Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NYS: Revernd Ruben Diaz, Sr. will introduce anti-gay marriage referendum today

One of the striking things about yesterday's El Diario La Prensa editorial backing marriage rights for same-sex couples was their explicit rejection of efforts by New York State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. to derail any legislation granting same-sex couples the rights afforded to married couples or to sponsor bills that discriminate against same-sex couples (the Senator also happens to be an ordained minister).

From the editorial which I quoted in full yesterday:
Rev. Diaz and others are supposedly not for denying rights to gays and lesbians but believe that marriage should be between a man and woman. Yet, it’s this very discriminatory position that serves to exclude lesbian and gay couples from accessing rights, benefits and treatment that heterosexuals take for granted.

This use of religious beliefs to block basic civil rights undermines the separation of church and state in this nation.
In today's edition, El Diario La Prensa runs an interview with the not so good Reverend in which he once again spouts off his mouth on his favorite topic: The gays ("Reverend Diaz: Gay marriage goes to referendum" by Jose Acosta).

In it, Diaz announces that he will introduce a State Senate bill today pushing for a statewide referendum on same-sex marriage:
I do not think it is appropriate that a group of lawmakers are the ones to decide whether or not gay marriage is approved in New York. I, as a legislator, do not want to impose my will, and this is why I am asking that there be a referendum on the issue as was done in California, and that the 20 million inhabitants of the State of New York be the ones who decide in a democratic election
OMG, thank you for protecting the electorate from efforts to grant a much-discriminated minority equal rights, Senator! Makes you wonder if the Reverend would feel the same about it if he felt there was enough support for a legislative ban on same-sex marriages!

But how about that pesky separation of church and state? hm...
I am a pastor and cannot, with my vote, bring homosexual marriage to the State of New York. My dissent would come to an end if my colleagues support the bill I am submitting
Well, so much for that! At least he never ceases to disappoint... in a bad way, of course.

As for the chances of a referendum moving forward in New York State, here is how Paul Schindler puts it in last week's Gay City News:
Despite the press play that proposal got across the state and on some blog sites that usually show greater political acumen, the referendum idea is, in fact, a non-starter. New York voters do not currently have the right to initiate such ballot questions, and though Senate Republicans have at times flirted with passing a law to enable them to, they have not seriously advanced the concept, nor are the Assembly Democrats about to surrender their prerogatives in this way.

The only other way to put the question to the voters would be for the Legislature, in two successive sessions, to approve a constitutional amendment referendum. That approach, too, has no support among Democrats, in either the Assembly or the Senate.


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