As New Yorkers continue to push for marriage equality, state Sen. Rev. Rubén Díaz (D) continues to vitriolically smear gays and lesbians with lies and stereotypes while proclaiming himself righteous in his opposition to equality. Tony Varona has translated and analyzed a recent interview Díaz gave that was rife with lies and attacks. Here are some excerpts with debunks:
CLAIM: “And the bill as written… the bill does not exclude… as it is written specifically… does not exclude either churches or ministers specifically. It does not say it in the bill. [...] They would come to my church so that I would refuse to marry them, and so that they could sue me, and mount a discrimination case.”
FACT: This is certifiably false. The bill that has been proposed for the Assembly (A07600) is less than two pages long, and includes this provision at the bottom:
PROVIDED THAT NO CLERGYMAN, MINISTER OR SOCIETY FOR ETHICAL CULTURE LEADER SHALL BE REQUIRED TO SOLEMNIZE ANY MARRIAGE WHEN ACTING IN HIS OR HER CAPACITY UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION.
Any argument made about marriage equality infringing on religious liberty is thus a lie.
CLAIM: “For me, no, I would vote no because [...]it is against nature… and it just should not exist.”
FACT: Contrary to Díaz’s subjective assessment, the American Psychological Association describes sexual orientation in the following way:
Most scientists today agree that sexual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive and biological factors. In most people, sexual orientation is shaped at an early age. There is also considerable recent evidence to suggest that biology, including genetic or inborn hormonal factors, play a significant role in a person’s sexuality.
Any argument distorting sexual orientation as a choice or “unnatural” is thus a lie.
CLAIM: “My [lesbian] granddaughter arrived (to the May 15th anti-marriage equality protest march he organized) and I hugged her… this is not about hate. [...] We are the ones who are being persecuted, and that Christians are persecuted. And that the Christian religion is persecuted when we cannot do the things that we want to do.”
FACT: While it’s true Erica Díaz was in attendance at the rally, she was there leading the counterprotest. She was quoted that day as saying, “I started crying a little bit because they don’t believe we’re people.”
CLAIM: “No, I’m just comparing for you how one can one day change his mind, because I one day was, and you keep wanting to find the twists and turns, and tomorrow the blogs will be saying, look at what he said, look at how he compared… but what I am saying is that I was homosex… look, now you have me all [mixed up]. I was a drug addict and left the military with a drug addiction. And one day, my mind changed and I no longer was a drug addict. But I was not born a drug addict. I was not born a drug addict.”
FACT: Wow. Not only does Díaz inaccurately portray sexuality as a choice, he has the gall to compare a person’s capacity to love to an unhealthy addiction. Sexual orientation cannot be changed — in fact, it’s harmful to try to change it — and all major scientists agree that the appropriate response is affirmation.
Díaz’s distortions and smears are the epitome of homophobia. The clear animus in his statements should indicate that he has no real concern for religious liberty. His goal is the continued oppression of the LGBT community, motivated by stigma and bigotry.