Turncoats, Self-Proclaimed Converts & Shocking Bitterness

Scurrilous, disgraceful, despicable, and bigoted are how I would describe former Democratic fundraisers Bill White and Bryan Eure. The New York Times reported that these turncoats have proudly trumpeted their support of Donald Trump, in an episode reminiscent of the former Out Hotel owners Mati Weiderpass and Ian Reisner hosting Ted Cruz in 2015. The victims of this latest pair of traitors include the LGBTQ community, women, immigrants, the poor, the planet, and so much more. We must stand up to their hatred and bigotry. Obviously, dinners at Mar-a-Lago are more important to them than the well-being, survival, and lives of others. The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club will be planning demonstrations at their Chelsea home and I invite other outraged organizations to partner with us.

I recently attended the Somos Conference in Puerto Rico. Somos is put together by the New York State Assembly & Senate Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force. It was one of the most productive and well-put together conferences I have attended — and I had some very interesting conversations that made my trip most worthwhile.

While talking with former Brooklyn City Councilmember Lew Fidler, I was introduced to Councilmember Fernando Cabrera of the Bronx. I told Cabrera that he owed me for making me and my brother take a trip to the Bronx to disrupt one of his services (we went on the wrong night) and for making us come to City Hall to attend a press conference demanding his resignation after his support for the murderously anti-gay crowd in Uganda — broadcast on YouTube from Uganda.

Cabrera countered that he has been misrepresented and that he is not anti-gay. I told him that his now supposed support of our community is something he must prove as I have no reason to believe him. The following day, I asked him if he would hold a service in his church calling for LGBTQ civil rights and the right to marry and telling his congregants that we are their brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and neighbors. He agreed to do so and to film such a sermon. I hope when he does so, the camera can show us that there are actual congregants present.

Also at Somos, I ran into Queens Councilmember Rory Lancman, who, in spite of a progressive record in the Council on criminal justice, has been one of the few elected officials to refuse to endorse clemency for Judith Clark, who has been in prison since 1983. I told him that stance was unacceptable and disgraceful for a candidate for Queens district attorney, and he said he would reconsider. Three days later he let me know that he changed his mind and now does support clemency for Clark.

Attending the Somos Saturday evening dinner, I had the distinct pleasure of being the only one to kneel during the National Anthem.

Alison Schumer, daughter of US Senator Chuck Schumer, married Elizabeth Weiland earlier this month, and I congratulate them both. It should be noted that Schumer was very late to the party on marriage equality. At a meeting at the LGBT Community Center prior to his conversion, he said that his gut told him it was wrong, at which point I stood up and said, “What does that mean? Are you saying the thought of us marrying makes you ill?” I was congratulated for my remarks by many in the room and criticized by others for being rude. To those who criticized, I ask what the hell are you doing in the movement? Ass-kissing is not what we should be all about.

Speaking to the Empire State Pride Agenda after coming around on marriage, Schumer thanked the crowd for making it possible for him to endorse marriage by their making the issue more acceptable to the public. I was shocked that he admitted he needed it to be politically easy for him to do so. For these outrageous remarks he got a standing ovation. Shame on us.

Queens State Senator José Peralta died suddenly two weeks ago. A steadfast proponent of LGBTQ rights, he nonetheless had joined the Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), which caucused with the Republicans instead of the Democrats. Many important pieces of progressive legislation, including critical measures directly affecting our community, failed as a result.

Before Peralta was even buried, State Senator Diane Savino of Staten Island, another erstwhile IDC member, blasted those elected officials who did not support Peralta’s re-election bid but had issued statements of sincere condolence and praise for his commitment to the community.

“I am shocked beyond words. I am also angry beyond words,”twitter.com/dianesavino/status/1065609354697674753?utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=misclinks&utm_source=article_body&utm_content=intra“> tweeted Savino.

People were shocked that Savino, who betrayed her own Democratic Party, would take it upon herself to issue such a vicious statement while Peralta’s family was still in mourning. If there is anyone who deserves the wrath, it is Savino and her assumed significant other, defeated State Senator Jeff Klein, for putting together the IDC and recruiting Peralta in the first place. Savino, one of only two IDC defectors who survived this year’s primary, will certainly be lonely in the State Senate come January.