Surprise in Store in Giuliani Files?
To many unfamiliar with Rudy Giuliani's record as New York's mayor, "The Giuliani Files" might be something akin to "The X-Files."
"The truth is out there," Giuliani's critics are saying.
Tonight the Empire State Pride Agenda, the influential gay rights organization in New York, unveiled "The Giuliani Files" on its Web site. It's a thorough examination -- with new videos and documents -- highlighting Guiliani's record on gay rights as New York's mayor from 1994 to 2001. Alan Van Capelle, head of the non-partisan group, charges that Giuliani has been running away from his pro-gay rights record as he courts Republican primary voters. But most media reports, Van Capelle added, has continually labeled Giuliani, who's leading the GOP field in national polls, as pro-gay rights.
As New York mayor, he was for a state and federal hate crimes bill, Van Capelle said. One of the documents that Pride Agenda has on its site is a press release from Giuliani's office dated March 30, 2000 and quotes Giuliani as saying: "Every hate crime is a crime against Our city, since it strikes at the diersity upon which New York thrives."
But last spring, Bill Simon, one of Giuliani's advisers, told the Christian Broadcasting Network that Giuliani is agaist federal hate crimes legislation.
In one of YouTube clips on Pride Agenda's site, Giuliani is seen at the group's fall dinner in 2001, less than a month after the Sept. 11 attacks. The former mayor, who was teased for dressing in drag, spoke warmly about Mark Bingham, the 31-year-old gay man who died in the plane in Pennsylvania, and congratulated the Pride agenda for its work on gay rights.
Another YouTube video shows the ceremony at New York's munucipal building in 1998 when Giuliani, surrounded by the city's gay activists, signed a sweeping domestic partnership law. The bill, Giuliani said, will "help to move society more in the direction of equal treatment for everyone. As mayor, Giuliani equated domestic partnership rights to rights for married people, Van Capelle said. Giuliani was once in support of civil unions for gay couples, Van Capelle added. But in a statement to the New York Sun in April, following the passage of civil unions in New Hamsphire's State Senate, Giuliani said he's against anything that is "the equivalent of marriage."
"The Giuliani Files" is not the first to attack -- or highlight -- Hizzoner's New York record.
In the summer, a New Yorker named Ryan Davis created a satirical YouTube video, titled "Gays for Giuliani: 'A Gay Leader'" that featured gay New Yorkers thanking Giuliani for his support of gay rights.
The liberal activist and documentarian Robert Greenwald has gone after Giuliani for months. On Greenwald's site, TheRealRudy.org, Giuliani's handling of the Sept. 11 attacks are criticized.
"This is about character and about his real stance on our issues" said Van Capelle of Pride Agenda. "The big, big question is: If Giuliani becomes president, which Giuliani will be on our issues? The Giuliani we knew as mayor? Or the Giuliani we're seeing as a candidate for president?"
Added Van Capelle: "Thanks to the Internet, voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina" -- the early voting states -- "will get to see where he was on gay issues. And they might be surprised."
-- Jose Antonio Vargas
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