Bloomberg Decries Homophobia

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Hizzoner calls rash of NYC violence “completely unacceptable,” makes impassioned plea for gay rights at PFLAG dinner Monday night.

“Government should not be in the business of telling anyone whom he or she can and cannot love.”

PFLAG ANNUAL DINNER
TRIBECA ROOFTOP
10/11/10, 7:25PM

Thank you, Drew, and good evening everyone.

It’s great to be here for the 30th anniversary of PFLAG’s New York City
Awards Dinner…

Thirty years of making a difference and brightening the futures of
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender New Yorkers.

And for that, I must give a big thanks to the incredible leadership of
Drew and Suzanne Ramos and Phyllis Steinberg.

So tonight’s anniversary is a celebratory moment…

… and yet – it also couldn’t be a more timely or essential moment.

There are more than 1 million children in this city – and each of them
deserves our love.

Each of them is different – and each of them is born perfect.

All are equal under God’s eyes and the eyes of the law.

As the father of two daughters, I know that when we bring a child into
the world or into our home…

… we do so with the certainty that nothing is as powerful as a
parent’s love – and with the hope that we can protect them from
everything.

No doubt, there are times when that belief is challenged:

The first time your son lets go of your hand at a crosswalk, for
instance… or the first time your daughter comes home in tears.

At some point, we’ve all questioned whether a kiss on the forehead is
enough to keep our children safe through the day.

And I know the recent rash of terrible, homophobic incidents – here in
our city, and all over the country – has caused you to hold your
children a little tighter.

Let me be clear: These incidents are completely unacceptable.

They’re intolerable in a city in which tolerance is what define us.

They’re unacceptable in a city in which embracing our differences is
what makes us strong

Because when any New Yorker is attacked because of who they are or who
they love – the fabric that binds us together is torn.

That’s why these attacks are attacks on us all – and why they can never,
ever be allowed.

Especially when it comes to our kids.

To those who have been the target of bullying and bias – whether you
happen to be in this room or in any neighborhood in the city, I say
this:

This great city stands with you…

We believe in you. We want you here. We will do anything in our power
to keep you safe.

And we will do everything in our power to punish those who dare threaten
the well being of our citizens.

As I said over the weekend, the perpetrators of the abuse and torture in
the Bronx will be spared no mercy.

At the same time, we will continue – with the help of PFLAG -
reinforcing in our public schools what is the most comprehensive
anti-bullying policy of its kind in the nation.

Because building a city of honesty and respect and civility begins with
our children.

This city’s greatest strength has always been its diversity and
openness.

There are moments when that is challenged – when some argue for closing,
rather than opening doors…

… for closing, rather than opening our hearts.

But I am confident that will never happen – in part, because of your
energy and advocacy.

And clearly, as we note on this night of celebration, that good work is
needed now, more than ever before.

So let me close by saying that our city – and our nation – have come a
long way… but our journey is not yet complete.

I wish for you the same thing I wish for any parent in this city:

The joy of seeing your son or daughter fall in love…

The joy of walking your son or daughter down the aisle on the most
important day of their lives.

Government should not be in the business of telling anyone whom he or
she can and cannot love.

And believe me: I will fight with you every single day to make that a
reality.

Good night, and God bless.

###

Bloomberg isn't speaking about gay rights with his eye explicitly on a presidential campaign, but if he runs in two years, how he finesses his positions on gays and guns will be key. The mayor can't and won't hedge his positions if he runs, but he would try to win over voters with straight talk and passion. Monday's remarks are a preview of how he would have to try to pull it off.
Related Topics: bloomberg, gay marriage, new york, News

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