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Friday, February 12, 2016

Diaz announces support for gay marriage

By Adam Wisnieski

It’s not unusual or all that surprising when the leader of the most Democratic county in the state announces his support for gay marriage.

But when that person is the son of one of the loudest voices opposing same-sex marriage in New York, and when he’s one of the top Latino elected officials in the city and state, it carries a little more weight. 

Last week, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. — who himself voted against a same-sex marriage bill as a member of the state Assembly in 2007 — announced his support for marriage equality. His father, state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., has gained name recognition statewide for his adamant stance against gay marriage. When a marriage equality bill passed the Senate last year, the elder Diaz was the only Democrat to vote no.

Standing near Broadway in Kingsbridge after announcing his endorsement for City Council candidate Andrew Cohen, Mr. Diaz talked with The Press about his decision to announce. He downplayed the whole “Diaz versus Diaz” political theater and said he is not against his father.

“We’ve talked about this for many, many years, but it wasn’t about my dad. I didn’t get permission from him,” he said. “This is about me thinking about it, knowing, experiencing, feeling the love from same sex couples in my family, same sex couples who are close to me, who are friends who are confidants.”

Mr. Diaz said his decision was based on two people who are close to him, his niece Erica Diaz and his chief-of-staff Paul Del Duca. Ms. Diaz has rallied in favor of same-sex marriage against her grandfather, Ruben Diaz Sr. After marriage equality was legalized last year, the younger Diaz stood witness at Mr. Del Duca’s marriage to his longtime partner Damion Townsend.

“So just like other elected officials and other people are evolving and thinking and revaluating and assessing this issue because of family members, that’s what happened to me,” Mr. Diaz said.

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