Malcolm Smith Caught Between Governor and Anti-Gay Preacher

The NYT yesterday ran a piece on New York Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and the pressure cooker he's in on marriage equality — on one side he's got Governor David Paterson pressuring him to move the marriage equality bill forward, and on the other a spiritual "mentor" he has known for more than two decades, Reverend Floyd Flake.

FLAKE Said Flake to his congregation this Sunday: “I don’t care what the politicians think. Ain’t nothing perfect about laying down and signing a license with somebody who got the same body parts you got."

The paper reports: "Mr. Smith, who went to work for Mr. Flake in 1986 as a Congressional
aide, said the minister’s views on the subject have not weakened his
own resolve to see same-sex marriage legalized. Though they speak
nearly every day, the two men said they have not broached the topic
recently. 'He knows what my position is. I know what his
position is,' Mr. Smith said. 'He looks at it as a religious matter,
and I look at it as a legal matter.' Mr. Smith said he arrived at
his decision to support same-sex marriage two years ago when he began
considering it a matter of equal rights."

In related news, two thousand people are expected tomorrow in Albany for the Empire State Pride Agenda's Equality and Justice Day of lobbying for marriage equality.

Attendees expected include Governor David Paterson; Assemblymembers Daniel O’Donnell & Richard Gottfried, & other elected officials; Kate Hathaway, PFLAG member & mother of actor Anne Hathaway;  Alan Lubin, NYS United Teachers; Bishop Prince Singh, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester; Donna Lieberman, NYCLU; Arrie Moore, Spectrum Transgender Group of Western NY; Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein, Congregation B'nai Jeshurun; Alan Van Capelle, Empire State Pride Agenda.


  1. Derrick from Philly says

    Absolutely, PATRICK. These preachers can preach whatever 3,000 year old crap they want to in their churches. Just keep it out of arguments over people’s 21st Century right to have civil rights.

    Christopher, you’re right. If I was going to be a sanctimonious, money-loving preacher dressed in imported suits I’d have a grander name….mabe: Reverend Floydd Fontaine (the double “d” is on purpose).

  2. soulbrotha says

    This sounds like the same muckraking job the media did with Rev. Wright. Malcolm Smith doesn’t sound like a man in a “pressure cooker situation” to me. He sounds quite level headed and unfazed. Floyd Flake is a spiritual adviser (i.e. shares his views with Smith) and nothing more. Just because someone is your adviser doesn’t mean that you hold the same views.

    “He knows what my position is. I know what his position is,” Mr. Smith said. “He looks at it as a religious matter, and I look at it as a legal matter.”

    Case closed. The media is desperate for drama.

  3. DGNYC says

    I applaud Paterson’s efforts on this front.

    As for Smith, I have to wonder about his true motives. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Paterson will represent his party in 2010. So why, then, is Malcolm Smith causing a stir and that only hurts the Democrats’ chances of strengthening their paper-thin majority?

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