Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr—who has previously supported gay rights—released a moving statement in support of equality.
Diaz Jr. was elected borough president in April 2009 and previously served in the New York State Assembly. Diaz Jr. is the son of Ruben Diaz Sr, the rabidly anti-gay New York state senator and Pentecostal minister. Diaz Sr. was the only Democrat in the Senate to oppose the mariage equality law passed in June 2011.
After considerable deliberation and introspection, I support marriage equality. My decision, which comes after years of thought and reflection on the issue, is informed by the experiences I have had with close friends, family and loved ones.
For example, my chief-of-staff, Paul Del Duca, has for decades worked to help the people of this City. He has helped people find housing and jobs, he has dedicated his professional life to assisting those in need. Why, then, should he and his partner Damion—whose wedding I stood witness to—be denied the same rights of any other loving and committed couple? Moreover, why should my niece, Erica Diaz, be denied the ability to get married when her time comes?
Borough President Diaz Jr. also called on the Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA Section Three prohibits federal recognition of legallly married same-sex couples and denies all federal benefits, such as Social Security, penion benefits, prefential tax treatment and health care. The justices heard oral arguments on Section Three today.
NYS Sen. and Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. took to the streets of the Bronx in May 2011 to lead a march and rally against the state's proposed marriage law. That attracted only about 1,000 people—a far cry from the 10,000 strong May 2009 anti-gay march that Diaz organized on the streets of Manhattan.
The counter-protesters at the 2011 rally included member's of Diaz's own family—Erica Diaz, the then-22-year-old openly lesbian granddaughter who was discharged from the Navy under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In addition to his granddaughter, Diaz Sr. also has two gay brothers.
Thanks Andres Duqué!
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