Whats in a lifestyle? Apparently everything, especially if youre Christine Quinn, the new City Council speaker and an openly gay woman. And in a borough where opinions flow like the cascading Niagara Falls, two organizations involved in measuring lifestyles came out swinging with opposing views. This is an historic victory, both for Councilmember Quinn and also for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community locally and nationally, said Gary Parker, president of the Park Slope-based Lambda Independent Democrats (LID), the only political club representing Brooklyns LGBT community. Chris is the best person for this job, will be an extremely effective speaker, and will continue to champion the rights of LGBT citizens and all New Yorkers, Parker added. Openly gay Park Slope Democratic District Leader Alan Fleishman said, Many of us have worked with Chris over the years, first when she worked for Tom Duane and then as Executive Director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project as well as during her tenure on the City Council, so we know firsthand what a skilled organizer and terrific advocate she will be for the people of the City of New York. On the other side of the issue is the Flatbush-based Jews For Morality (JFM). We think its a sad commentary on society that the City Council unanimously put in place someone to represent them as a speaker whos openly proud of her immoral lifestyle, which society for many thousands of years considered to be immoral behavior, said JFM spokesperson Shlomo Winter. Its especially sad for the youth of New York City to have this person as an example and whose behavior is destructive, he added. Winter acknowledged there is some question as to whether biblical law prohibits the practice of lesbianism, because as women, they dont spill seed like men, who practice homosexuality. However, Talmudic sages did indicate that Jews were instructed not to be like the ancient Egyptians where lesbianism was prevalent, Winter said. Winter also criticized City Councilmember Simcha Felder, the only Orthodox Jew in the City Council, for not being more forceful in expressing the Orthodox viewpoint that having a city leader with such a lifestyle is abhorrent. Felder was present for the Councils 49-0 vote with one abstention to pick Quinn as the speaker, but sources said Felder did not vote. The one abstention was Charles Baron. There are 51 total Council members. Felder refused to comment on why he didnt vote, but sources said the reason he didnt was over Orthodox religious views that homosexuality is an abomination. Felder did call Quinn a consensus builder in city government and a very capable leader. I feel she was the most competent candidate and had worked well with organizations in my community and has been extremely helpful in terms of meeting the needs of the community, and I think she will be a wonderful speaker, said Felder. Felder continued that he didnt believe that issues regarding the gay community would be at the top of Quinns agenda. If these types of issues come up in the Council, it will be dealt with when it happens, said Felder. Her [Quinn] priority will be that everyone in the city is served well, he added.
©2006 Community News Group
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