What You Should Know
Never shy about speaking his mind, State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr. suggested in his latest missive that long-shot mayoral candidate Erick Salgado could net far more publicity for his campaign if he just declared himself gay, solicited prostitutes and tweeted photos of his underwear.
“Salgado could declare that he is a homosexual, go to the City Hall Clerk, get a license, marry another man in a public garden, and become the very first male New York City mayoral candidate who is officially married to a man,” Mr. Díaz, a booster of Mr. Salgado, wrote in his ongoing series of “What You Should Know” statements.
When word arrived that the Supreme Court had struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, Democratic politicians from around the Empire State rejoiced with a flurry of celebratory statements. But former Congressman Anthony Weiner, knowing the press would come to him, simply updated his public schedule to show that he’d be addressing DOMA after an afternoon press conference in the Bronx.
Needless to say, Mr. Weiner was happy.
doma in a coma
In a major victory for gay rights, the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act this morning, ruling the 1996 law unconstitutional. Same-sex married couples are now entitled to the same federal status as other married couples, such as in regard to income taxes and Social Security.
The case, United States v. Windsor, is based on a New York woman, Eddie Windsor, who married her spouse, Thea Clara Spyer in Canada. Upon Ms. Spyer’s death in 2009, Ms. Windsor inherited her estate and was taxed as if they were unmarried. In their decision today, the Supreme Court ruled that DOMA created a separate and unequal class of citizens in cases such as this.
A Democratic mayoral candidate claimed yesterday he received three death threats after an anti-gay marriage group endorsed his candidacy.
Erick Salgado, a socially conservative minister and long-shot candidate, told reporters at a Staten Island mayoral forum Monday night that he was the victim of three emailed death threats after the National Organization for Marriage, a group dedicated to fighting the legalization of same-sex marriage, endorsed him last week.
As the fiery Rev. Rubén Díaz Sr., a New York State Senator, thundered against same-sex marriage in the nation’s capital, his son, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., was about to do the very opposite. The younger Díaz was joining a wave of politicians who have recently reversed their positions in favor of gay marriage, but his father said he was unswayed by the momentum against him.
“Marriage is sacred. Marriage is an institution established by God and it should stay that way,” he said. “The majority is not always right. 2,000 years ago the majority chose the rabbi and rejected Jesus. Now, the majority are rejecting the Bible and not choosing Jesus. I know my conviction and I know I will not change my view. I could be only one in the whole world and I would not change my view.”
Manhattan Congressman Jerry Nadler’s constituent, Edie Windsor, is the plaintiff in the Defense of Marriage Act’s U.S. Supreme Court case, and Mr. Nadler says he couldn’t be pumped for the ultimate outcome.
“I am thrilled to be able to take part in this historic day,” Mr. Nadler said in a statement announcing his intention to attend U.S. v. Windsor‘s opening arguments tomorrow. “Our constitutional commitment to equal protection of the law requires more; that we treat all married couples with the same regard and respect. DOMA fails this simple test, and I am hopeful that the Court will strike down this shameful law and send it into the dustbin of history where it belongs.”
In his State of the Union address this evening, President Barack Obama addressed several hot-button political issues including climate change, immigration reform and gun control. Overall, the president’s speech struck a populist tone, but when bringing up his proposals to address some of these more controversial issues, he characterized them as making good business sense.
While selling his book at Princeton University earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia defended moral opposition to gay marriage by asking, “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder?” According to the Associated Press, Mr. Scalia said he wasn’t equating murder and homosexuality but rather making a logical argument entitled “reduction to the absurd,” but Council Speaker Christine Quinn, an openly gay candidate for mayor next year, wasn’t remotely satisfied with his explanation.
“It’s offensive!” Ms. Quinn exclaimed on Hardball yesterday evening. “Sexual orientation is who we are as people, it’s how we’re created if we’re the LGBT [community]. To compare that–even in a way you want to say was some philosophical exercise–to a heinous, horrible crime of murder? It’s just wrong. He can say it’s a slip of the tongue and that’s fine and we all of them; God knows I have. Just apologize. But don’t compare me to a murderer because I’m a lesbian. Just don’t do it. It’s wrong.”
Drugs & Marriage
President Barack Obama was clearly the biggest winner last night with his victory over Mitt Romney, but there were two other notable victories in this election. Same-sex marriage and openly gay candidates won in multiple states as did initiatives to allow for medical and recreational marijuana.
Strongly Worded Letters
A few days ago, Rabbi Noson Leiter of Torah Jews for Decency said Hurricane Sandy brought a “divine justice” upon New York State as retribution for legalizing same sex marriage. To prove his point Rabbi Leiter pointed to the storm damage in Lower Manhattan, which he referred to as “one of the national centers for homosexuality,” to make his point. In a statement released this afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who led the push for New York’s gay marriage legislation last year, took issue with the remark.
“The comments made by Rabbi Noson Leiter that sought to link the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to our state’s embrace of marriage equality are as offensive as they are ignorant,” Mr. Cuomo said. “This catastrophic storm claimed the lives of more than forty New Yorkers. This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse, and is particularly distasteful in times of tragedy.”