Reverend State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. has represented the Bronx’s 32nd District for some eleven years now, and on one point, he’s always been consistent: the gays. Diaz, a Pentecostal minister as well as a Democrat, has remained implacable in his distaste for LGBT people, even when his lesbian granddaughter is leading a counter-protest directly across from his anti-same sex marriage rally. Even in light of the fact that two of his brothers were also gay. Even when the LGBT people in question are teens trying to attend the Harvey Milk School, which Diaz tried to put a stop to in 2003 by suing the city on the grounds that it discriminated against straight students.
So it’s perhaps not surprising that Diaz promised he would bring 5,000 people to the National Organization for Marriage’s second annual March for Marriage in Washington D.C. yesterday, even though it was the last day then senate was in session, and perhaps he had some other work to attend to. The buses were paid for by NOM themselves, and Diaz said he and more than 100 other Hispanic ministers would attend with their congregations.
It doesn’t sound like the March for Marriage quite met their goal, numbers-wise. A blogger at Human Rights Campaign called the crowd “quite tiny.” The Washington Blade estimated about 2,000 people turned up. But the Catholic Diocese of Arlington called the marchers “lively,” and don’t they look it:
A lively crowd at the March for Marriage! If you aren’t here, pray for those marching and for our elected officials! pic.twitter.com/DmuRfeEJCo
— Arlington Diocese (@arlingtonchurch) June 19, 2014
— Jamie McGonnigal (@McBenefit) June 19, 2014
Diaz was undeterred; as Right Wing Watch points out, he used portions of his speech to rail against both gay marriage and the secularization of the public schools. Taking prayer out of the classroom, he said, has paved the way for a much greater menace: demons.
“They took God out of the schools and the demons came in,” Diaz said in Spanish. “Fifty years. But we didn’t give up, because we kept praying.”
Diaz claimed victory over the forces of demonry, pointing to a recent Supreme Court decision ruling that it’s legal to offer sectarian prayers at public meetings. He implied that the no prayer in schools policy had also been struck down. That’s not correct: the same month, the Supreme Court also upheld a lower court ruling saying a high school couldn’t hold its graduation ceremony in a church .
Diaz said, too, that same-sex marriage had been forced on the people of New York and other states where it’s legal. “The legislators put that on us, the people didn’t vote for that,” he said. “But if they say that the people want it, give us an opportunity to vote! Gives us an opportunity to vote on it! Why are they so afraid?”
That’s not how representative democracy works, Senator.
Here’s the full video:
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 20, 2014