Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz, Sr. is clearly unhappy about being labeled the anti-HIV/AIDS, anti-LGBT bigot that he is. After Diaz, Sr. scheduled an anti-gay marriage rally during the annual AIDS Walk (and during his own son’s Bronx Week festivities), we pointed out how politically cunning it was to do this when all the pesky LGBT activists would already be busy.
But it was still pretty heartless, considering his Senate district is home to some of the South Bronx neighborhoods with the highest number of HIV/AIDS related deaths in the city.
It’s also home to some of the most extreme poverty in the country. His HIV positive constituents are among the most likely to benefit from the fundraising efforts of the AIDS Walk.
Diaz was none too pleased with us for pointing this out, or with some of our readers’ reactions to his bigotry. And, apparently, it’s been really eating away at him, to the point he’s really had to search his soul.
That’s right. After a whole week of debilitation, Diaz announced in a press release yesterday that he’s decided the best way to truly honor HIV positive New Yorkers is to…
…still hold his anti-gay marriage rally during the AIDS Walk.
“I’d also like to clarify some loathsome accusations about our May 15th Rally coinciding with the New York AIDS Walk,” Diaz writes. “Our Rally for Traditional Marriage will include thousands of New Yorkers who support AIDS programs and AIDS victims. No one has the right to accuse people who attend our rally of opposing AIDS victims or programs that help AIDS victims and their families.”
Of course, the people who want to deny LGBT New Yorkers the 1,324 benefits that come with marriage in this state — including the right to health insurance coverage for your spouse, the right to visit them in the hospital, and the right to bequeath property in the event of your death — aren’t doing ANYTHING that could POSSIBLY affect a couple affected by HIV/AIDS.
In fact, Diaz contends, he gives a lot of money to AIDS as a senator, and the people coming to his rally are the real victims here: ” Everyone should realize that we’re not hiring Ricky Martin, Elton John or Rosie Perez to attract people to our event. There won’t be any paid superstars or celebrities to draw crowds.”
Diaz goes on to write that there is no correlation between gay civil rights and HIV/AIDS, anyway. He even offers to continue “to encourage people to participate in the March Against AIDS. AIDS is a terrible plague and those who commit themselves to join the
war against AIDS are certainly part of this noble cause. However, it has to be made clear that everyone who participates in the March Against AIDS is not necessarily in support of gay marriage. There is a huge difference between the March Against AIDS and our Rally. One has nothing to do with the other.”
At this point, Diaz loses whatever tenuous grip he has on grammar and logic and loses us completely. Will he encourage people to go to the walk and not the rally? And is he even still talking about the AIDS Walk on May 15, or the Mother’s March Against AIDS, which is an official Heritage of Pride activity that takes place during Pride Week?
Regardless, he seems terribly confused, and people we know who’ve helped organize
both activities in the past openly laughed at the prospect he’s ever been affiliated with or supportive of either.
We’ve reached out to people at the Mother’s March Against AIDS, the AIDS Walk, and Senator Diaz, and will print any of their responses if we receive them.