Rubén Díaz Sr. Chats with The Village Voice


In this week’s Voice feature story, we took a look at Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, Sr., the only Democrat in the State Senate still against same-sex marriage, and the main face of its opposition in Albany right now.

Given our history with each other, we were quite surprised when Díaz Senior agreed to speak to us on the phone for this story. But he did, and we asked as many questions as we could (before he hung up on us.)

Here’s the transcript of our full conversation after the jump.

Senator, you say you do not wish harm on gay people, but you were quiet when a minister called for gay people to be killed, which your granddaughter wrote about in the New York Post. Do you regret your silence?

Who called for gay people to be killed? No one called for gay people to be killed.

Your granddaughter wrote about this in the Post.

My daughter? Granddaughter? I don’t know anything about this.

You didn’t read what she wrote?

No. I never read this. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Well, she wrote about how another minister said this on the radio, and you didn’t say anything to correct him.

Who said this?

She and others wrote about the call to harm in Spanish at that rally, on the radio, in other places —

Listen, my speech that day was translated into English. That day, in front of all of the people, whoever wants to listen to that speech, that speech is recorded. 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 who hates anyone, you will go to hell! That is what my religion teaches, so I said that publicly. So what more do people want?

Your own granddaughter wrote —

I don’t know what my granddaughter wrote!

All right, let me ask you about this. You believe marriage is between one man and one woman, yes?

Yes [Laughs.]. So? Why are you asking me this? You know that, you know what I believe. Why are you calling me? Marriage is between a man and a woman.

But you yourself have been married twice, and are divorced.

Yes. So?

So do you believe it is alright to be divorced?

No. Divorce is wrong. Gay marriage is wrong.

You think you are wrong, then?

When I got divorced, I was wrong, yes. Why are you asking me this?

But you believe that gay marriage is wrong and divorce is wrong, but that you should be allowed to get divorced and remarried, and gay people shouldn’t be able to marry at all.

When I got divorced, it was wrong, but marriage is between a man and a woman.

So is being divorced OK with your religion?

No, it is not OK. Gay marriage is still wrong. This is what I believe.

So why, after you got divorced and you were the CEO of Soundview, did you have both your wife and your ex-wife on the payroll?

[Sighs, exasperated.] Steve, that was investigated by the FBI, and everything was cleared. Nothing was wrong. I don’t know what you’re looking for.

I want to know if divorce is so wrong to you, why did you have both your current wife and ex-wife on the payroll in the same place? And this was funded by public money. Were these two women the most qualified women for the jobs they held?

This has already been investigated. You want to find dirt on me? Talk to my enemies. All of them. You want the truth? Ask the FBI!

I want to know why, if marriage is so important to you, why you would have the reminder of your divorce working alongside your new wife, in front of your employees.

I don’t know why I gave you the courtesy of giving you an interview. I see where you are coming from. You have nothing intelligent to say. You just want to find dirt. Go ahead. Find all the dirt you want. I am used to it, especially from you. Call the FBI, call all of my enemies, call all of my foes! Thank you very much, my friend. Goodbye.