by Andy Humm, Queers for an Open LGBT Center
We're protesting the LGBT "Community" Center's lack of transparency and openness at its Garden Party on Monday from 5:30-7:30 PM with an informational picket at 14th St. and the Hudson River. But now we have another reason to protest as the Center is welcoming Mayor Bloomberg to his first Garden Party and hailing his "incredible support" for LGBT rights. The fact is, Bloomberg's record on LGBT rights and civil liberties in general has been a disgrace.
Yes, Bloomberg is putting himself out there as a champion of same-sex marriage, but if it passes--as it may--it will be in spite of Bloomberg not because of him. Bloomberg has given MILLIONS in donations to prop up the anti-gay Republican Senate majority. This majority is blocking every piece of progressive legislation we care about from transgender rights to stronger tenant protections to universal health care for New York.
As mayor, Bloomberg has blocked virtually every significant piece of LGBT rights legislation. He vetoed the bill to require contractors to provide domestic partner benefits and successfully went to court to block its implementation when he was overridden by the Council. When the council overrode his veto of the school anti-bullying bill, he called it a "silly" law and refused to implement it. When he was ordered in 2005 by Justice Doris Ling Cohan to start issuing licenses to same-sex couples, he appealed her order, cited Leviticus in his briefs, and overturned her historic ruling at the Court of Appeals.
Don't even get us started about the way his police department has targeted gay men with false arrests and unconscionably stopped and frisked hundreds of thousands of African American and Latino youth. He used the police force to illegally detain thousands of peaceful demonstrators protesting the 2004 Republican National Convention to which he wrote a personal check for $7 million. The City had to pay tens of millions in settlements for these false arrests.
Bloomberg doesn't offer us "incredible support." It is incredible that our LGBT "Community" Center is giving him a platform and welcome. It is also absolutely shameful. Please join us in giving Bloomberg and the Center's leaders a different kind of welcome.