Anti-Gay Protest Fizzles, Obama Pride Sizzles in NYC

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday September 9, 2008

An Obama Pride gathering sizzled in New York City last weekend, while a few blocks away a Hispanic anti-gay demonstration fizzled.

Sunday, Sept. 7 saw two very different gatherings taking place in Manhattan, with one--a GLBT Obama rally--attended by a supportive throng, while the other--an anti-gay protest led by Hispanic clergy--drew only a relatively paltry crowd.

The anti-gay clergy and their supporters met at 25 Federal Plaza, even as the Obama Pride crowd assembled mere blocks away.

As noted by gay Web blog Blabbeando, the NYC Obama Pride gathering took place at City Hall, while an estimate 250-300 people showed up for the anti-gay event, which Blabbeando reported featured homophobic speeches, including an address from "the very non-Latino... Joseph Mattera of the Christ Covenant Coalition," whom Blabbeando said had "been at work in 'diversifying' religious opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion-rights for more than a few years perhaps in order to make discrimination a tad bit more palatable to the general masses."

A contingent from the local chapter of the Concerned Women of America, the blogger at Blabbendo wrote, did not seem "very worried about the effect of the economic downturn on Latino communities or about dwindling educational opportunities for Latino children or about immigration reform that is fair."

Also present was anti-gay New York state Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz, Sr., whom Blabeando noted was "such a true believer in the marriage institution that he has married twice," and NY Sen. Marty Goldman, a Republican that Blabbeando speculated was in attendance to court "the all important fringe homophobic Latino vote."

Nearly a dozen photos were posted along with the article, some of them showing signs carried by demonstrators. One woman sported a placard decorated with photos of women kissing a dolphin and a man kissing a horse; written across the placard were the words, "Where does it end?"

The placard's message continued, "Preserve sanctity of marriage."

Added the placard's text, "One man - one woman. God's plan."

In another photo, what appeared to be a Hispanic choir was shown singing with a large placard in front of the group reading, "FIRST: Slavery. THEN: Lynchings. NOW: Hijacking of CIVIL Rights Movement."

The large placard continued, "ENOUGH!"

A separate Blabbeando article reported that at the Obama Pride gathering, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly lesbian and whom observers speculate may be gearing up for a run at the mayor's office next year, addressed the crowd, with state Senator Thomas K. Duane, who is openly gay, also in attendance, as were a number of New York GLBT leaders.

The co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Policy Committee for the Obama camp, Tobias Wolff, was also on hand and gave a speech, Blabbeando reported.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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