Ruben Diaz and gay marriage: This time, it’s personal

Erica Diaz, 22, center, told Metro she chose to join her grandfather, state Sen. Ruben Diaz, left, up on stage after she denounced his rally. “I just wanted him to know I’m here,” she said.

The fight over gay marriage turned deeply personal for one family yesterday afternoon in the Bronx, where thousands turned out for state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.’s Rally to Protect Marriage.

Some held “Adam + Eve = Family” signs. Others held placards that read “God’s marriage = 1 man and 1 woman.”

Also in the crowd was Erica Diaz, 22. She is the state senator’s lesbian granddaughter.

Erica Diaz told Metro she decided to speak out publicly for the first time after reading last week’s Metro depicting her grandfather as the state’s No. 1 obstacle to gay marriage. “I saw the paper and it hurt me,” she said.

Diaz posted the cover on Facebook, with the words, “Can you just imagine how I feel?” She and a few dozen others hoisted rainbow flags and umbrellas in counterprotest of her grandfather’s rally.

Grandfather and granddaughter met on the steps of the Bronx courthouse. Diaz put his arm around her. “This is my granddaughter,” he said. “I love her. She does what she wants, and I respect her decisions.”

Afterward, Erica spoke with Metro. “I’m happy,” she said. “I just wanted him to know I’m here.”

Diaz has also told the New York Times he has two gay brothers.

Let the voters decide?

At the rally, many supporters of Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. said they think the issue of gay marriage should be decided by New York voters, not politicians. A new bill to legalize same-sex marriage was introduced in the Assembly last week, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg will travel to Albany tomorrow to lobby politicians for its passage.

For more New York local news, follow Alison Bowen on Twitter


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