Ruben Diaz Has a Rather Queer Anti-Gay March in the Rain

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View a slideshow of the parade.
Though the rain caused the cancellation of the Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade, it would not deter Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr. from holding his "March for Morality" against gay marriage yesterday.

Over the next several hours, the Bronx County Courthouse would provide the set for a very strange hybrid of seemingly religious and state sanctioned activities. The building is home to Diaz's son, the Bronx Borough President, and as recently as last week members of the press had been told by staff in the Beep's office that Junior's Bronx Week activities were going to be kept separate from Papi's march.

That turned out not to be true, and the two merged seamlessly yesterday.

The march wound up taking over the steps of the Courthouse, under the Bronx Week Banner, with a sound system so powerful we could hear it two subway stations away. The effect of hearing the words "WE ARE HERE TO PRESERVE TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE" from a government platform, broadcast so loudly that even hundreds of feet away you couldn't hear someone standing right next to you, was very powerful, indeed.

We asked a member of the NYPD if the noise was unusually loud and they said it was. We also asked them if the hysterical screaming could lead to inciting violence against gay people. "I'm concerned about that, too," the officer said. (Neither the volume nor the screaming changed.)

The NYPD, for their part, kept a pretty low-profile and didn't get too close to the action, reportedly sending half of their officers home based on low turnout. Access and security on the steps of the courthouse itself was overseen by members of the Hispanic Clergy Organization and by a group called Clamor Por New York, which wore quasi military looking insignia, badges and uniforms to give the impression that they were NYPD or FDNY chaplains. (They are not.)

As we waited for the march to arrive, Erica Diaz, the Senator's lesbian granddaughter and Beep's niece, made a statement disagreeing with her grandfather. The 22-year-old was discharged from the military under Don't Ask, Don't Tell and cannot legally marry her girlfriend of two and a half years. Her words against her grandfather were exceedingly polite, saying she "respects" but disagrees with him. She still told us "it hurts" that he doesn't support her on gay rights, but she predicts he'd still come to her (same-sex) wedding someday.

And then, the elder Diaz arrived.

The Senator marched arm-an-arm, somewhat homoerotically, on the arm of Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage. They came in behind the Holy Choirs of Angels Corps marching band, whose members, along with Brown, were just about the only white people present. Within minutes, the plaza was filled with a thousand to 1,500 Hispanic and black Christian Evangelicals ( as well as an increasingly uncomfortable contingent of Orthodox Jews).

Clad in his trademark all-white outfit, Diaz gleefully took in the scene, speaking of himself in the third person like a deity. As Diaz climbed the courthouse steps, he was cheered like a rock star, and his flocks roared at his ascension as if he was the Messiah himself. Meanwhile, a DJ artfully spun music to whip the crowd into even more of a frenzy at key moments. (The event was co-sponsored by an Evangelical Spanish radio station that had heavily promoted it.)

The proceedings began with a discussion of Genesis, followed by speeches by an overlapping combination of politicians and religious leaders. The crowd held up signs exhorting the speakers to "Protect Our City -- Remember Sodom and Gomorrah!"

Brian Brown framed gay marriage to the crowd as "a matter of civil rights" -- their civil rights.

"Don't let them tell you it won't affect you," he told them, his English being translated, warning that same sex marriage would lead to gay sex education in kindergarten, Catholic charities being shut down, and an erosion of religious freedom.

Diaz was as calculating in his remarks as he was in choosing the time and location of the event. He directed the crowd to focus their anti-gay energy on the five Hispanic state senators, telling them they are the swing votes. He also got them frothing over a boycott against El Diario, which he wrote off as doing nothing but promoting gay rights and abortion. (His line about babies in garbage cans seemed to be a cue for the DJ, who brought up the music and got the crowd in an even more swinging, clapping, mob like state of ecstasy.)

When the sound system first cranked up, the speakers were careful to be more secular in English and save the true evangelizing for Spanish. But as the event wore on, calls for "the Glory of God!" grew more fervent. At first, the half dozen orthodox Jews on stage tried to hang tough, but their presence as plants grew more obvious over time, even to them. When a minister who had traveled from Puerto Rico called out that "We are here for the Glory of Jesus Christ!" only one of the poor Hasidic sign holders was left.

But an even more awkward moment came when Erica Diaz, escorted by NYPD Community Affairs officers, traveled from the protest area to stand by her grandfather. The Senator was saying how he didn't hate gay people, including the protestors, when his granddaughter stood by him. Intentionally or not, Erica's presence gave cover to Diaz, and to the crowd it appeared like she was having a conversion and had come back into the fold of her wise elder.

After she took her place back with the opposition, waving an American flag, she told us the decision to stand by him briefly was hers, just to tell him he was "still my grandfather," and shouldn't be interpreted as meaning anything more or less.

Sadly, there were only about two-dozen counter-demonstrators with her, paltry indeed compared to the hundreds against gay marriage. But veterans of Diaz events took comfort in the fact that, just two years ago, the same event with less publicity had over 20,000 people. Journalists who had been at both told us yesterday's crowd was 5-10 percent the size.

sthrasher@villagevoice.com / @steven_thrasher

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Videos from Ruben Diaz Sr.‚s Anti-Gay Marriage Rally

Father Knows Best: State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.‚s Anti-Gay-Marriage Parade to Disrupt Boro Prez Son's Event


Ruben Diaz Sr.: Gay Marriage Over My Dead Body


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Jeffrey J Smith Bklyn Heights
Jeffrey J Smith Bklyn Heights

I attended Sen Diaz rally on Sunday. His comments were restrained and very reasonable.All he asked for is before we embark on a huge societal change, we put the measure toa state wide vote...exactly what all the gay activists, radicl media and self appointed"rights activists" NEVER want to happen. Sure. By pass the electorate and go through the already radicalized legislature or, worse, the courts where there is NO democracy. The average normal new York state residentand American at large for that matter know that dissolvingtraditional marrage is a positve acid on society and the way MANY once great nationsand civiklizations declined into total slavery.

The turnout at the rally dispite the nasty weather conditions was very significant. Attending alsowas the American TFP, Eagel Forum people and reporters from the American Free Press fromWashington (see, there IS a good press)  There was also a strong Catholic Element. 

JeffreyJSmith.NewYork@usa.com

Wayne
Wayne

.....how PRECIOUS.....a divorced politician "protecting" the institution of marriage ! 

Guest
Guest

 A proud day for heterosexuals?

Or a day whose photos will appear in history books as a shameful reminder?

scottrose
scottrose

 The few deluded and ridiculous "Jews" who showed up for Diaz's hate rally are the exceptions that prove the rule about modern-day Jewish thought on gay rights.  I have upstairs neighbors who are observant Orthodox, accept me completely and favor my equality.     Reform and Conservative congregations are long past having accepted out gay people completely.  I know a black gay man from South Africa, a convert to Judaism.  He told me that when he went back to his home country and attended services in Johannesburg, the congregation there fully accepted him not only as a black Jew but also as a gay man.  When a Jewish congregation in South Africa is fully accepting of a black gay Jew and supportive of his full legal equality, you know that these morons appearing with Diaz in no way represent contemporary Jewish thought on LGBT rights. 

scottrose
scottrose

The "Reverend/Senator" Diaz essentially is violating the separation of church and state described in the no establishment of religion clause of the United States Constitution. Apart from that very serious matter is the fact that Diaz does not represent the New York State Senate with due respect for the dignity of the office.  Firstly he is supposed to be representing all of the people in his district, not just those who center their lives around Jesus.  Diaz is equally responsible for representing Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists et cetera in his district.  To people who do not follow Jesus it is extremely alienating and off-putting to see a State Senator attempting to influence politics with a religious philosophy.  The most distinguished of Christian thinkers do not believe that a State Senator should be behaving that way.  Diaz is in fact imposing a Christofascist tyranny on those of his constituents who believe in the United States Constitution and the freedom from religious persecutions that it explicitly guarantees.  Additionally, Diaz does discredit to the New York State Senate by appearing in public at a manifestly political hate rally, dressed in a clergy’s collar and a cheap-o ghetto pimp’s hat in one outfit.  He also bellows at the crowd in an execrable Spanish.  That is not how highly-educated people from Puerto Rico speak Spanish.  People who do not speak Spanish can get an idea of how Diaz sounded in front of this crowd by recalling how a World Wrestling Foundation jerk sounds when screaming bloody nonsense in garbled English to the blood-thirsty wrestling fans.  Instead of inspiring his constituents to enlightenment, Diaz eggs them on in their ignorance.  That ignorance is manifestly not restricted to matters of acceptance of gay human beings.  That ignorance, rather, includes ignorance of their own native language.  It is shameful for a State Senator to sound analphabetic and ghetto-y when speaking his own language.  That Diaz speaks that way in violation of proper Spanish while wearing a priest’s collar and a pimp’s hat only adds to the impression that he is making a mockery of his office.  Why was it more important for him to spend so much energy on an anti-gay hate rally than to organize people in the Bronx to provide more assistance to the homebound elderly?  Diaz is a clown in a priest’s collar and a cheesy pimp’s hat.  A dangerous clown, but a clown nonetheless.

ChristianDJ
ChristianDJ

Sen. Diaz is speaking against God's creations, his own family members, and other Americans. "Hate the sin! Love the sinner!" is a message of hate.

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