Is Hiram Monserrate Just Running Against Gay People Now?

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Photo: Ellis Kaplan-Pool/Getty Images

Hiram Monserrate, the ousted state senator who is running in a March 16 special election to regain his seat, has some powerful gay foes. Groups like the Empire State Pride Agenda and the new group, Fight Back New York, are irate with Monserrate for originally indicating he would support gay rights to garner their backing, and then voting against the gay-marriage bill that faced the State Senate in December. FBNY has already vowed to spend $100,000 on getting their candidate, Jose Peralta, into Monserrate's former seat. They're not the only ones — after Monserrate slashed his girlfriend in the face with a broken glass and was later convicted of misdemeanor assault, the Queens Democratic machine turned against him, and he was ousted from the Senate.

Monserrate clearly feels that fighting back — at least against the gay groups — is a winning strategy. Today he fired an opening salvo when he appeared at a public reelection event flanked by ministers, and spent much of the time discussing gay marriage. From the Queens Chronicle:


Monserrate gathered with clergymen outside the Jackson Heights office of his challenger, Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights). The clergymen flanked him like a choir lined up to sing his praises, but when it came time to speak, most spoke out against Fight Back New York, a group they labeled “rich gay outsiders.”

“I have seen a generation of children sunk down by the gay community,” said the Reverend Ricardo Reyes of El Elyon Christian Center in Corona. Reyes claimed to have become familiar with gay people after working as an actor. “It’s a problem of the spirit,” he said, regarding homosexuality.

Fighting a political group out to get you is one thing. Standing quietly by when someone at one of your own rallies says that a minority group has "a problem of the spirit" and is targeting children (!) is quite another. Fellow Democrat and City Councilman Daniel Dromm was bewildered by the tactic. Acknowledging that FBNY's backers, at least, are not all exclusively from Queens, he pointed out that their values are aligned with that of many in the borough. “Jackson Heights holds the second-largest gay-pride parade outside the borough of Manhattan," said Dromm, who is gay himself. "We are a multicultural and multiethnic community and we do not support hate."

Monserrate, clergy against gay marriage [Queens Chronicle]