The most dangerous place in New York City is between Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. and a camera. The rabidly anti-gay Pentecostal minister from the South Bronx describes Gov. David Paterson's re-introduction of a same-sex marriage bill as "desperate."
"He's desperate," Diaz, a Democrat, said Thursday at the "emergency meeting" of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization. "He's trying to bring up his poll numbers."
The state's most vocal opponent of gay rights and marriage equality—who once claimed the Gay Games would lead to "an increase in AIDS and more homosexuality in young people"—promised a May rally of Latino churchgoers to oppose same-sex marriage. "He's challenged the Christian movement," Diaz Sr. said. "He's challenged the Christian believers. He's challenged the people that believe in the Bible. We are accepting the challenge."
The previous marriage equality bill passed the Assembly in 2007 but stalled in the then-Republican controlled Senate. Democrats hold a razor thin 32-30 majority in the Senate and several in the caucus, in addition to Diaz Sr., oppose marriage equality. But there has been some momentum in the past few days and openly gay Sen. Thomas Duane tells Gay City News "Republican votes are needed, and said several GOP senators have expressed their support to him privately and that their numbers are 'increasing.'"