem to have discovered is that power-sharing is not easy, and the deal has indeed crumbled.

Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. told the NYDN‘s Elizabeth Benjamin last night that there is essentially no deal.

Diaz Sr. also threw down the gauntlet to New York’s gay community, issuing a vague threat:

“The gays are calling my office. They’re jamming my phones. They’re going to see what we can do. They’re going to see exactly what we can do. Ed Koch (who called the ‘gang of three’ “rats” on NY1 this week) is going to see what we can do. They’re just going to see. That is what I’m telling you.”

Gee, that’s a really responsible tone for an elected official to take when people perceived to be gay are being attacked and bludgeoned to death in the city’s streets.

In related news:

Gays in New York who were behind the Facebook group supporting Malcolm Smith as majority leader have changed the name of the Facebook group (of which I am an officer) to The Power.

Anyone with an interest in supporting the push for marriage equality in New York is encouraged to join this group to stay updated on activities toward achieving this goal.

Background
NY’s Gov Paterson: From ‘Hands-On’ to ‘Hands-Off’ on Gay Marriage [tr]
NY Gay Leaders Await Answers on Marriage Element of Dem Deal [tr]
New York Democrats Strike Deal; Same-Sex Marriage Vote Tossed [tr]
A Thanksgiving Thaw for New York Democrats? [tr]
‘Rogue’ NY Senate Democrats Use ‘Gay Marriage’ as Bargaining Chip [tr]

Comments

  1. Larry says

    The arrogance of these politicians is appalling. What rights can we hold hostage from Diaz? I think when politicians make statements like these it demonstrates an abuse of power just as egregious as Rod Blagojevich’s selling Obama’s Senate seat. Why do people who have been discriminated against for so long feel like it’s acceptable to discriminate against others now that they hold the upper hand? I say recall the bastard.

  2. says

    Ruben Diaz doesn’t like gays calling him up??? Well, I say call him some more! Here is his office number: (718) 991-3161. Let him know that we absolutely refuse to be intimidated by those we elect to serve us. Senator Diaz seems to have forgotten we are his constituency, too, and we do not receive veiled threats well.

    How DARE he?

  3. says

    Diaz is nothing but a third rate political burn-out. How dare he use his elected position to threaten a contingent of the electorate who are exercising their constitutional rights. What a jerk!

  4. MT says

    We need to get these thugs out of Albany. How dare they hold members of their constituency hostage like this?!?

    Elected officials are supposed to watch out for the welfare of thier constituency, not the welfare of their power base.

  5. Jeff Hall says

    This is DISGUSTING. Senator Rubén Díaz Sr. needs to be exposed publicly for making this threat. We need to get major coverage in NYC and across the US on this.

    I just spoke to his office and asked that he let us know exactly what he is threatening to do, and who he will be targeting. I was told that the message will be passed on to Senator Díaz.

    Call his office NOW – tell him that we will not be bullied, threatened, intimidated or silenced.

    “I am here to recruit you!” – Harvey Milk

  6. Strepsi says

    Gee….
    After Proposition 8, I am sooooo glad the gay community apologized for the stereotypes about black and Hispanic evangelical bigots! Obviously those stereotypes were totally baseless!

    Unless they can separate Church and State, these people have no business in civil politics. Period.

  7. says

    Here’s all the assholes info

    Ruben Diaz, Sr.

    32nd District
    Part of Bronx County

    304 Legislative Office Building
    Albany, New York 12247
    518-455-2511

    1733 E. 172nd Street
    Bronx, New York 10472
    718-991-3161

    diaz@senate.state.ny.us

    Maybe some gay porn emails would help

    The fucker how does one impeach a SENATOR?

  8. says

    note to commenters: I’ve made one deletion on this thread already of a blanket racist comment. Please do not go that route.

  9. SFshawn says

    Who says that activism doesn’t work?
    Good job! These clowns are less than pathetic…the little lambs have lost their way so they better get back to church and pray and pay. Liberty and Justice for ALL.

  10. Cadence says

    Strepsi, since Smith is Black, and supports gay rights, how does your ignorant statement make sense. There are more Black dems in NY who support gay rights than the ones who are against it. And, least we forget, count the number of White Republicans in NY who will vote against gay rights. Please get over your ignorant beliefs.

  11. Brandon says

    Two points. First, can we please stop with this how can anyone who’s been discriminated against discriminate against anyone else illogic. The notion that an individual that has been discriminated against should see your oppression as the same oppression that they’ve experienced– or even sees your oppression at all– is an assumption. Mormons contributed millions to Prop 8– including individuals involved in film and theatre who knew gay people. Yet despite the negative perceptions and bias many Mormon’s face, they supported an anti-gay constitutional amendment. Clearly, many Mormons did not see the connection between bias they have suffered and suffer and supporting an anti-gay amendment. If they didn’t see it, why should this person of color see it.

    One of my concerns is that if you start from this deeply flawed premise, I am not sure how you craft an effective strategy to deal with the bias. If you don’t have power, you need to deal with others and to reach them you’ve got to try to understand where they are in order to reach YOUR GOAL.

    Second, is anyone really surprised Diaz is pissed. I am all for advocacy and letting your voice be heard. I think that direct confrontation can be helpful. Of course, there are some people that will never be your friend and who you’ll have to write off. But when a person perceives that you have attacked them, you cannot be surprised when they attack back. That goes for both the NY gay community and for Diaz. The problem is that right now Diaz appears to have the power. I don’t live in NY, but I’m just not sure that more calls to Diaz will be effective. I imagine that more calls will only harden him. Instead, I’d be more inclined to call legislators that are friends of Diaz and ask them what they are doing to lean on him. I’d find out what legislative initiatives are important to him and use those to get him on board with gay marriage.

    I just saw Milk and I was struck by how Milk handled the Prop 6 fight. He didn’t just preach to choir. He actively and appropriately engaged his primary Prop 6 opponent. He let his opponent show how ridiculous his positions were.

    I people are angry, but I am concerned that unfocused anger won’t bring us any close to marriage equality.

  12. Cadence says

    To add: People who want to make this about race should really know the racial backgrounds of the people involved. Carl Kruger, who is one of the gang of three, is White. People who say that Black people are the ones pushing this homophobic agenda have no clue. If White people were in support of same sex marriage, marriage bans would not have been passed in thirty states. I know this is falling on deaf ears, since people are just going to use this issue to show their bigotry and ignorance.

  13. says

    Weather Diaz is Black, White, or Fuschia right now doesn’t matter. What matters that his comment above, actually the threat is unclled for and VERY VERY unbecoming of a State Senator and a THREAT to our well being as Gay and lesbians not onl;y in NY but elsewhere.

    Unless people…and especially politicians are not made to vcurb thier hateful speech than all is lost,

    So please focus on the above comment at hand and what YOU can do about it to bring light to this mans heinous behavior and please STOP attacjking each other.

    Thank you

  14. MAJeff says

    Just got a message through the Facebook group that Smith has shut down the negotiations, and said he’d rather wait two years for the leadership than cave into the gang of three’s narrow interests.

    Bravo Senator Smith! (NYers in particular should probably write him to demonstrate support and thanks…)

  15. Zeke says

    How interesting that the Democratic Party of New York threw the gays, who were VERY instrumental in giving them a majority in the Senate, under the bus to make nice to the bigots and now the bigots are still not willing to work with them.

    Nothing like throwing your most loyal constituency under the bus to make an alliance with those who aren’t loyal to the party only to find that you have no alliance but you have to go back to the loyal constituency that you screwed over with hat in hand and explain to them what you did and why you did it.

    This is the very definition of the acronym SNAFU (Situation Normal All F*cked Up) when it comes to the relationship between the Democratic Party and the GLBT community.

    I hope a lesson has been learned, both by the party AND our community.

    It’s high time that we DEMAND respect and DEMAND that they return the loyalty that our community has given them. How many times do they get to pull this sh*t before we say, in the words of PE Obama, “ENOUGH”!

  16. mike says

    Malcolm Smith is an honorable and decent man who EARNED his right to be the next Senate Majority Leader. He is a loyal and faithful Democrat who has been supportive of the gay community. But, Ruben Diaz, Sr., one of the most disreputable, dishonest, vile and corrupt Senators NY State has ever had, pulled a cheap power-play and attempted a coup d’etat. Hopefully, he has lost and Mr. Smith will able to take his rightful leadership role in the State senate. It’s nothing new that Diaz, Sr. would make threats of revenge. That is how the man operates. He has corrupted Bronx politics. He is despicable. The asshole should be impeached from the Senate.

  17. Cadence says

    To add on about Smith, he said that he never agreed to shelve the issue of marriage equality, and that those reports were untrue. Again, bravo to him for not giving in to those bullies. Obviously he hasn’t heard that because he is Black, he isn’t supposed to fight for equality for everyone.

  18. psgoodguy says

    wow. it’s all down to a black guy and two hispanics setting the agenda? good luck with that. i’m just sayin’. that didn’t work out to well for us here in CA>

  19. ERB says

    homo’s mine…the fact that Diaz is black is irrelevant to the matter (remember Smith is also black). Concentrate on his latent disregard for human rights. Also, if the system for allowing bills to the floor in the NY Senate weren’t so corrupt, we would not be having this conversation! The reason why the bill never came to a vote before is b/c Bruno wouldn’t allow it! (We had the votes and the governor for over a year now).

    Regardless, I say we start to figure out how to recall Diaz. Not based on the fact that he won’t allow a vote on gay marriage, but the very fact that his constituents thought they voted in a Democrat, and he is failing to act like a Democrat. I’m going to go do some NY constitutional research now! Yes we will!

    Again, keep the racist barbs out of this discussion. Lowering ourselves to his level will never attract more people to our cause (at least not the type of people we want associated with our cause).

  20. Mike says

    I am surprised that no one has brought this up, but doesn’t this threat run in both directions? I’d be making my calls to my own districts Senator, encouraging him to not sign off or make any deals that the gang of three may wish to pass to benefit their own districts. Once things come to a standstill for their constituants and their needs are left unaddressed, they may consider electing officals who would be more effective in promoting the agendas of those who elected them.

    I say call your own representatives and encourage them to shut these three done, so that their ipact is minimized and they are essentially relegated to lame duck senators.

  21. says

    Homophobic People of Color is always a toucky subject at best.

    But pick your fights ERB

    Whats more important to battke right now.

    The “racist cracker” who’s probably not racist just angry

    or…..

    The “Homophobic Brother Ploitician” who wants to deny you your Civil Rights?

    Pick your battle wisely.

  22. ERB says

    WOLFIE, this is a public site. Not only gay people can read it. How on earth does someone throwing racist slurs around going to help us. If you take them out of context (i.e. quote the bad and not the good..which is typical of the right) we will look no better than the other side. Also, Diaz is a homophobe and Smith is not. Throwing a slur at one person who is a particular minority automatically imputes the slure onto another member of that minority, b/c the one saying the slur is discriminating against an entire group.

    My battle is for our rights. My battle is to be treated equally under the law. My battle is NOT to treat others badly in order to get my rights. My battle is NOT to be racist in pursuit of my rights.

    I think I have chosen my battles. You should take your own advice and choose your battles wisely.

  23. Wordit says

    The party of inclusion (unless you piss us off, then we’ll throw you under the bus because we never really gave a crap about you, your marriages or any other “rights” you think you might have).

    At least I know the Republicans hate me.

  24. Puddy Katz says

    There are some people you can’t compromise with because they take compromise as a sign of weakness. Every compromise is “temporary” and just a stage in asking for more power.
    Diaz and the gang of three seem to be like that.
    SONDA was sponsored by a gay-friendly female State Senator from Syracuse (who largely lost her next race because of that) and was passed with a handful of Republican votes (and many Democratic votes.) This would be a great opportunity for New York State Republicans to reach out to glbt New Yorkers and for Log Cabin New York to make some moves. I suspect they will.

  25. Leland Frances says

    Would-be IMPACTers, Day Without Gay Common Sensers….you want us to suggest what you do instead? It’s right here before you”

    Make the lives of the Three Thugs MISERABLE! Keep jamming their phones. Sit-in at their offices. Picket their homes, restaurants and other businesses they frequent, etc., etc.

    New York Gays: Show your gratitude to those who came before and learn from them that JUST standing around your own neighborhoods with cute, self-righteous signs is ultimately just political masturbation.

    The post-Stonewall NY Gay Activist Alliance did public “zaps” on then-Mayor Lindsay, then-UN Ambassador Goldberg, Harper’s Magazine, the NY Dem party, et al. ….Bruce Voeller, the co-founder of NGLTF, CHAINED HIMSELF to the desk of the NY McGovern for President office……and CHANGED the status quo.

    Take the marvelous passion and numbers you showed with the demonstrations at the NY Mormon church and turn it against the Three Thugs.

  26. Cadence says

    Wolfie, while the “cracker”comment is just as ignorant as the other bigoted posts on this topic, I don’t want to deal with either the bigoted gay man or the bigoted straight Black man. Why do I have to confront only one of them, and let the other get off scot free? Again, why are we scapegoating Black people when a. one of the three is White, and White people have done more than an adequate job of advancing homophobia in this country.

  27. angrycitizen says

    Never Again! We must fight this…threats? Oh HELL no. Get everyone in this country calling these clowns and shut down their offices. Maybe time for a sit-in in their offices? Keep the pressure on…..never give up.

  28. angrycitizen says

    Never Again! We must fight this…threats? Oh HELL no. Get everyone in this country calling these clowns and shut down their offices. Maybe time for a sit-in in their offices? Keep the pressure on…..never give up.

  29. Craig says

    Don’t live in NY, and this jerk thankfully isn’t representing me. But I just sent him a letter vowing that whatever, whoever, is running against him, I will support financially in retribution, be it either party’s candidate.

    What an idiot! Pour your disgust into backing his opponent in the next election, and remember this fools name.

    Will call this idiot’s line in the morning.

    Thanks to Smith for taking a moral stand against this extortion.

  30. John says

    The Republicans wouldn’t have allowed this haggling in the first place. They don’t negotiate with “terrorists.”

    Party discipline has always been a problem for the Democrats.

    If these were GOP lawmakers, they would’ve been thrown out of the caucus by now.

  31. Krebin says

    I know he’s going to be exceedingly busy, but if President Obama could find some time to show some real Executive Support for the gays and this movement, that’d be great. I’m not saying he has to pressure any state governments to legitimize gay marriage. I’d be happy with a short press conference on the issue advising Americans that we’ve come too far in this country to still be withholding rights from certain groups of people. Am I overreaching? I know we have 2 messy wars and a global financial meltdown approaching the scale of the Great Depression, but to politely take a backseat to those issues now would be a mistake, because WE REALLY AREN’T ASKING FOR ALL THAT MUCH! We aren’t looking for any kind of bailout, and we aren’t asking for any special privileges; we just want what everybody else already has. Let’s keep that in mind when they inevitably try to undercut us as being petty and self-centered in a time of crisis.

    Also, as a black person, I was pissed to learn how large a majority of black voters had helped pass prop 8, compared to other demographics. In fact, I felt zero love for black people for quite a while, and didn’t even feel angry when other gays started hurling racist epithets. That black people would be ok with “separate, but equal” and legalized discrimination is mind boggling to me. But racism is ultimately defeating to our cause, so cut it out guys, or at least stop using the prop8 decision as your justification.

  32. Derrick from Philly says

    Some folks are so naive with this talk of the Democratic Party “throwing gay people under the bus.” It took almost 30 years for Black Democrats to be fully recognized as a powerful force in the Democratic Party. In the 1970s there were still very powerful Southern (and some Yankee) Democrats who resisted the national party’s embrace of civil rights, affirmative action, and especially school integration.

    There are many Democrats (in local/state government) who feel they don’t owe gay people anything–although most city mayors do know the power of the gay vote. It will take time and more “gay voter visibility”– (just as if did for blacks, feminists, Hispanics) for full gay civil rights to become a “given” policy for ALL Democrats –especially social conservative Democrats (there is such a creature, you know?).

    Let’s see whether all these new national Democrats (in the Congress) from the South and Rocky Mountain states fully embrace gay civil rights.

    Atleast within the Democratic Party you have many allies. Where are your allies in the Republican Party.

    And I don’t get a penny from the DNC for this advertisement, baby.

  33. Don NYC says

    Maybe Senator Diaz is seeing what WE can do. His deal would not have fallen apart if we hadn’t kept up the pressure. He may not care about our rights but he knows when he has been backed into a corner.

  34. QueenZafrona says

    For all those that say we should not fight back, I say “give me liberty or give me death”. If you don’t get loud sometimes you can’t be heard. No one has listened in the past. If ACT-UP would have been peaceful, would the drug companies lowered their rates for AZT when it was over 100 dollars a pill. That loud demonstration at Glaxo Smith Kline resulted in meds being fast tracked and cheaper. People are alive today because of it. Show some respect for us that are out there in the trenches fighting your battles so that you can partake in the rights after they are given. Show some fortitude.

  35. QueenZafrona says

    For all those that say we should not fight back, I say “give me liberty or give me death”. If you don’t get loud sometimes you can’t be heard. No one has listened in the past. If ACT-UP would have been peaceful, would the drug companies lowered their rates for AZT when it was over 100 dollars a pill. That loud demonstration at Glaxo Smith Kline resulted in meds being fast tracked and cheaper. People are alive today because of it. Show some respect for us that are out there in the trenches fighting your battles so that you can partake in the rights after they are given. Show some fortitude.

  36. QueenZafrona says

    For all those that say we should not fight back, I say “give me liberty or give me death”. If you don’t get loud sometimes you can’t be heard. No one has listened in the past. If ACT-UP would have been peaceful, would the drug companies lowered their rates for AZT when it was over 100 dollars a pill. That loud demonstration at Glaxo Smith Kline resulted in meds being fast tracked and cheaper. People are alive today because of it. Show some respect for us that are out there in the trenches fighting your battles so that you can partake in the rights after they are given. Show some fortitude.