New York's Empire State Pride Agenda is making its first endorsement of a primary challenger to one of the eight Senate Democrats who voted against marriage equality. The endorsement goes to Assemblyman José Peralta, who is running against Queens Sen. Hiram Monserrate who previously stated support for marriage equality but then voted "no" during last week's vote.
José Peralta has demonstrated time and time again that he is a champion of equality and justice for all New Yorkers and has consistently represented the interests of his district in the New York State Assembly,” said Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle. “His record on LGBT issues demonstrates that he does not duck-and-run when our bills come up for a vote. He has stood up for us in the Assembly, and we will stand with him in his race for the State Senate.”
Assemblymember Peralta has three times voted to pass the marriage equality bill in the Assembly, has voted twice to pass the transgender civil rights bill (the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act) and has several years in a row voted to pass the Dignity for All Students Act, which combats bias-based bullying and harassment of youth in public schools. The Pride Agenda has previously endorsed Peralta in his reelection to the New York State Assembly.
"Civil rights for all of my constituents and for all New Yorkers has always been a priority for me," said Assemblyman José Peralta. "I have worked towards full equality for LGBT New Yorkers in my seven years as an Assemblymember, and I will be proud to continue this work as a member of the State Senate. I think my record in the Assembly demonstrates that when I take a principled stand on an important human rights issue like marriage equality, I don’t suddenly change my mind when the bill comes up for a vote."
Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Cappelle tells the Poughkeepsie Journal: "We are going to begin a very strategic and steady rollout over the course of the next months of candidates who we feel would make better state senators than the people currently sitting in the seats."
In related news: On Friday, Monserrate was sentenced to three years probation and 250 hours of community servicefor the "acciddental" slashing and assault of his girlfriend.