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Coalition of progressive groups slam Ruban Diaz Sr. for anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ record

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NEW YORK — As New York grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, a broad coalition of progressive groups — including Planned Parenthood Action Fund, LGBTQ Victory Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Latino Victory Fund, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC — announced their opposition to Ruben Diaz Sr. as a candidate to represent the 15th Congressional District in New York for his attacks on equal access to basic health care; the LGBTQ community; and the right to safe, legal abortion.

Due to historic inequities in health care access for the Latinx community in the district, the Bronx has been one of the hardest hit areas by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of this public health crisis, New York voters need to elect a leader who will fight for equality and their basic health care needs. And that leader is anybody but Diaz Sr. Every other leading Democratic candidate has demonstrated support for protecting and expanding abortion access and LGBTQ rights, and would be far more qualified to represent New Yorkers in Congress.

It's not just that Diaz Sr. is out of step with the values of New Yorkers, he doesn't have the best interests or well being of those in the district at heart. The Bronx, where the 15th District is located, has the highest abortion rate in the state. Latinx voters — who make up the majority of the district — overwhelmingly support the right to access abortion. Latinx millenials are more likely to identify as LGBTQ than any other group and the New York City metropolitan area has the largest LGBTQ population in the country with more than 750,000. As time has passed, Diaz Sr.'s policies have never been more disconnected from the priorities of New Yorkers.

It's clear voters across the country are ready for candidates who will expand abortion access and LGBTQ rights. In April, Marie Newman beat incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski after 15 years of representing the Chicago suburbs in a race where Lipinski's anti-abortion position was a key issue.

Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

"The last thing we need in Congress is a politician like Ruben Diaz Sr. who would use his platform to peddle misinformation and stigma about abortion and the LGBTQ community. His comments over the decades have shown that he has no respect for reproductive or LGBTQ rights, and he would use his new-found power to push a dangerous agenda. As a New Yorker, I know how out of step Diaz Sr. is with the values of our city. Our leaders in Congress must be determined to fight tirelessly for the rights of every American, not just those who share their ideology. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to electing candidates who will protect and expand abortion and LGBTQ rights — and today that means standing against Ruben Diaz Sr."

Statement from Mayor Annise Parker, president & CEO, LGBTQ Victory Fund:

"This is among the most important Democratic congressional primaries of 2020, with voters deciding between a homophobic and anti-choice Democrat or candidates who champion equality and reproductive rights. Throughout his disgraceful career, Ruben Diaz Sr. has used his positions of power to stigmatize and denigrate his own constituents because they are women or LGBTQ. It is imperative voters deny him an even larger platform to spread this hate and instead elect a leader who will push for a federal agenda with equality at its core. We cannot accept a Democratic member of Congress who agrees with Donald Trump on issues core to rights for LGBTQ people and women. LGBTQ Victory Fund is committed to joining our partners in defeating Ruben Diaz Sr. on Election Day."

Statement from Ilyse Hogue, president, NARAL Pro-Choice America:

"Our leaders should be doing everything they can to fight for their communities, protect reproductive freedom, and ensure that people can make personal decisions about pregnancy without interference from politicians. Women and families in NY-15 deserve a representative in Congress who will champion their values, not attack reproductive freedom, spew anti-LGBTQ hate, and amplify the voices of anti-choice extremists and the radical right. With so much at stake, New Yorkers simply can't afford Ruben Diaz Sr.'s extreme agenda. Now more than ever, we need champions in Congress willing to fight for reproductive freedom for all. Make no mistake — Ruben Diaz Sr. is not that person."

Statement from Nathalie Rayes, president & CEO, Latino Victory Fund:

"Ruben Diaz Sr. does not represent the Latino community's best interests — he threatens them. Right now, communities of color, women, and the LGBTQ community are under attack by Trump and Republicans in Congress — and Diaz Sr. unabashedly contributes to those attacks. We must elect progressive leaders who will fight for LGBTQ rights, for women's reproductive rights and health care access for the Latino community. Diaz Sr. has done nothing but feed into the sexist, homophobic, regressive politics that threaten our communities, and he must be stopped. Latino Victory will do everything in our power to ensure that Ruben Diaz Sr. does not set one foot in Congress."

Statement from Tony Cirdenas, chairman, CHC BOLD PAC:

"The stakes in this election for hardworking families in the Bronx are high.The livelihood and well-being of our communities were at stake long before the pandemic and we simply cannot afford to have a Trump sympathizer like Ruben Diaz Sr. elected to Congress. Let's be clear, Ruben Diaz Sr. is a Democrat in name only and his record proves it. Rather than fighting for New Yorkers, Diaz Sr. has used his time in office to divide us with bigoted comments toward the LGBTQ community and immigrants — just like President Trump. The people of New York's 15th Congressional District deserve a leader in Congress who will be a voice for working families and a fierce advocate for progressive values in Washington, that leader is not Ruben Diaz Sr."

The full list of coalition groups includes: Planned Parenthood Action Fund, LGBTQ Victory Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Latino Victory Fund, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, Human Rights Campaign, Equality PAC, and People for the American Way

Here are just a few of the comments and actions that show how unqualified Ruben Diaz Sr. is to represent New York:

Comparing abortion to the Holocaust: Diaz Sr. penned a newsletter piece comparing abortion to genocide, saying, "Hitler was pro-choice. He chose to send the Jews to Auschwitz. That was not their choice that was Hitler's choice...Murderers, assassins and criminals are pro-choice. They choose to put a gun to your head and take your life." Observer, 05/01/2012

Standing steadfast against marriage equality: Two years after being the lone Democratic state senator to vote against New York's Marriage Equality Act, Diaz Sr. addressed an anti-marriage equality rally in Washington, D.C., saying "The majority is not always right. 2,000 years ago the majority chose the rabbi and rejected Jesus. Now, the majority are rejecting the Bible and not choosing Jesus. I know my conviction and I know I will not change my view." Observer, 04/05/2013

Pushing homophobic stigma and policies: Diaz Sr. has been peddling misinformation and anti-LGBTQ stigma for decades, saying last year, "When I get to the City Council, I find that the City Council is controlled — most council members out of 51 council members — over there, everybody is controlled by the homosexual community," New York Times, 02/11/2019

Ignoring sexual harrassment: Diaz Sr. showed his true colors when he claimed he would protect perpetrators of sexual harassment instead of taking complaints seriously. During a mandatory City Council training, he was asked hypothetically what he would do if he overheard a chief of staff sexually harassing another staffer in an elevator. He responded, "I'm not gonna rat my people out! This place is full of rats!" City & State New York, 05/09/2019

Questioning support for abortion and LGBTQ rights: During his floor speech in opposition to the Marriage Equality Act, Diaz Sr. revealed his unfiltered views on support for reproductive and LGBTQ rights, saying, "All Democrats do is abortion and gay marriage, but the Republican party has always been the party that protects traditional values and family values." LGBTQ Nation, 06/26/2011

Supporting Sen. Ted Cruz who proudly attacked "New York values": After then-presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz made his controversial comments about "New York values," Diaz Sr. invited the Texas senator to his district, saying "Imagine Ted Cruz traveling to the Bronx where there is a grassroots army of Black and Hispanic Evangelical Christians who are just like him — and who have been ignored by every presidential candidate." City & State New York, 07/17/2018

Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational, advocacy and electoral activity, including grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and voter education.

NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all. For more than 50 years, NARAL has worked to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. Since 1969, NARAL has made history, grown to over 2.5 million members, and met the moments that have defined this fight with action, power and freedom. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as "one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America."

LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America's politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.

The Latino Victory Fund is a progressive political organization working to grow Latino political power by increasing Latino representation at every level of government. From school boards to the U.S. Senate, to the White House, Latino Victory identifies, recruits, and develops candidates for public office while building a permanent base of Latino donors to support them.

CHC BOLD PAC, the campaign arm of the Hispanic Caucus started in 2001 to help increase the representation of Latinos in Congress. Since its founding, BOLD PAC has helped almost double the number of Latinos in Congress.

—From a press releass

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