So, the Ninth District election in September could come down to gay marriage? The candidates in the increasingly tight special election for Anthony Weiner's likely-lame duck seat have been racking up unsurprising endorsements (Giuliani for Bob Turner! Schumer for David Weprin!), and that is all well and good. However it seems that the Orthodox Jews in the area are grinding their teeth over the logic Weprin used when he voted to support marriage equality in the state Assembly earlier this year.
"David Weprin as a candidate for Congress is an affront to the Almighty, as well as a threat to the individual liberties, religious and otherwise, of American citizens," Queens Rabbi Noson Leiter of Torah Jews for Decency said last month. At issue is a quote Weprin, an Orthodox Jew himself, made on June 15 regarding the vote: “My religion is very important to me personally, but this is not a religious issue,” he said. “I think everyone here would agree that we should not be outlawing marriages between Jews and non-Jews or interracial marriages.”
And that view has not sat well in the community, reportedly. “What he said in the Assembly has been played over-and-over on YouTube,” a source told City Hall News (though we haven't actually found said clip—have you?). “People were really offended that he said he was an Orthodox who was supporting gay marriage.”
How much is this hurting the Democrat's campaign? Well, yesterday Weprin—whose endorsements include Congressman Joe Crowley, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Comptroller John Liu, Speaker Christine Quinn and Brooklyn Beep Marty Markowitz—met "with the influential leadership of the giant Jewish social services organization Agudath Israel. But he walked out of the room without securing the leadership’s endorsement, despite steering massive Council grants to the group."
As the September 13th special election approaches, expect to see both candidates pull out all the stops for this one, with Weprin and the Dems fighting hard to keep Turner in check. If you live in the Ninth District, don't be surprised if soon enough a robocall with the voice of Marty Markowitz starts ringing your landline.