New York, NY —
Religious leaders in Queens have pledged their support for Hiram Monserrate in the special election to fill the expelled State Senator's seat on March 16.
They say they appreciate Monserrate's vote against gay marriage last year. One local leader, Rev. Gilbert Pickett says he applauds Monserrate for his vote against New York's gay marriage bill in December.
"I respect Hiram Monserrate as not taking a stand just as being a politician who's looking for some type of support to get back in office, but as a man of God," Pickett says.
Monserrate received the endorsement of several gay rights groups in 2008, because he told them he supported gay marriage. In 2008 the Empire State Pride Agenda say they sent a questionnaire to politicians asking whether they would support a gay marriage bill. According to the gay rights organization, Monserrate answered yes and received their endorsement. Another organization, Marriage Equality New York, says Monserrate’s chief of staff told him that Monserrate would support gay marriage.
Those groups are now working against his re-election. ESPA has been active in the special election, endorsing the Democratic candidate, Assemblyman Jose Peralta, and campaigning against Monserrate in the district. Republican Robert Beltrani is also running.
Monserrate challenges gay rights activists who are working to defeat him, saying they are spending their money on the wrong fight.
"Where were you when our community was fighting for more resources to get the crack dealers off Roosevelt Avenue? Where were you?" Monserrate says.