New York City mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner likes to project a tough image, but the candidate goes soft when confronted with anti-gay views on the campaign trail, even telling one voter recently, “It’s okay. It’s not your fault,” after the woman called openly gay candidate Christine Quinn “the dyke.”
Recent reports in the Washington Post and Gay City News prompted Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund president and CEO Chuck Wolfe to question whether Weiner will ever confront anti-LGBT comments on the campaign trail.
“No, Anthony, it’s not okay,” Wolfe said. “If he can’t stand up to these repugnant views as a candidate, he certainly won’t do it as mayor. LGBT New Yorkers should demand that Weiner categorically reject these views no matter what audience he’s in front of, especially when people use slurs to refer to the only openly gay candidate in the race.”
From yesterday’s Post:
(N)o one in the race has the political capacity to relate to people like Weiner, who makes it a point to relate to everyone.
“You a registered Democrat?” he asked an elderly woman wheeling a shopping cart by him.
“I am,” she said. “And I’m not voting for uh, what’s her name? The dyke.”
“Okay. I just need you to sign the petition to get me on the ballot,” said Weiner, who then noticed the incredulous reaction of a reporter and added, “and you really shouldn’t talk that way about people.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” the woman said.
“It’s okay,” Weiner responded. “It’s not your fault.”
Weiner also refused to stand up to a fellow mayoral candidate who went on an anti-gay tirade at a recent mayoral forum. The candidate is backed by the National Organization for Marriage, according to Gay City News:
Speaking at a forum sponsored by Orthodox Jewish groups, two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination for mayor made no comment after a minor contender in the race said the gay community was trying to ban circumcision.
“We have groups marching from San Francisco and California and they are even marching here every year in the New York gay pride parade, marching over here, trying to ban altogether bris milah,” said Erick Salgado, an Evangelical Christian from Staten Island, at the June 4 forum, which was sponsored by the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition and the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush. “This is unacceptable.”
Salgado has been endorsed by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), an anti-same-sex marriage group. He was an organizer of a 2011 march and rally in the Bronx that opposed gay marriage. Salgado has also attacked the inclusion of monuments acknowledging non-Jewish victims of the Nazis, including gay victims, in Brooklyn’s Holocaust Memorial Park.
Bill Thompson, the former city comptroller, and Anthony Weiner, the former congressman, spoke immediately after Salgado and neither made any comment about Salgado’s views.
The Victory Fund has endorsed New York City Speaker Christine Quinn, who could become the city’s first woman and first openly gay person to serve as mayor.
UPDATE: Two openly gay New York state lawmakers and the state’s largest LGBT organization have blasted Weiner for lacking the “moral courage” to stand up against anti-gay attacks.
“We are appalled by the account in the Washington Post of Anthony Weiner’s unacceptable response to a prospective voter’s homophobic, misogynistic slur in reference to Christine Quinn. Weiner’s response to this blatant display of homophobia is completely inappropriate and extremely alarming. There is nothing ‘okay’ about homophobia and it’s never ‘okay’ to condone bias-based slurs or hate speech of any kind,” wrote Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and state Senator Brad Hoylman, according to the New York Observer’s Politicker blog.
“No leader should ever send a message that homophobia is ‘okay,’” added Empire State Pride Agenda. ”It’s unfortunate that we need to issue a public statement on this at all, but this is becoming a disturbing pattern.”
UPDATE #2: Weiner responded to media inquiries today by releasing a statement apologizing if he left the impression that he believed it was “okay” to use a slur to refer to Christine Quinn. “If the impression is that I did, I apologize,” Weiner said, according to CapitalNewYork.com.