Diaz Sr. Takes Credit For Shifting Opinions On Gay Marriage

Ruben Diaz

May 27, 2009

By Elizabeth Benjamin "The Daily Politics" on May 27, 2009

A triumphant Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. this morning claimed responsibility for a new poll that shows an increasing number of New Yorkers are opposed to the legalization of gay marriage and predicted the governor's program bill won't come to the Senate floor before the session ends next month.

"I would take credit for the demonstration that we had in front of the governor's office on May 17," the Bronx lawmaker told Fred Dicker this morning on Talk 1300 AM. "Before that demonstration, it was 53 percent in favor of gay marriage."

"...Last month it was more," Diaz Sr. continued. "What I'm telling you is the demonstration, the education that we have been giving to the community is already achieving some positive note and the percentage is coming down."

Diaz Sr. at first refused to predict whether gay marriage bill, which passed the Assembly for the second time since 2007 earlier this month, will come to the Senate floor for a vote.

He did reiterate, however, that he will be voting "no" - ("It's nothing personal," he said, "it's about the Constitution; what the law says." - and insisted that there are at least six other Democrats who would join him.

Later on in the interview, Diaz Sr. said flat-out: "I don't think that gay marriage is coming to the floor." He also praised Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, who has expressed his personal support for gay marriage and pledged to work to land the 32 votes necessary for its passage in his house," calling him "a good leader."

And who should marriage advocates blame if the bill they have been working so hard to see pass doesn't move in Albany this year?

"If gay marriage is not an issue, if it's not happening in New York, the only one you can blame is Mayor Bloomberg," Diaz Sr. said, recalling that it was the Bloomberg administration who challenged a state Supreme Court ruling in 2005 that found the law preventing same-sex couples from marrying was unconstitutional.

"Now because he's running again, he wants to support gay marriage," the senator said of the mayor. "But he was the one who brought the issue to the floor."

Diaz Sr. also didn't have many kind words for Gov. David Paterson, of whom he has been highly critical, calling the governor "kinda desperate" to get his poll numbers up, and adding: "If the governor continues the way he's going, he's going to take us down."

The senator refused to say who he will be supporting for governor in 2010, allowing only that he would like the candidate to be "someone who would keep us in the majority."

"I will make my choice and my opinion known as to which candidate I'm supporting before it's too late," he said.