Borough President Markowitz’s choice for a Civil Court judgeship won Tuesday’s Democratic primary, but Markowitz may have lost something far bigger: the gay vote.
“We now regard him with universal disdain,” said Alan Fleishman, a Democratic district leader and a board member of the Lambda Independent Democrats, a Park Slope-based gay political club.
“It will be difficult for him to come before gay and lesbian clubs to ask for an endorsement in the future if he’s running in another race,” added Fleishman, hours after the Markowitz-endorsed former Councilman Noach Dear beat Karen Yellen in the off-year primary by a lopsided margin of 3,776 to 2,554 votes.
Markowitz endorsed Dear even though the City Bar Association rated the Borough Park pol unqualified for the job — but the main objection to his endorsement of the anti-gay Dear came from gay and lesbian activists.
After Dear’s triumph on Tuesday, those activists swung into action.
In an open letter to Markowitz and six other politicians who had backed Dear, the Lambda Independent Democrats, the Stonewall Democratic Club, and the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club blasted them for supporting an “unethical bigot.”
The Borough Park politician is most reviled for his vitriolic crusade against a 1986 gay civil rights bill — though his conservative positions on abortion and other issues have kept him in liberal crosshairs for the decades that he’s been out of (yet seeking) office.
“It is a disturbing time … when elected officials can endorse a candidate who has a long record of blatant hostility and hatred against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” read the letter.
The letter went to Kings County Democratic Party boss and Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D–Bushwick), Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D–Borough Park), Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), Councilman Domenic Recchia (D–Coney Island), Councilman Kendall Stewart (D–Flatbush), and state Sen. Diane Savino (D–Bay Ridge).
Markowitz did not respond to a request for comment.
In other mud-slinging election news, reform club favorite state Supreme Court Justice Diana Johnson beat Manhattan Civil Court Judge ShawnDya Simpson in the Democratic primary for the Surrogate judgeship. Simpson was endorsed by party boss Lopez, while Johnson was backed by several black elected officials, organizations identified as reform political clubs, and Rev. Al Sharpton. The Surrogate Court, run by two judges, is responsible for handling estate and guardianship cases and, because it dolls out millions of dollars in legal business, is a major source of political patronage.
Johnson beat Simpson 23,454 votes to 16,095.
©2007 Community News Group
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