“Ulrich and his wife became known as frequent dinner companions of an openly gay Democrat Councilman and his husband. No one cared about that,” the mailer stated (emphasis in the original). The pamphlet goes on to accuse Ulrich of such “liberal” misdeeds as hiring openly gay staff members and voting in favor of same-sex marriage while on the city council.
So virulently anti-gay was Reyes’ mailer that his own former boss, longtime ally to the LGBT community and former Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani, nixed his plans to remain neutral during the primaries and instead rushed to defend Ulrich in the Wall Street Journal:
GIULIANI: After seeing what his campaign has done, which is disgusting, Juan doesn’t belong in politics. I don’t know where he belongs, but he belongs someplace else… I find these attacks, the gay-bashing attacks, childish, silly, and a real indication you don’t belong in public service.
Reyes is the latest New York Republican to swing far to the right on LGBT issues during an election season in which several Republicans who helped to pass marriage equality last year are facing primary challenges from socially conservative candidates. Last week, State Senator Mark Grisanti (R-NY) was hit with a homophobic mailer in his upstate New York district by the Committee to Save the Erie County Republican Party, while Roy McDonald (R-NY) is facing a competitive race from a local county clerk who already has the backing of the state’s Conservative Party.
The National Organization for Marriage has also dedicated considerable resources to defeating Republicans who voted in favor of marriage equality in New York. In blog posts and email alerts, NOM has spent the last year promising to replace pro same-sex marriage lawmakers with homophobic ones, though given the overwhelming support for same-sex marriage in both the population at large and in Albany, even if NOM’s five endorsed candidates all win their primaries tonight and the general election in November, it’s not likely same-sex marriage is going anywhere in New York.