Tuesday, April 21, 2009

PFLAG Calls Out Guiliani in 'The Politico'

Rudy Guiliani - the former mayor of New York and a long-time ally of the LGBT community - is singing a new, less friendly tune. Speaking yesterday to The New York Post, Guiliani hinted that, if he runs for governor of the Empire State, he'll make marriage equality a centerpiece of his campaign. But not in the way our families will appreciate.

Guiliani (pictured), who once endorsed repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and said he'd be proud to marry his gay friends when their union would be legally recognized, panned New York Governor David Patterson for his support of same-sex couples.

In yesterday's edition of The Politico, a must-read paper and website for Capitol Hill staffers in Washington, LGBT groups quickly responded to the former mayor's comments. And PFLAG was among those calling out Guiliani for his new position on equality.

"Same-sex marriage is shaping up as a hot-button 2010 issue both in New York and nationally, and Giuliani's comments generated a quick backlash from gay rights groups, which had considered Giuliani an ally during his days in Gracie Mansion," Politico's Ken Vogel wrote.

"Steve Ralls, spokesman for Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays, asserted Giuliani was 'staking out positions simply for political gain' and called his stance 'an almost unprecedented flip-flop for a politician who was once viewed as one of the most moderate, and most gay-friendly, voices in the Republican Party.'"

In his interview, Giuliani predicted that the push for gay marriage will spark "a grass-roots" backlash. "This is the kind of issue that, in many ways, is somewhat beyond politics."

Following the quick response from PFLAG and others, Guiliani modified his comments somewhat, suggesting he had not meant he would use marriage as a wedge issue in the race for the governor's office.

The marriage issue "will be something that Republicans don't have to use — this is something that will bring a lot of people to the Republican Party because it's such a basic challenge to what people believe is the way society should be organized," he later said.

But on the same day that Guiliani offered his revised opinions, a new poll of New York voters suggested he was more out of step with the electorate than ever before.

"A poll released Monday by Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., found that 53 percent of respondents wanted the state Senate to pass legislation introduced by Paterson legalizing same-sex marriages, compared with 39 percent who opposed it," Politico reported.

To read the full coverage, click here.

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