This is the third of three reports ThinkProgress filed from the anti-gay marriage rally in Bronx, New York. Read our two other reports here and here.
ThinkProgress spoke to New York Assemblyman Marcos Crespo during yesterday’s anti-gay marriage rally in the Bronx. Crespo reiterated the event’s public theme — the Church has nothing against gay people themselves, it just don’t want them to enter into state-recognized relationships — and said that his opposition to equality rested in his religious beliefs and those of the community he represents. But asked what would happen if gay people became legal, Crespo admitted that little, if anything, would actually change:
VOLSKY: What do you think would happen if gays were allowed to marry?
CRESPO: Nothing would happen. The sky ain’t gonna fall and the world ain’t gonna end. I respect my brothers and sisters on the other side this is not a message of hate. I find it insulting when people believe that because of our position on traditional marriage that it’s somehow a homophobic statement — it’s not the case.
VOLSKY: But then if there is no negative consequences, why are you guys here though?
CRESPO: Because we support traditional marriage based not only on our biblical beliefs but we what we believe is in the best interest of our community. That’s it.
It’s unclear how civil marriage would interfere with Crespo’s religious definition, since his church would not be forced to perform same-sex ceremonies. Good As You’s Jeremy Hooper raised a similar question with another of the rally’s organizers without getting a definitive answer.
This is the second of three reports ThinkProgress filed from the anti-gay marriage rally in Bronx, New York.
Yesterday’s anti same-sex marriage rally in New York sought to portray religious opponents of marriage equality as tolerant of gay people, with speakers repeatedly insisting that they “loved” “our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.” But when ThinkProgress talked with some of the sponsors of the event, they reiterated gay stereotypes and homophobic misconceptions.
In a pre-rally event, ThinkProgress asked Rev. Kittim Silva — Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors and a member of Radio Vision Cristiana, a powerful Latino Christian radio station which helped sponsor yesterday’s rally — about his claims that same-sex marriage would “destroy the youth.” Silva, who repeatedly stressed that he “respected” gay people — “I do not have nothing against gay people” — argued that same-sex marriage would push more people into homosexuality and said that it would be better for children to remain in the foster care system than be adopted by gay couples. He also endorsed the concept of so-called “ex-gay movement” and explained that he had seen people become heterosexual:
- SAME-SEX MARRIAGE WILL TURN PEOPLE GAY:
SILVA: Today the gay movement is like in the 60s when there was a hippie. Today it is like confusing, everybody want to be gay.
- CHILDREN ARE BETTER OFF IN THE FOSTER SYSTEM:
VOLSKY: But if there is also a lot of children in the foster system, do you think it’s preferable for those children to go into gay households?
SILVA: No, I don’t think so.
VOLSKY: So it’s better for them to stay in the system, you think?
- GAY PEOPLE CAN BECOME STRAIGHT:
VOLSKY: And why do you think people become gay? Do you think it’s something they’re born with or do you think it’s a choice they make?
SILVA: Some, I believe that they born with gay tendencies, or else they become to be gays because they are looking for identity in the same way they become alcoholic, to [inaudible], and other things. I believe that sometimes what they see and they want to repeat.
VOLSKY: And do you think they can go back straight?
SILVA: Yes, many have been changed.
VOLSKY: You know people?
SILVA : People in church have been changed among whites, blacks, it can be changed.
Watch the entire interview:
A preacher at the event also proclaimed that “those who practice [homosexuality] deserve death” while a group leading the rally compared same-sex marriage to bestiality, incest, and pedophilia.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young adults who experience high levels of anti-LGBT victimization as teens are 5.6 times more likely to report suicide attempts, twice as likely to be clinically depressed, and more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease by young adulthood.
Those are some of the important results from a new Family Acceptance Project report published this week in the Journal of School Health. It’s the first of its kind to look at the long-term effects of targeted anti-LGBT bullying in schools. These results fly in the face of those who claim that bullying is simply a rite of passage that everybody must endure, demonstrating that when LGBT people are specifically targeted for their sexual orientation or gender identity, the consequences are significant and lasting.
Indeed, as this chart from the study demonstrates, high levels of LGBT victimization correlate significantly with depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression), suicide attempts (including those requiring medical attention), STDs, and risk of HIV infection:
The results show just how disingenuous opponents of marriage equality are in their latest regurgitations of “protect our children” messaging. The National Organization for Marriage continues to try to scare New York voters with videos calling for “consequences for kids” and mailers asserting that letting kids learn about same-sex families is “wrong, but it can be stopped.” The real message opponents stand behind, of course, is that “those who practice [homosexuality] deserve death,” and it is exactly by keeping affirmative messages out of schools they allow for just that.
This is the first of three reports filed from yesterday’s anti-gay marriage rally in Bronx, New York.
New York Sen. Ruben Diaz
Several thousand people rallied in the Bronx, New York yesterday against the impending push to legalize same-sex marriage. Organizers, including state Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz, several Spanish radio stations and churches, argued that marriage should be defined as a union between “one man and one woman” and urged the state government to abandon their effort or put the initiative up to a vote. “Let the people decide. If the people say yes, we’ll shut up,” Diaz said at the steps of the Bronx court house. “Bring it to the people, bring it to the people…look at the people!” he yelled to the crowd of several thousand Hispanic Americans.
Diaz stressed that he was not condemning gay people, telling a small group of protesters gathered across the court house that his granddaughter — who was taking part in the counter demonstration — was a lesbian. “We respect you and we love you. You’ve never heard from me a word of insult to you. You’ve never heard me say — you never seen me call for homophobia or violence,” Diaz said, as organizers and police brought Erica Diaz to the main podium to stand with Diaz. “This is my granddaughter,” he said, stressing that he had “respect” for her “decisions.” “She does what she wants,” Diaz told the crowd.
And while the march and rally focused on the Christian message of “love,” the event remained deeply homophobic, with speakers routinely condemning gay people as “sinners” and describing same-sex relations as something wholly unnatural or perverse. In fact, just minutes before Diaz took to the microphone to stress his respect for gay people, Rev. Ariel Torres Ortega of Radio Visión Cristiana said that the gay people are “worthy of death”:
Committing sexual acts between man and man. And receiving the retribution of the things that they have done from straying away. And because they did not take God in count. God gave them over to reprimand their mind to do things that are not right, being against all justice, fornication, perversity, aberrations, malignity…those who practice such things are worthy to death, not only do they do it, but those who also practice it. God bless this earth. That is the word of God.
Watch a compilation:
Demonstrators held signs that read “God’s Marriage = 1 man & 1 woman” and “Gay Marriage Is Against the Word of God.”
A group called ‘The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Prosperity’ (TFP) led off the march and provided the musical accompaniment. One member distributed hundreds of flyers to passerbys explaining “why homosexual ‘marriage’ is harmful and must be opposed.” The print-out describes same-sex marriage as “evil,” against “natural law” and argues that allowing gay people to marry would “obscure certain basic moral values, devalue traditional marriage, and weaken public morality.”
“If homosexual ‘marriage’ is universally accepted as the present step in sexual ‘freedom,’ what logical arguments can be used to stop the next steps of incest, pedophilia, bestiality, and other forms of unnatural behavior?” the flyer asks.