Monday, April 20, 2009

A Tale of Two Diaz's

What up mi gente!? Glad to be back in NYC after spending a few days at the EMP Pop Conference in Seattle.

I just saw this YouTube video of reactions to Gov. Patterson's calls to legalize gay marriage.

Now, those of you who know me personally know I am not a big proponent of marriage (gay or straight) because of its normative and capitalist underpinnings. Nonetheless, I still support people's rights to get married if that is what works for them and respect the struggle for the legal protections that marrigage offers. Despite my ambivalence about gay marriage, I still foam at the mouth when I hear about/see State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.'s homophobic publicity stunts. Back in 2004 (if my memory serves me correctly) Diaz Sr. staged a protest in front of the Bronx County Courthouse that garnered a large crowd in opposition to gay-marriage. Earlier this year he was part of a rally by anti-gay Latino/a clergy that was less successful, but nevertheless garnered more attention for Diaz Sr. and his religious political platform.

In February Gary Axelbank, posted a video on West Bronx News calling out Diaz Sr. on issues related to homophobia, a woman's right to choose, and separation of church and state. Check it out below (h/t Blabbeando):

I agree with Axelbank on many of his points, specifically about Diaz Sr.'s need to recognize where his duties as a minister end and his duties as a senator begin.

I'm not really into making the son pay for the sins of the father, but how should we be thinking about Ruben Diaz Jr.'s current run for Bronx Borough President?

When Adolfo Carrion Jr. was selected for the position of Director of the White House Office on Urban Policy by President Obama, Diaz Jr. quickly stepped in to fill the vacancy left by Carrion. Now with the election just around the corner and no contenders it's pretty much safe to assume that Diaz Jr. will be the next Bronx Borough President.

So what does his mean for LGBT Bronxites? Potentially a lot. While Diaz Jr. is not as conservative as his father, and he has supported measures to protect LGBT populations from discrimination, in June of 2007 he voted against same-sex marriage. Again, while I don't think that gay marriage should be the main struggle of the LGBT movement, I will say that it tends to be a good barometer for measuring a politician's homophobia and biases against the LGBT community.

So on the eve of a new Bronx Borough President and presumably more antics by Ruben Diaz Sr. and his group of conservative Latino/a clergy, I guess the theme is be prepared. While the Bronx's LGBT community is gaining more attention, I doubt that will stop both Diaz Sr. and Jr. from opposing the gay marriage measures that Patterson is pushing for.

The question is how will we see this as affecting Bronxites and how will we respond?

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