By Keegan Hamilton
By Albert Samaha
By Village Voice staff
By Tessa Stuart
By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
The New York Senate is debating whether gay and lesbian couples can have the legal right to marry. One of the loudest voices in that argument is a twice-married minister legislator set on "protecting traditional marriage."
Bronx Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz Sr. is more than the last Democratic holdout against gay marriage in New York's Senate. In the three generations of his family, the past, present, and future of New York's journey to marriage equality is illustrated more starkly than in any other.
The House of Díaz features the stereotypical bigoted Big Papi grandfather, a swings-both-ways son, and the increasingly outspoken Lesbian Latina granddaughter.
The patriarch, Rubén Díaz Sr., attracts a huge amount of attention for a single-issue politician. In the past month alone, he has inspired a "Fuck Rubén Díaz" party in Williamsburg's Metropolitan Bar, an online Rubén Díaz fan fiction contest, and "Rubén's Drag Race," an opportunity at the AIDS Walk for people to dress a lifesize cutout of the senator in women's clothes. In an era when most people can't identify their state representatives, Papi could be the most famous senator in the state not convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. (That former senator, Hiram Monserrate, is a close friend of Senior's, who plans to officiate when Monserrate marries the girlfriend he tossed around.)
Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., every bit as smooth as his father is coarse, appears hopelessly stuck in the middle of a debate he wants little to do with. When it comes to gay marriage, like many Democratic politicians of his generation (including the one in the White House), Junior says what most gays want to hear. But like his father, he voted against gay marriage in the New York legislature.
And then there's Erica Díaz, the 22-year-old niece of Junior and granddaughter of Senior. A lesbian kicked out of the military under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," she, her partner, and their two kids represent a direction that a majority of just about every segment of the population (New York Hispanic legislators, Catholic and Jewish New York voters—indeed, Americans in general) are headed on this issue. When she was recently just one of a few protesting hundreds of her grandfather's anti-gay hordes (on the steps of her uncle's office, no less) she did look a little outnumbered. But 70 percent of voting-age Americans under 34 are for gay marriage; she is, unquestionably the future.
As the state finally lurches to marriage equality, the House of Díaz stands for where it's been and where it's going.
Rubén Díaz Sr. was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, in 1943. He came to the mainland United States after serving in the military, where, as his gay best friend Christopher Lynn (a former Taxi Commissioner under Rudy Giuliani) puts it, Díaz "suffered terribly under anti-black discrimination in the Army." Díaz received an honorable discharge, arrived in New York in 1965, and studied at Lehman College.
Today, he signs his name "Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz" on official correspondence.
"Why doesn't he understand that he should exercise some separation between church and state in his role as a senator and as a reverend?" Marriage Equality New York Board President Cathy Marino-Thomas asks. (The Voice wanted to ask him this as well, but he hung up during his interview before it came up.)
Díaz has never seemed concerned with any apparent conflict in mashing up his interpretation of the Bible and his oath to the New York State Constitution. His official biography for the New York State Senate identifies him as "Reverend" nine times and as Senator only six times.
When Juan Manuel Benitez interviewed Díaz on NY1 Notivias in July of 2009, blogger Andrés "Blabbeando" Duque translated their interaction. When Benitez said, "So, following your argument, there is no separation between church and state in the United States," Papi reportedly replied, "There cannot be! Because I am the State and I am the Church."
In 1978, Díaz was ordained by the evangelical Church of God based in Cleveland, Tennessee, which claims to be the oldest continuous Pentecostal denomination in the world. The denomination is known for having a brief fling with snake handling, when one minister, George Went Hensley, tried to convince the faithful that those with the spirit could control venomous serpents. (Hensley and his followers would eventually break off to form the Church of God With Signs Following, and he himself would die from a snake bite after being bitten during a church service in 1955.)
There is little naturally charming about Díaz. He speaks in gruff, heavily accented English, and his nouns and verbs often do not agree. He is not especially handsome, and wears cowboy hats so garish even LBJ would be put to shame wearing one of them. He speaks about himself in the third person with neither charisma or irony.
Yet Díaz would make a name for himself as an evangelical preacher in the poorest sections of the Bronx, selling hope to the masses during that borough's roughest years. And if there is one person responsible for bringing this Democrat into the political fold, it was Rudy Giuliani, who appointed Díaz to the Civilian Complaint Review Board in 1993.
It was there that Díaz met Lynn, an openly gay man who is now raising a nine-year-old daughter with his partner. The two seemed like an unlikely pair to strike up a friendship, but they bonded during their years on the CCRB, especially, Lynn says, when they "traveled to the Bronx together to attend a vigil after a police officer had choked a kid to death."
(Years later, when the HIV-positive Lynn took umbrage that Díaz would hold an anti-gay marriage rally at the same time as the AIDS Walk, he'd say, "I think of him at that rally, and I try to reconcile it in my mind with the memory of that man who was there at that silent vigil. It's difficult to do.")
Not that Lynn isn't still loyal to Díaz. He worked as his chief counsel in the Senate, and the two men became so close that Lynn took Díaz to see Liza's at the Palace the last time Minnelli was on Broadway.
Lynn was not the first gay person Díaz had ever encountered, of course. "He has two gay brothers, for God's sake," Lynn says, "and then there's Erica." But he is the one to defend Díaz most publicly, though he does so in terms that are alternately wholehearted and measured.
It was while he was on the CCRB that Díaz first started to publicly feud with the gay community. In 1994, he opposed the Gay Games coming to New York. According to the New York Times, Díaz wrote in Spanish-language newspapers "that the Gay Games, to be held in New York in June, would lead to an increase in AIDS cases and to wider acceptance of homosexuality by young people." The CCRB voted unanimously to reject his comments. Still, gay activists were enraged when he did not resign, many believing homosexuals could not get a fair hearing from the board when issues of homophobic police conduct came before it.
Díaz was elected to the City Council in 2001. By 2003, he was openly tussling with gays again, this time when he sued to keep Harvey Milk High School from expanding. Harvey Milk was the nation's first gay-focused high school, designed to be a safe place for queer kids to learn who were tired of being bullied on a daily basis (some at school as well as at home). This was years before the world knew anything of Tyler Clementi, Glee, or the "It Gets Better" campaign.
Díaz was having none of this safe-sanctuary nonsense. By 2006, the Department of Education (who was operating the school alongside in-house social services provided by the nonprofit Hetrick-Martin Institute) agreed to admit heterosexual students as well.
Díaz has been obsessed with making marriage be between "one man and one woman" at least since Governors Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson took on the issue in earnest. But for all of his talk of matrimonial fidelity, Díaz himself is not married to the mother of his three children. Didionilda Díaz (Vega) is the mother of Díaz's three children, all of whom work in city government: former Assemblyman and current Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr.; NYPD Sergeant Damaris Díaz Kiely; and New York City Housing Authority employee Samuel Díaz.
Divorce records are not public, but the New York State Unified Court System shows that Didionilda appeared in court in the Bronx on July 17, 1992, as the plaintiff against defendant Rubén Díaz. The senator is currently on his second marriage, to Leslie Yvette Díaz.
Multiple investigations into the alleged misconduct at two nonprofit businesses, meanwhile, provide some insight into Díaz's overlapping relationship with both his current and his ex-wife, both of whom were on his payroll simultaneously.
Soundview Community in Action is at the center of this strange family intersection: It's a nonprofit whose aim was to bring small-business and computer resources to the Soundview neighborhood, one of the poorest sections of the Bronx.
In reality, multiple Soundview employees alleged, it was the personal patronage piggy bank of the Díaz family. At its height, according to press reports, its $1.3 million annual budget was reportedly funded in large part by state grants obtained by then-Assemblyman Rubén Díaz Jr., while Senior was the CEO (at $65,000 a year), and Didionilda was a consultant ($16,000 a year). Díaz's current wife, Leslie, became the CEO when Senior stepped down to become a state senator.
Soundview was the subject of a two-year investigation by then–Attorney General Spitzer's Office of Public Integrity. The Daily News wrote in 2006 that "Spitzer was given eight sworn affidavits containing specific, detailed allegations of wrongdoing against Díaz by former and current Soundview employees."
The News also reportedly obtained a September 2003 staff memo, in which Soundview Executive Director Edward Padilla wrote: "Please be advised that you are not obligated or expected to perform personal, political or religious duties during your scheduled work hours for any elected official, director or staff associated with Soundview Community in Action.... It is my understanding that Assemblyman Rubén Díaz Jr. and state Sen. Rubén Díaz have given some of you individual assignments that are not related, in any way, with what our contracts with funding sources require.... Their actions, requests, and/or demands are inappropriate and unlawful."
After two years, in 2006, Spitzer quietly ended his investigation. The only wrongdoing he found was that Senior needed to repay $4,221 of Soundview funds that had been used to buy furniture and speakers for the Senator's office. The Albany Times Union reported that Díaz also "wrote checks from his campaign fund to pay Children and Family Services and the U.S. Small Business Administration for grant money provided Soundview that was misused."
Critics at the time, including Albany watchdog Citizens United, were furious with Spitzer for not appointing a special investigator while he was preparing for a gubernatorial run. His need for the Díaz family's support in the Latino community during his upcoming run, they argued, amounted to a conflict of interest. (The Attorney General's office would not supply the original report to the Voice.)
Not surprisingly, Díaz Senior doesn't like to be asked about this. In a brief phone interview, he said, "That was investigated by the FBI, and everything was cleared. Nothing was wrong" he yelled, adding, "Ask the FBI!"
But when Díaz brings up the feds, he's bringing up another investigation of yet another corruption allegation altogether. The News reported in 2008 that Christian Community in Action, a far larger agency receiving more than $26 million in city contracts for home health care to seniors, was under investigation.
According to the News, the nonprofit received $1.5 million in public funding that had been steered to it by the Díazes. At the same time, according to the group's 2008 federal tax filings reviewed by the Voice, Díaz's current wife, Leslie, was listed as "director of field" for an annual salary of $68,521.
The News reported that also in 2007, "the nonprofit received a grand jury subpoena from the public corruption unit of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia," and, a month later, "the FBI served a subpoena on the Bronx office of the city Board of Elections and seized documents about the Díazes."
The U.S. attorney's office will neither confirm nor deny that any such case is closed or still under investigation, or even acknowledge whether those subpoenas were or were not ever served.
As for the senator who says "Divorce is wrong" employing both his current and former wives at the same time, the two women may never have run into each other on the job. As Soundview CEO, Padilla reportedly told the Albany Times Union, "Leslie Díaz was a no-show during her second tour of duty, as was the senator's ex-wife, Assemblyman Díaz's mother, Didionilda Vega, who was on the payroll for a short time but was shifted to a consultant."
Rubén Díaz Jr. was born in the Bronx in 1973. Like his father, he went to Lehman College. When he was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1997 at age 23, he became the youngest member elected to that body since Teddy Roosevelt. Junior was elected to the Assembly years before his father was even elected to the City Council.
But Junior's fast rise, and his attempts to reach beyond the Bronx, may be limited by his father's toxic politics. The "GayTM," so crucial to fundraising in Democratic circles, couldn't have a more obvious villain than Díaz Senior. That's a serious roadblock for Junior, who may run for mayor as early as 2013.
And yet his actual record is not so different from his father's. Junior keeps finding himself on both sides of a divisive issue, winning him both friends and enemies.
"We couldn't stay open without him," says Dirk McCall, director of the Bronx Community Pride Center, a small gay community center primarily offering youth and HIV services in Mott Haven. He notes that as Bronx Borough President, Junior is very supportive of the center, and he thinks the son shouldn't be judged for the acts of his father.
Junior doesn't shy away from "gay" causes: His face is all over the "Bronx Knows" anti-HIV campaign.
And yet not everyone buys it. "He voted against marriage," points out longtime activist Allen Roskoff, referring to Junior's vote against same-sex marriage equality in the State Assembly in 2007. The measure passed that house without his vote. (Junior's office denied all interview requests for this article, but noted that he supports civil unions.)
In an infamous exchange at a City Hall breakfast last year, Roskoff heatedly challenged Junior's manhood for not standing up to Senior. It got so intense that "I thought his handlers were going to remove me from the room," Roskoff says.
"He asked him, 'Why don't you stand up to your father? Why don't you be a man about this?' " says Cathy Marino-Thomas, who witnessed it. "It was pretty great."
Multiple sources say that Junior gets annoyed with his father's antics, which often leave him blindsided. But if Junior is upset that people associate his father's noise about gay marriage with him, he has no one to blame but himself. This was demonstrated clearly when his father decided to rain on his parade in May.
Bronx Week is a series of events promoting the borough, the sort of event that can be the highlight of the year for a borough president, an otherwise impotent post. When Senior chose to hold his anti-gay-marriage rally at the same time as the AIDS Walk, it was a calculated move against gay rights.
But it was also scheduled for the Sunday of Bronx Week, during the Bronx Puerto Rican Day parade, outside his son's office. Junior's office first discovered Senior was doing this when the Voice called and asked them how they felt about it.
Junior's office tried to contain the fallout by distancing itself from Senior, saying Junior would not be attending the anti-gay marriage march because of a scheduling conflict. It also stressed that the march was not part of Bronx Week.
Yet as the date approached, a very different picture emerged. Blogger Joe "Joe. My. God." Jervis called Junior's office the Friday before the big march: "The young woman answering the phone at Borough Hall got a bit flustered with me and claimed that her office had nothing to do with the rally and that she had no information about police protection or counter-protesting areas. (This, despite the fact that tens of thousands of evangelical Christians are expected to descend on the area in just four days.)" The office had told the Voice similar things days earlier.
Yet on the Sunday of the event, it appeared inconceivable that Junior's office could not have known anything or made any preparations. There were banks of speakers 10 feet high, belting out "We are here to preserve traditional marriage," from the steps of Junior's office, the Bronx County Courthouse. Scores of cops swarmed below. The area on the steps was being run by an outfit called the Hispanic Clergy Organization, which had been allowed to decorate Junior's front porch in advance of Senior's messianic arrival.
When he arrived, he brought more than a thousand people hailing him. Their revulsion at gay people was on full display in their signs, which ranged from the trite ("Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve!") to the absurd ("Don't Let New York City Become Sodom and Gomorrah!").
And hanging over the festivities from the Courthouse itself was a sign proclaiming that it was Bronx Week.
By not stopping his father from parading under that sign, Junior admitted who was boss. The Borough President's stamp of approval appeared over the event, whether he liked it or not, and wedded him to that hate march. The sign provided a government stamp of approval to the religious hatred being spewed by speakers and collapsed any difference between Díaz the father and Díaz the son. Junior never issued a statement denouncing the anti-gay rhetoric shouted outside his office that day.
Erica Díaz said that she believed on that day that her uncle supported her. But though the Puerto Rican Parade was cancelled because of rain—the event that ostensibly had been keeping Junior away from the march—he still did not show up to back either his niece or his father.
Junior had, once again, tried to have it both ways.
Across the street from the blaring speakers was a small band of counter-demonstrators, about two dozen at most. With 45,000 people in Central Park at the AIDS Walk at the same time, it had been hard to peel off much gay political activist support up in the Bronx.
Yet small as their numbers are, there was a person among them who represented the inevitable future of gay marriage rights in America: 22-year-old Erica Díaz.
Erica has already lived through many of the battles of the gay rights struggle in her young life. Like her grandfather, she'd joined the armed services, enlisting in the Navy. But when rumors began circulating that she was a lesbian, rather than living in fear she outed herself to her commanding officer.
Within 30 days, she was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Erica says.
She has been with her girlfriend, Naomi Torres, for two and a half years, and they already have two children together. But they are unable to wed, largely because of the efforts of her paternal grandfather.
On this day, Erica came out to protest Senior's march. Her body language belied her nervousness, and she later wrote that she'd vomited beforehand. Christopher Lynn stopped defending Senior long enough to say that when he heard the march was occurring at the same time as the AIDS Walk, he "called him up and said, 'What are you doing? This looks really shitty! I'm HIV-positive, and this looks really shitty!' And he said he didn't mean to do it at the same time, and I said, 'Why don't you move it?!' "
As much as Lynn might have wanted to believe his friend, whose record on HIV/AIDS he defends, this is the second time Senior has held an anti-gay rally the same time as the AIDS Walk. Even Lynn admits that he worried about how the senator can whip people up into hysterics.
"When you hold an event, and there are seen and unforeseen circumstances, you have to be prepared to take responsibility for those circumstances," he says. "You can't just shrug your shoulders."
But if the date annoyed Lynn, the whole event must have been devastating to Erica. "It hurts," she admitted, while maintaining that "I respect my grandfather."
She said she was just there to bear witness and stand up. But some of it was too much. At one point, Reverend Ariel Torres Ortega of Radio Visión Cristiana addressed the crowd and, according to Think Progress's Igor Volsky, said of gays in Spanish that "those who practice such things are worthy of death."
Erica summoned an NYPD community affairs officer, braved the hordes of anti-gay bigots, and approached her grandfather.
From the other side, it looked like a capitulation. She stood awkwardly next to Senior, who told the crowd, basically, "Love the sinner, hate the sin." And he said he loved her. She looked like the misguided prodigal child come home to the flock.
It was a very uncomfortable moment to witness, and it only lasted for a minute.
But to Erica, she wasn't giving in. "I just wanted him to know I still loved him," she said, and hoped he'd say something to denounce the awful things being said.
He did not. She later wrote in an op-ed in the New York Post how disappointed she was by his silence when similar remarks were made on the radio. But Senior tells the Voice that he has not read her piece, and denies that anyone advocated violence against gay people at his rally.
"That day, in front of all of the people, whoever wants to listen to that speech, that speech is recorded," Díaz tells the Voice. "I addressed both groups: the protesters in the park and my people. And I told that group in the park that I love them. And I told anyone to check my record, my voting record. I told them that you cannot hate anyone. If you hate anybody, you would not go to heaven. I said, so if any one of us hates anyone, you will go to hell! That is what my religion teaches, so I said that publicly. So what more do people want?"
After appearing with her grandfather at the rally, Erica walked back across the street, where she waved a flag quietly.
Her grandfather may have the political reins now, but she is the future. As she and her generation grow into their power as a voting bloc, and as they start electing each other, there is no doubt what will happen with same-sex marriage. It's not just significant that polls show that 70 percent of her age group approves of gay marriage—it's that the number is up 16 points in just the past year.
Erica, her partner, and their kids will probably all live to see same-sex marriage legal not just in New York, but throughout the United States.
Soon, Erica and Torres could wed in New York. Any month now, Erica will be able to re-enlist in the military if she wants.
With the Ericas of the world coming online, it's just a matter of time.
To Senator Ruben Diaz:
I am not alone in wanting to know whether you will ever have the basic human decency to acknowledge to the public the article your granddaughter Erica published in the New York Post, explaining how personally hurtful she finds your hateful ignorance in regard to LGBT human beings.
For reference, Erica's article is here:http://www.nypost.com/p/news/l...
At this next link is a Village Voice interview of you, in which you deny all knowledge of Erica's article in the Post:http://blogs.villagevoice.com/...
It simply is not believable that you had no knowledge of the article. Even were one to grant you the benefit of the doubt, (which in this case you absolutely do not deserve), a decent human being serving as a State Senator instead of denying all knowledge of his granddaughter's article would state an intent to find and to read it. You might even have told the Village Voice that you would read it that very day and get back to them with a statement for them to include in the interview.
I have concerns that what you are doing to your granddaughter Erica constitutes domestic violence. Domestic violence is an aggragate of behaviors that do not specifically have to include assault. One very characteristic behavior is for the abuser to send messages to the victim that their thoughts and feelings do not matter to the abuser or indeed to anybody. That is the message you have sent out, to Erica and to the public, with your denial of all knowledge of her New York Post article. I am adding that your public offer to marry your friend and political associate, the convicted domestic violence offender Hiram Monserrate to his victim sent all the wrong messages to abusers and victims both. When you as an elected official empower an abuser that way, you are, basically, telling victims there will be no help for them to escape their abusers. Surely it is no mere coincidence that under your shabby, irresponible leadership, the Bronx has one of the very highest rates of domestic violence in the country.
Doubling rational and enlightened persons' objections to your attempted public humiliation of your lesbian granddaughter, you maliciously portray all opposition to your hateful bigotry as hot-headed and obscene. You falsified something written on Archbishop Dolan's blog as part of your campaign of demonizing gay human beings; a report on that incident is here:http://thenewcivilrightsmoveme...
Then at this next link, you published on your New York Senate web page a release "Unashamed To Be a Christian" in which you again demonize gay human beings and not coincidentally, disrespect your granddaughter Erica by portraying all opposition to your anti-LGBT bigotry as consisting of people who use curse words at you. Additionally, you do not have an exclusive claim to what it means to be Christian. Many Christians today . . whole Churches . . .. accept LGBTers and support their legal equality. When you misappropriate the word "Christian" with your implicit claim that Christians who favor LGBT equality are somehow less truly Christian than you, you look like a propagandistic hack. http://www.nysenate.gov/press-...
Every decent New Yorker now wants to know from you; when will you in public acknowledge your granddaughter Erica's article published in the New York Post, the one she ended by saying of your anti-gay hate speech "I want him to know that every word he utters hurts his own blood."
You evidently weren't satisfied with hurting Erica with your anti-gay bigotry; you had also to hurt her by denying in public that you have any knowledge of the article she pubished.
Frankly, shame on you.
Let me solve this non mystery. According to my ex boss who is a personal friend of the Diaz family, senior Diaz married his ex-secretary who he had an affair with. That is why both wives were on the payroll at the same time. The Bronx is full of corrupt and inept politicians, I only hope that Diaz Jr. is joking about a mayoral bid.
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When is the Gay community going to understand what the Bible says about a man and a woman? smh ..you cant be that ignorant. The bible says God saw that Adam needed a companion so he made a woman called Eve, not Steve...
Good expos├ę of a sordid opportunist. If the Voice wants to do some serious investigating, it should look into the other hispanic 'reverends' who are running religious scam organizations in the Bronx and siphoning taxpayer money to subsidize hate speech against gays and others while they hide armies of illegitimate kids and family scandals. You'll be amazed what you find.
Gays are just disgusting to look at. Yeah, yeah, they're all people, too, and should have their civil rights -- but legalese aside, I have to say that I find gays physically revolting. It's like seeing insects to me, something just totally weird. Does that mean I think all insects should be removed from the planet? No. And I don't go around squishing every one I see, either! I'm just trying to say that LBGT people are disgusting to many people.
If there's a genetic component to homosexuality, bisexuality, and transexuality (or whatever *that's* called), why shouldn't there be a genetic component to finding such people disgusting? I mean, you know, how folks are predisposed not to like vegetables or insects....
Thanks, Cas, for your intelligent and cogent arguments. Now try pulling your head out of your beer bong for five seconds.
"Gays are just disgusting to look at." Really? I was unaware that all gay people shared visual characteristics that both ease their identification by bigots like you and cause disgust. Do enlighten me as to what visual characteristics I have that cause you nausea, please.
edit: You know, for someone who is disgusted by gays, you sure do comment an awful lot on the Village Voice. Are you aware this publication is well known for its coverage of LGBT issues? Did you know it carries gay sex advice icon Dan Savage's column? Do you have any clue how many gay people live in the Village?
This expose of Diaz is excellent. Diaz's full quote, oft repeated, is "I am Church and I am state and I will not be separated." Diaz's aggressive deceptiveness is plain to see, when Spitzer's investigation found that he had fraudulently spent Soundview money on his Senate office furniture and only paid the money back to Sounview after the fraud was discovered. Diaz then has the nerve to yell at you that "nothing" was wrong. It isn't that he acknowledges his economic fraud, and is committed never to repeat such fraud; it's that he wants to create the impression that you have no business questioning his integrity. Diaz serially misappropriates his official Senate website and letterhead to send Evangelical messages to Evangelicals. That is a violation of 74(h) of the ethics code. A complaint should be submitted and a full investigation conducted. Diaz in offering to marry his friend the convicted abuser Monserrate to Monserrate's victim is sending wrong messages to abusers and victims both, and this explains in part why Diaz's district has one of the highest domestic violence rates in the state. Furthermore, we should consider that with his abuses of power, Diaz is subjecting his family members to domestic violence. He certainly is exercising his political power to control and repress some of his family members in ways consistent with scientific descriptions of domestic violence. This article presumes that Diaz, Jr. is a totally free agent; it might instead have considered how Jr. is Sr.'s domestic violence victim. Sr.'s presence at an AID victim's funeral is repulsive. He was there praying for the "salvation" of the dead gay person's soul, not paying respects to the gay person for who the gay person was. One further matter for investigation would be Diaz's possibly corrupt relationship with fringe religious Jewish extremists in his district. My investigations show that he has steered money to that fringe, and there is an appearance that there could be a quid pro quo involved, with Diaz saying I'll get you this money if you show up at my anti-gay hate events. Like Diaz, these fringe extremists are misognyist. One of them spit on lesbian rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum - yet Diaz did nothing to denounce the misogynist spitter. And, this is the same Ruben Diaz who lied about the contents of an anti-gay blog published by Archbishop Dolan, in order to demonize gay human beings with even greater intensity. Neither Diaz nor Dolan would address the problem of Diaz's lie about Dolan's blog. The lie was published the same day Diaz was recording an anti-gay hate radio segment for Dolan's A Conversation with the Archbishop. An appearance was created that Dolan and Diaz are in collusion to promulgate anti-gay hate speech; neither man seems to have an interest in eliminating that appearance. Finally for now, mentioning Diaz's mediocre linguistic abilities certainly is relevant to his quality as a leader. Grammatical use of language is indicative of an ability rationally to reason, and to think in an orderly manner. Poor language skills are a reflection of poor thinking habits. What is more, Ruben Diaz, Sr. does not even speak his mother tongue as would a well-educated person from Puerto Rico.
Reverend Diaz is nether my representative nor I agree with his views, but to discuss his language skills and physical qualities is as low as the positions taken by the reverend. If you want to end discrimination, you need to get your own values in order.
The article was weak and lame. It didn't even mention the fact that this guy is a thug who was done for drug dealing so in a sense the fact that he is being 'trusted' to run an area is shocking but then very few liberal news sites these days do ANY kind of decent reportage articles.
Such a lack of spine. No wonder people went crazy for the Bachmann Daily Beast article that simply rehashed old information.
A decent article on the sliminess of NOM would not only help NY but the gay community because they are the reason you have lost in most states or will lose in most states.
You Apparently Forgot That Diaz Senior Who Was Known Around Town As Satana Or Satan, Was Convicted Of Possessing 12 bags of heroin and 3 bags of marijuana and one scale, he plead guilty to misdeameanors and got probation....unfortunately recovering heroin addicts that turn to jesus become fanatics to keep away the chills and the ghosts but prefer to while away with the holy ghost in the hopes that all the crap that he did in the past, that still haunts him will be erased....two wrongs do not make a right....do not force religion down our throats when what we need is equality......
interesting viewpoint honeybadger... i was under the impression that all people deserved to be treated as humans. I don't understand all this hate.... god wanted us to love one another. it's sad to see how mankind has twisted that. I wonder honeybadger if god would look upon you, with all your hate and contempt, would he smile at you? would he be proud of how much hate you have in your heart?
The VillageVioce reporters, like most others in the media, are all just helping to push a sick agenda by demonizing anyone who speaks their opinion that doesn't match the popular opinion. Homosexuality is a disorder and a form of mental retardation. And the gay community is proving that to be the case every time one of them speaks.
More than one element of "honeybadger"'s comment constitutes hate speech. For one example now, the notion that gay people only are concerned about equality for gay people, constitutes anti-gay hate speech. That hate speech aims to create an us (heterosexuals) against them (homosexuals) scenario in which the heteros are good and the homosexuals are bad. In reality, of course, many heterosexuals favor full acceptance and equality. Some do so, just out of a sense of basic fairness. Others have grandchildren, or uncles, or twins, or other family members, friends and/or colleagues who are gay. They are heterosexuals who want homosexuals treated with respect and decency, instead of hatefully out of ignorance over homosexuality. Whole countries have already granted full equality to those of their citizens who happen to be gay. Anne Rice and Barbra Streisand would be two examples of heterosexuals who want equality for gay human beings. Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg, too, are heterosexuals who want equality for gay people. I would like to see "honeybadger" tell Barbra Streisand to her face that she is showing "mental retardation" by speaking up for equality.
Can we reinstate slavery since that's allowed in the bible, too? Homosexuality is scientifically proven to be genetic and exists throughout different species. Why don't you worry more about the single mothers and abusive families that you read in the paper everyday. Me getting married isn't going to affect someone beating their child to death over a broken television.
Like they say about blacks in the bible? Like they thought about women working in the 50's?
Youre a real ray of BS.
Honeybadger - You who are defining homosexuality as a form of "mental retardation;" I demand that you take an IQ test side by side with me and that our results then be published in the pages of the Village Voice.