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10/14/2010

Ruben Díaz: Sugar is sweet and so is marital bias

by Jeremy Hooper

6A00D8341C503453Ef0120A6Fe6D02970BNew York state senator Ruben Díaz (D-Bronx), one of the most known anti-LGBT state lawmakers in the country, is lashing out against NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg for backing a prohibition against food stamps being used to purchase soda and other sugary beverages while at the same time supporting the right for gay couples to embrace their own marital sweetness:

“Last week, Mayor Bloomberg released a video wherein he stated his support for marriage equality ‘Because government shouldn’t tell you who to love or who to marry’.

“Today, Mayor Bloomberg sought permission from the Federal Government to prohibit New York food stamp recipients from using their food stamps to purchase soda and other sugary beverages.

"Mr. Mayor, will you please make up your mind? It is hypocritical to say on one hand that the government should not be involved. Today, however, that is exactly what you did.
Either the government should or should not be involved in telling people what or what not to eat, drink, and smoke, or who they can or can’t marry. You can’t have it both ways.”
Senator Díaz to Mayor Bloomberg: Mr. Mayor Will You Please Make Up Your Mind? [Ruben Díaz]

Uhm, okay -- but here's the thing: The government already puts limits on food stamps, based on what are seen as public health interests. Cigarettes. Alcohol. Medicines and vitamins. All banned. As are pet foods, prepared foods, and a number of household items, the latter of these not for health, obviously, but still a way for the government to streamline the program. So this Bloomberg plan (a 2 year ban accompanied with a study) would just be one more limitation: One that is obviously designed to combat a demonstrable health issue, in a situation where there are logical alternatives (natural juices, water, etc), and in a way similar to other anti-obesity initiatives (like school lunch regulations, for instance).

But marriage equality is the apple to the food stamp issue's (organic, approved, juicy) orange! In this case, the demonstrable harm comes from denying certain couples of a freedom to which they are more than entitled by virtue of citizenship. Supporters of marriage equality are not "nanny stating": They are rejecting the self-appointed governessing that the social conservatives have injected into the nuptial nursery!

If we are forced to choose a hypocrite here, it's undoubtedly Sen. Ruben Díaz. On one hand he is saying that the public good that is marriage equality should not be governmentally supported in a way that benefits all citizens, while on the other saying that the public hazard that is childhood/adult obesity should not be governmentally combatted when talking about citizens who utilize public benefits. In both cases, Diaz is rejecting the heart-healthy option.

***

**SEE ALSO: Andrés Duque criticizes Diaz for putting issues like the above before the disgusting anti-gay attack that's stunned his community: Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.'s response to the anti-gay attacks in the Bronx [Blabbeando]

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