Debate over a gay bill in New York is
deteriorating into a verbal slug fest.
The state's most vocal opponent of gay
marriage, Senator Ruben Diaz of the Bronx, has called out Senator
Thomas Duane, the Senate sponsor of the gay marriage bill and its
most enthusiastic supporter.
In a statement released Wednesday, Diaz
told Duane to “shut up” if he could not produce the names of the
32 senators prepared to vote in favor of gay marriage.
“I'm telling you, we have the votes.
It's coming to the floor. It's passing,” Duane, a Democrat from
Manhattan, said Monday.
“If Senator Tom Duane has the
necessary Senate votes to pass the homosexual marriage bill in New
York State, then he should release the names of those senators who
are supporting the bill,” Diaz, a Democrat, said. “If not, he
should shut up.”
“If any member of the State Senate is
so ashamed to have their names released or to release their own names
for this or for any pending legislation, then they clearly feel
ashamed of their position.”
"If any Senators are unwilling to
release their names prior to voting for the homosexual marriage bill,
they are sending a clear message to the gay community and to the
whole State of New York that these Senators are unwilling to let the
public know and that they are ashamed to be publicly associated with
the gay community."
"Any Senator who commits himself
or herself to something, should be man or woman enough to take a
stand and stand by his or her convictions. If they give their word to
support something that they are ashamed of, then that is a hypocrisy,
and could be interpreted as not wanting to be associated with the
"It is a disgrace that Senator
Duane is playing this mind game with his colleagues and with the
public. If Senator Duane has the votes, he should release the names.
If not, then he should be ashamed of himself,” Diaz, a Pentecostal
minister who heads the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, added.
The official count of senators
supporting the gay marriage bill is 20 Democrats, according to a
survey released Tuesday by New York City's 24-hour news channel NY1.
Fifteen senators said they were undecided or refused to answer.
Democrats control the Senate with 32
members, but 5 Democrats, including Diaz, are opposed to granting gay
and lesbian couples the right to marry in the Empire State.
Leaving opponents questioning why Duane
– an openly gay politician – insists he has the 32 votes needed
for passage as the session draws to a close.
According to the New York Post,
a spokesman for Duane said his response to Diaz's tirade was: “LOL.”