Binghamton, NY June 7 2014
It was the 9th Binghamton Pride Flag Raising and a long list of local notables affirmed diversity and LGBTQ people, but Mayor Rich David stole the show, just by showing up. There was some concern that the Republican administration would not be inclusive of the gay community and would decline to continue the tradition of raising the rainbow flag at City Hall. But David's opening remarks spoke of equality, anti-bullying, and an inclusive Binghamton. Across the street from the presentation was a demonstration by local Catholics, in full ritual garb, protesting gay marriage and a lone protester who was taunting the Mayor.
Officials from Kirsten Gillibrand and Gov Cuomo to Assemblywoman Lupardo and City Council members piled on to support the gay community. Donna Lupardo brought people's attention to a bill in the NYS Legislature that would challenge "conversion therapy" where therapists try to convert LGBTQ people to a straight orientation. Lauren Hering, owner of Merlin's, was the most eloquent in explaining why we need gay pride. The speech is reproduced in the Carousel newspaper and well worth the read.
Additionally, those that sent letters of support or spoke included: Letters from Sen Gillibrand and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli read by Sean Massey; Letter from Gov Cuomo read by Barbara Fiala, DMV Commissioner, and former Broome Co Exec; letter from Eric Schneiderman, read by Ass't AG Aaron Marcus. Two County legislators, Jason Garnar and Tony Fiala spoke, as did two City Councilwomen, Teri Rennia and Leah Webb. Also, Dara Silberstein, Human Rights Commissioner, and organizer of the event and next week's Pride Palooza (June 14th 12-8 pm), Chris Waters.
To see more images of the event, see the photo gallery on this site (see image galleries tab: "local progressive politics")