New York City Council rival says Gjonaj is flip-flopping on LGBT rights
Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj campaigned at last month’s New York City Pride March, but a political rival claims the lawmaker hasn’t taken a real stand on LGBTQ rights.
John Doyle, who is running against Gjonaj for a New York City Council seat, pointed out that state Sen. Rubén Díaz, an outspoken same-sex marriage opponent, endorsed Gjonaj in 2012. Diaz wrote at the time that backing Gjonaj would be a “vote for traditional marriage and family values and for respect for life.”
“Now five years later he's trying to change his stripes but facts are stubborn things that do not go away,” Doyle said in an email, noting that Gjonaj has endorsed Díaz for a different City Council seat this year. “If Mark wants to stand up as an ally with the LGBT community, he should demonstrate it with his actions and not using these type of events as photo-ops.”
“While Mark Gjonaj disagrees with the views of Senator Díaz when it comes to LGBTQ issues, he understands that it is (his) right to uphold his personal religious beliefs,” said Jennifer Blatus, a Gjonaj campagn spokesperson. “Mark Gjonaj supports the annual Gay Pride Parade because he believes that the only way to truly accept one another is to embrace each other's diversity and lead by example.”
Gjonaj came under fire in 2014 when he posted on his website that he’d be voting for all 10 points of the Women’s Equality Act, but then voted against it. After receiving backlash, he said he voted no because the language of the bill could allow for late-term abortions.
“I support the right to choice,” Gjonaj told the Daily News at the time. “Anything that’s vague, that would allow for an interpretation into late-term abortion, I am strictly opposed.”