Never has gay pride meant so much to New York’s Queens than it will this Sunday. Sure, celebrating our culture is important every year! But this year’s 17th annual Queens Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Pride Parade in Jackson Heights takes on a special meaning: It’s hoping to send a message to a certain anti-gay state senator.
As Sen. Thomas Duane fights to lock up 32 votes to pass a gay marriage bill, Queens Sen. George Onorato remains among the staunch anti-gay legislators who refuse to sign on board. Like Bronx Sen. Ruben Diaz, Onorato remains in the “no” column.
(Interestingly, Bronx Sen. Pedro Espada — who originally teamed with Diaz and fellow anti-gay Sen. Carl Kruge from Brooklyn to form the “Gang of Three” that almost kept Malcolm Smith from the majority leader seat — is in the “yes” column.)
So how much impact can some 40,000 Queens marchers have on one state senator? Empire State Pride Agenda director Alan Van Capelle says a parade won’t impact a vote, “but I think a parade is the time to display the deep and broad support that the gay community enjoys.
Meanwhile, confronted with the issue, Onorato said yesterday, “Although I remain opposed to same-sex marriage, I deeply respect the views of the advocates and will not take any action to prevent the bill from coming up for a vote in the Senate.”