Progressives across America strive to arrest anti-gay Bronx congressional candidate
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BY MATT TRACY
Nearly a dozen national political groups – including LGBTQ, women’s rights, Latinx and Jewish organizations – unite to send a clear message to residents of the 15th Congressional District in the South Bronx: don’t vote for Ruben Diaz, a member of the Bronx anti-LGBTQ city council, Sr.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund, LGBTQ Victory Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Latino Victory Fund, Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, Human Rights Campaign, Equality PAC and People pour The American Way sounded the alarm about the 77-year-old congressional candidate, showing his homophobia history and opposition to reproductive rights.
In a May 15 announcement, which comes just weeks before the June 23 Democratic primary, organizations sought to expose Diaz’s callous rhetoric over the years.
Nearly a dozen local national groups warn of Bronx Pol homophobia, anti-choice views and misogyny
Among many examples, the organizations cited times when Diaz, a Pentecostal minister, compared the right to abortion to Hitler’s thought, denounced same-sex marriage, described the city council as being “controlled by the gay community”, and once made a scene during a city council sexual harassment training when he said, “I’m not going to miss” if he heard a staff member sexually harass another staff member. The groups also tore up Diaz for welcoming Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz to the Bronx ahead of the 2016 GOP presidential primary.
“Hitler was pro-choice,” Diaz said in a May 2012 edition of his classic “What You Should Know” newsletter, which he still produces today as a platform for wandering on political issues. “He chose to send the Jews to Auschwitz. It was not their choice that was Hitler’s choice… Murderers, assassins and criminals are pro-choice. They choose to put a gun to your head and kill you. “
The groups also cited Diaz’s comments in 2013 on same-sex marriage when, according to the Observer, he said: “The majority are not always right. Two thousand years ago, the majority chose the rabbi and rejected Jesus. Now the majority reject the Bible and do not choose Jesus. I know my conviction and I know that I will not change my mind. “
Groups that consolidate against Diaz don’t all agree on their preferred candidates in the race for the vacant seat by José Serrano – the LGBTQ Victory Fund has backed gay board member Ritchie Torres, for example, while Latino Victory Fund endorsed former Board Chair Melissa. Mark-Viverito – but they put their differences aside for this push, avoiding references to candidates other than Diaz.
“This is one of the most important Democratic primaries in Congress of 2020, with voters choosing between a homophobic and anti-choice Democrat or candidates who defend equality and reproductive rights,” Annise Parker, the president from the LGBTQ Victory Fund and a three-term alumnus. The mayor of Houston said in a written statement accompanying the groups joint announcement. “Throughout his shameful career, Ruben Diaz, Sr., has used his positions of power to stigmatize and denigrate his own constituents for being female or LGBTQ.
Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting Chairman of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, also spoke out, saying Diaz is “the last thing we need in Congress”
“As a New Yorker, I know how out of touch Diaz, Sr. is with our city’s values,” McGill said in a written statement. “Our leaders in Congress must be determined to fight relentlessly for the rights of all Americans, not just those who share their ideology. The Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to electing candidates who will protect and expand abortion and LGBTQ rights – and today that means standing up against Ruben Diaz, Sr. ”
Groups are stepping up criticism of Diaz as the race enters the home stretch under unprecedented circumstances precipitated by the coronavirus crisis. Although there is still more than a month to go before the election, many votes could be cast much sooner as the crisis has paved the way for mass mail-in voting to protect voters from exposure to the coronavirus.
Diaz’s coordinated targeting also coincides with Torres’ new attacks on former Tory senator. In a discussion with the LGBTQ Victory Fund on May 12, Torres called Diaz a “Republican Trump” and “the main homophobic to elected office in New York state.”
“When I think of Ruben Diaz, Sr., I think of him as the Donald Trump of New York politics. He’s just as fiery and clowning, ”Torres said. “Even though he calls himself a Democrat, he has a long history of helping and being in close contact with the Republican Party.”
Along with Diaz, Torres and Mark-Viverito, the tight race to replace Serrano at NY-15 also includes Manhattan council member Ydanis Rodriguez, Bronx State Assemblyman Michael Blake Samelys López, who has the backing of the Working Families Party and the Democratic Party. Socialists of America, Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, Co-Founder Chivona Renee Newsome, Former Serrano Frangell Basora and Tomas Ramos Intern.
This story first appeared on gaycitynews.com.