Not everyone is pleased with New York Gov. David Paterson's decision to re-introduce marriage equality legislation. State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. —the arch-conservative anti-gay Pentecostal minister from the South Bronx who once claimed the Gay Games would lead to "an increase in AIDS and more homosexuality in young people"— is predictably outraged.
Diaz Sr. demands an "emergency summit" of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization to respond to Paterson. The meeting is this afternoon and Elizabeth Benjamin in the Daily News writes:
In a brief telephone interview, Diaz Sr., a Pentecostal minister who has long been vocal in his opposition to gay marriage, questioned Paterson's timing and called it 'ridiculous,' particularly given the fact that this is the week Archbishop Timothy Dolan is being installed in his new job. 'I think this is the wrong time to do it,' Diaz Sr. said. '(Paterson) is doing this as a welcoming ceremony for the new Catholic? It's ridiculous.'
In the press release announcing [todays] meeting at the Christian Community Neighborhood Church, the Bronx Democrat went even further, calling the governor's move "disrespectful, and adding: 'If I were Governor Paterson, I would abstain from going to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the welcoming ceremony and to celebrate Mass.' "
Paterson did attend yesterday's installation of the archbishop. The two spoke briefly and we're guessing they did did not discuss the hot-button issue.
Diaz Sr. is one of the so-called "Gang Of Three" in the state Senate that threatened to bolt from the Democrats slim majority unless the gay marriage vote was postponed. Openly gay Sen. Thomas Duane tells the Daily News some Democrats and Republicans are considering switching their votes and believes "we can win this year."
The Pentecostal minister and Bronx legislator has a colorful history fighting anti-gay causes. Diaz Sr. sued to stop the expansion of the Harvey Milk School, which provides a safe space for persecuted LGBT teens. Ruben Diaz Sr: A shining example of why church and state should not mix.