Sunday, April 05, 2015

I won't act like a faggot just to increase poll numbers: Dominican Republic presidential hopeful Hipólito Mejía


Last week former Dominican Republic president Hipólito Mejía brought a new bid for the Caribbean nation's presidency to the United States.  I hadn't paid much attention until NY1 Noticias played a clip of statements he made while in New York citing the Bible and saying he opposed same-sex marriage.


"I call bread 'bread' and wine 'wine.' The other day [Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.] asked my opinion regarding same-sex marriage," Mejia says, "Be fruitful and multiply? There is no way you can do it that way!" meaning gays cannot procreate and, hence, should not be able to marry.

Neither the statements nor the setting were a surprise. Mejía enjoys a strong relationship with Senator Diaz, perhaps the leading Latino anti-marriage equality voice in the nation, and has allowed the Senator to host previous press conferences.

For his failed 2012 presidential bid, you might remember Mejía questioning president Barack Obama's place of birth as Diaz laughed uproariously (NYS Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. endorses "birther" Dominican Republic presidential candidate).

But what may seem to be an impromptu response to an issue raised at the House of Diaz apparently is a campaign speaking point. Speaking to a much wider audience on the local NY/NJ Univisión affiliate Mejía reiterated his opposition to marriage equality using the same terms.


"There is no way you can impregnate your [same-sex] male partner, there is no way, or your female partner."

At the Diaz event Mejía admitted he once confronted gay issues with overt homophobia. "In the past I used to have a have a deadly antagonistic stance [against gays]" he says, "Nowadays I can even laugh about it."

If that was in the past, he seems to have forgotten about it the next day when he made a campaign appearance in New Jersey.


Standing before a campaign flag that promises "equality," Mejía doesn't mention same-sex marriage but jokes that his campaign handlers wanted him to wear a wig during media appearances if he wanted poll numbers to improve.  Then he says: "There are people who can change everything about you, even the way you sit down" and says they tried to convince him to sit "the way a little faggot does." The place erupts in laughter.

The fact is that the Dominican Republic is one of the few Latin American nations that bans same-sex marriage in its constitution so all this talk about being a bellwether against gays getting married is just pure political demagoguery.  It is also something being used by religious forces in the Dominican Republic to rile up opposition to U.S. ambassador James "Wally" Brewster who is openly gay and married.

Late last month Ambassador Brewster spoke at a gathering of openly gay U.S. ambassadors in Washington, D.C., and movingly described the attacks he and his partner Bob Satawake had received from Dominican evangelicals since their arrival. While the current government has been mostly mum on the issue, they certainly have backed and supported Brewster behind the scenes.

But in freely raising the marriage equality issue during his campaign visit to the United States, Mejía is sending a clear message to Dominican religious conservatives: Vote for me and I'll make the gay go away.

Updates:

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito reacts:
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1 comment:

Raymond saint-Pierre said...

As blind as Balaguer!