Rubén Díaz Sr. Chats with The Village Voice

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C.S. Muncy
In this week's Voice feature story, we took a look at Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz, Sr., the only Democrat in the State Senate still against same-sex marriage, and the main face of its opposition in Albany right now.

Given our history with each other, we were quite surprised when Díaz Senior agreed to speak to us on the phone for this story. But he did, and we asked as many questions as we could (before he hung up on us.)

Here's the transcript of our full conversation after the jump.

Senator, you say you do not wish harm on gay people, but you were quiet when a minister called for gay people to be killed, which your granddaughter wrote about in the New York Post. Do you regret your silence?

Who called for gay people to be killed? No one called for gay people to be killed.

Your granddaughter wrote about this in the Post.

My daughter? Granddaughter? I don't know anything about this.

You didn't read what she wrote?

No. I never read this. I don't know what you're talking about.

Well, she wrote about how another minister said this on the radio, and you didn't say anything to correct him.

Who said this?

She and others wrote about the call to harm in Spanish at that rally, on the radio, in other places --

Listen, my speech that day was translated into English. That day, in front of all of the people, whoever wants to listen to that speech, that speech is recorded. I addressed both groups, the protesters in the park and my people. And I told that group in the park that I love them. And I told anyone to check my record, my voting record. I told them that you cannot hate anyone. If you hate anybody, you would not go to heaven. I said, so if any one of who hates anyone, you will go to hell! That is what my religion teaches, so I said that publicly. So what more do people want?

Your own granddaughter wrote --

I don't know what my granddaughter wrote!

All right, let me ask you about this. You believe marriage is between one man and one woman, yes?

Yes [Laughs.]. So? Why are you asking me this? You know that, you know what I believe. Why are you calling me? Marriage is between a man and a woman.

But you yourself have been married twice, and are divorced.

Yes. So?

So do you believe it is alright to be divorced?

No. Divorce is wrong. Gay marriage is wrong.

You think you are wrong, then?

When I got divorced, I was wrong, yes. Why are you asking me this?

But you believe that gay marriage is wrong and divorce is wrong, but that you should be allowed to get divorced and remarried, and gay people shouldn't be able to marry at all.

When I got divorced, it was wrong, but marriage is between a man and a woman.

So is being divorced OK with your religion?

No, it is not OK. Gay marriage is still wrong. This is what I believe.

So why, after you got divorced and you were the CEO of Soundview, did you have both your wife and your ex-wife on the payroll?

[Sighs, exasperated.] Steve, that was investigated by the FBI, and everything was cleared. Nothing was wrong. I don't know what you're looking for.

I want to know if divorce is so wrong to you, why did you have both your current wife and ex-wife on the payroll in the same place? And this was funded by public money. Were these two women the most qualified women for the jobs they held?

This has already been investigated. You want to find dirt on me? Talk to my enemies. All of them. You want the truth? Ask the FBI!

I want to know why, if marriage is so important to you, why you would have the reminder of your divorce working alongside your new wife, in front of your employees.

I don't know why I gave you the courtesy of giving you an interview. I see where you are coming from. You have nothing intelligent to say. You just want to find dirt. Go ahead. Find all the dirt you want. I am used to it, especially from you. Call the FBI, call all of my enemies, call all of my foes! Thank you very much, my friend. Goodbye.

Click.

sthrasher@villagevoice.com | @steven_thrasher

Previously: "Diaz Family Values"


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22 comments
Pete
Pete

No, Thrasher WAS digging up dirt, which is always a fail in a debate. He was doing fine when he mentioned the divorce and the failure in Diaz's logic; why should people be allowed to divorce, which goes against the "word of God," but not be allowed to marry whoever they want? This was sound reasoning, and exposed not only Diaz's hypocrisy, but also the hypocrisy of many like him. Once Thrasher mentioned the details of his wife and ex-wife on the payroll in his organization, he abandoned logic and got personal. A disappointing end to a good conversation. Shoot the fair one next time, Steve!

Jeremy Adams
Jeremy Adams

He needs to go. Give him a primary challenge. I'd rather have a republican actually...ya know they say a New York Republican is basically a gay democrat. 

Seedee Vee
Seedee Vee

Steven Thrasher,

It would have been nice if you could have shown or read to Diaz what his granddaughter wrote - instead of referencing to it over and over and over and over and over.  That was five times you mentioned what "she wrote" and he saying he does not know what she wrote. It was almost like you were trying to piss him off or you were trying to come off like an imbecile.

HjoH
HjoH

awesome. so corrupt

Marco Luxe
Marco Luxe

So close, but a missed opportunity.  " You said divorce is wrong.   Why?  If a bill came before you to restrict divorce as it was in 50 years ago, would you vote for it ?"  "Would you have voted for it if the bill came before you when you were married to your first wife?"  If civil divorce was illegal what would your and your first wife's life be like?  What did Jesus say about divorce?  If you were counselled directly by Jesus, what would he tell you to do if you asked his permission to get divorced from your first wife?   Did Jesus say gay marriage was wrong?  Did Jesus perform a miracle to save the life of the centurion's pais/companion?   Jesus could have performed a miracle for anyone, what does it say that he helped the centurion continue in his relationship with his pais/companion? 

Alan K. Chan
Alan K. Chan

At the same time, it makes me sad that the bully is the one that needs the most love. It makes me think of the Anyway poem by Dr. Kent Keith that mother Teresa hung in her Calcutta home for children.

Phillip B.
Phillip B.

I agree with Diaz. If the point of the interview was to find out more about State Senator Diaz opposition to Gay marriage, it failed miserably.

The interviewer asked Diaz questions about an FBI investigation where Diaz wasn't found to be conducting anything illegal. Questions about his granddaughter article has nothing to do with the main question.

This was more of a fishing expedition to piss Diaz off. I admire Diaz for standing up opposed to gay marriage especially in Nyc. I am a native Ny'er now living in Houston, Tx. I was opposed to gay marriage while I still lived in Nyc. I am still opposed to it. Civil Unions only at best.

Scott Rose
Scott Rose

DIaz tries one's patience to extreme levels.  He is not just the jerk spouting lunacy on a subway platform.  He is an anti-gay bigot in the New York State Senate.  To deny that at his anti-gay hate rally, one of his fellow anti-gay bigots yelled through a megaphone that God says homosexuals are "worthy to death" shows that Diaz has no interest in making his community safer for LGBTers.  When that sequestration and torturing of gay people occurred in the Bronx last year, Diaz didn't say one thing about how to make the community safer for gay people.  Obviously, (the last of the idiots could see this) yelling to an anti-gay crowd that God says homosexuals are "worthy to death" plants ideas in violent anti-gay people's minds.   Diaz acts as though he were oblivious to these things but in fact, he understands perfectly well what goes on and wants them to continue going on.  If he wants to nitpick, that the preacher "only" said that God says that homosexuals are "worthy to death," and didn't directly call for anybody to kill gays, well . . . . come on, Senator Diaz . .. . be a responsible human being . ..  and stop playing these games.  You are a New York State Senator, for crying out loud.  Obviously if you have a "Reverend" yelling at a crowd that God says gays are "worthy to death"  you are substantially raising the risk of anti-gay violence in your community.   If Diaz were as smart as he with these denials and obfuscations thinks he is, he wouldn't carry on this way.  In popular parlance he is what we call an asshole.  He could have behaved to enhance the safety of LGBT human beings in his disctrict but instead acts in ways guaranteed to decrease those people's safety.  Asshole.

Oskar Austegard
Oskar Austegard

Neither one of you came off particularly intelligent or honorable in this one, I'm afraid.  He's basically saying do as I say, not as I do, and you're simply trying to put him in some verbal trap.

David_in_Houston
David_in_Houston

So the lesson we've learned is mentally defective (hypocritical) people can become politicians. Unfortunately, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann have already proved this point.

Scott Rose
Scott Rose

Where Diaz attempts to cover up his perpetuation of sexual orientation apartheid by saying that he "loves" gay people, he is only strengthening the existing impression that he is an abuser.  That right there is characteristic behavior for abusers.  Whatever the reason would be that he says he has not read Erica's article, too is a sign that he is an abuser.  He has the power to perpetuate discrimination against his granddaughter, but her thoughts on the matter aren't even important enough for him to acknowledge that those thoughts have been expressed.  This IS domestic violence against his granddaughter, being carried out in a public sphere.  Diaz is alert to everything said about him in the press and when it's convenient to use a sliver of it to his advantage in an anti-equality argument, he doesn't hesitate to do so.  It obviously is not possible that Erica's article in the post was not noticed and discussed in Diaz's office.  In a first instance he is abusing his political power to deny his granddaughter equality and in a second instance he is committing domestic violence against her by telling the public that her thoughts are of no importance to him.

Xxx
Xxx

finding dirt? More like just exposing his illogical reasoning. Its actually disgusting to think about the people that make their way into office

Brad Johnson
Brad Johnson

This has got to be the funniest thing I've read all day.

Nelson G
Nelson G

Dare I write, Ruben seem to be in a bit of a snit when you called him.

Alan K. Chan
Alan K. Chan

And protect the Few Good Republicans that voted for all Americans. USA!

Scott Rose
Scott Rose

Diaz was found to have fraudulently siphoned money from the company to buy furniture for his Senate office.  He only gave the money back after the fraud was discovered.  So the claim that the FBI exonerated him is not to the point.  The question of whether he read his granddaughter's article about marriage equality has everything to do with his stance on marriage equality.  If he won't even listen to his own lesbian granddaughter's reasoning on why gay people should be given equality, what that tells us is that his mind is snapped shut with nothing but cobwebs and ignorance inside of it.  He has taken an anti-gay rights position based on ignorance and will not even be enlightened by the words of his own lesbian granddaughter (whom he claims to love).  Phillip B. in Texas is as much of an anti-gay asshole as Senator Diaz..

Alan K. Chan
Alan K. Chan

I understand the author's desire to escalate the hate that's been sent his way from senator Diaz but at some point, you have to break the cycle of hate. Have you ever been discriminated against for anything in your life? Multiply that be 10 and you know what it feels like for gay people. What does gay marriage have to do with your life that you have to be opposed by it? A recent study found that the people most opposed to homosexuality are the people most turned on by it. It's funny how that works. All those anti-gay Republicans finally getting caught in the bathroom and forced out of the closet makes me laugh.

Mikesmith
Mikesmith

Huh? what's so terrible about trying to put a hypocritical hateful jerk in a verbal trap? why shouldn't this jerk and his words be held up to scrutiny? This is one of the few instances in the present day where journalists still ask politicians tough questions. Why dismissive grandiosely as a mere "verbal trap" ? For a jerk like Ruben Diaz, a verbal trap is exactly what is needed to show him that he can't bullshit his way through controversy.

Scott Rose
Scott Rose

The "author" (I would call him a reporter) is not involved in "escalating the hate."  This blog post was a follow-up to  a feature article the reporter had published, towards which Senator Diaz had not given complete responses and other necessary info.  The reporter's professional responisibility is to get information about the Senator to the voting public, not to be the Senator's therapist (though the Senator admittedly is in desperate need of one).

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