The Speaker Race: Williams on Marriage Equality

City Council member Jumaane Williams in a “Resist From Day One” protest on Jan. 20, the day Donald Trump was sworn in as president. (Photo by Tequila Minsky via Gay City News)

New York City Council member Jumaane Williams, who is expected to make a bid to succeed Melissa Mark-Viverito as council speaker, told Paul Schindler of Gay City News that he supports marriage equality and will fight to protect marriage quality. Four years ago when he was also interested in the speaker position, he lost support for failing to directly state these views, noted Gay City News.

In an interview with the publication, Williams, whose 45th district covers Canarsie, Flatbush, East Flatbush, and other parts of Brooklyn, explained that four years ago he was reluctant to reduce his views to soundbites. Williams, the son of immigrants from Grenada, is a founding member of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, and is a member of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus.

Williams spoke about his views, wrote Schindler, in “strikingly personal terms.”

“I support marriage equality, and this is helpful to what I think people deserve to hear,” he said. His past difficulties explaining himself, he said, were based in part on religious beliefs he learned as a youth but also on what he conceded was his “muddled” message.

“I think when you’re brought up, your religion tells you a whole lot of stuff,” he said. “A lot of it is very good. I use a lot of it for the work I do, the revolutionary aspect of it. Jesus of Nazareth… a revolutionary fighting for people who are oppressed, fighting to make sure that people had their voice. So that gives me my push for equality and equity. But religion can be used for some very bad things, for slavery, for homophobia, for a lot of craziness.”

Go to Gay City News to find out what “really hit” him about something out gay Council member Daniel Dromm of Queens said, and how his thinking evolved since he learned the sole reason that his father, a pastor, voted for George W. Bush.

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