That’s the message organizers of Sunday’s 18th Annual Queens Pride Parade are sending. “We know how to organize. We know how to raise money. We know how to support the people that support us,” says Bruce Friedman, president of the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens. “We can sway an election.” Which is why local politicos hoping to sway the gay vote really have no choice but to show up at pride.
Four Democrats and one Republican in Queens who voted against same-sex marriage drew the ire of gay advocates – Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica), George Onorato (D-Long Island City), Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst), Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose).
They are now backing businessman Lynn Nunes in a run against Huntley, Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) to replace soon-to-retire Onorato, and former City Councilman Tony Avella for Padavan’s seat. Monserrate was voted out in a March special election. The group is not fronting a candidate to run against Addabbo.
“We’re not going to tolerate having Democratic elected officials who don’t support marriage equality,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), a parade founder. “It’s a basic civil right and they need to recognize it.”
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who, with Dromm, is openly gay and is a co-grand marshal of the parade, agreed.