New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres made history today when he announced his bid for a seat in New York’s House of Representatives.
The 31-year-old Democrat from the Bronx is the first openly gay man to hold elected office in the New York City borough earlier this year. If elected to the House of Representatives, he would become the first openly gay member of Congress who is either Black or Latinx.
Now, here’s the thing. Torres opponent is a 76-year-old homophobic Pentecostal minister.
New York City Councilman Rubén Díaz Sr. is also running for the seat. Díaz is a long-time opponent of marriage equality who once attended a protest of an AIDS march dressed in drag as part of a “March for Morality” saying that supporting a cure for AIDS teaches children that “homosexuality is ok, that it is not immoral or sinful behavior.”
Earlier this year, Díaz told Spanish-language radio station that New York City is being “controlled by the homosexual community.”
But Díaz, who’s granddaughter is a lesbian, insists he’s not a homophobe.
“My family is full of gays,” he told the New York Times. “I don’t believe in gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean I hate people.”
Torres begs to differ.
“To have an elected official attack the quality and dignity of LGBT people sends a message to young people who are thinking of taking their own life as they struggle with their identity,” he told the Times.
Watch Torres’ campaign kickoff video below.