Anti-Gay Politician Offended By Internet Comments, Hyperbole

Readers commenting on a Village Voice blog post have offended New York State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., according to an open letter in which he accuses Voice editors of “us[ing] their editorial discretion to facilitate and encourage homicide.”

The post in question, “Ruben Diaz, Sr.: Gay Marriage Over My Dead Body,” is a straightforward account of Diaz’s plans to lead an anti-gay marriage march on May 15 — the same date as New York’s AIDS Walk.

When the inexplicable happened and commenters said unsavory things on the internet, Diaz naturally blamed the editors:

One reader, Wayne writes: “….as you wish, Mr Diaz…..I can arrange your final resting place in a local dump.”

Would the authors and editors at the Village Voice have been so quick to tolerate any comments hoping for the demise or imminent death of one of their favorite political leaders? Or perhaps their purpose really was to draw out and encourage criminal acts by your readers.

So was the Village Voice — which has a track record of facilitating criminal acts — using its editorial clout to encourage homicide? Voice editor Tony Ortega explains:

I wrote that headline in an attempt not only to get attention to [Steven] Thrasher’s reasoned, well-reported post, but also to characterize just how out of step with reality your opposition to gay marriage has become in a city where the national movement for gay rights began.

I did not, however, actually wish you dead, and if some of our commenters were similarly hyperbolic in their denunciations of you, I consider that unfortunate.

No, there certainly is no desire on my part or on the part of the Voice to hope for your early demise. In fact, you provide for us a valuable service, reminding us of how backward and mean-spirited many people in this country, and even many people in this otherwise enlightened city, are about human rights and basic human dignity.