Earlier this week, the conservative group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms released a new video promoting their “Counter Punch” conference in Albany. Between slides recounting the fight against gay marriage in 2009, a sweaty young pugilist shadow-boxes the metaphorical supporters of gay marriage. Then there’s a call to arms for 2010, followed by a issue-related slides broken up by a boxing glove dramatically punching through paper (or thin drywall?).
Given that the current battleground is a special election in Queens, for the seat of Hiram Monserrate–who is running for re-election after being expelled over an alleged incident of domestic violence–the symbolism caught the attention of groups supporting his opponent, Jose Peralta.
“Releasing these kinds of images in the midst of a campaign where one of the candidates, Hiram Monserrate, has been convicted of domestic violence is insensitive and irresponsible,” said Valerie Berlin, a spokesperson for Fight Back New York, a political action committee that supports candidates who favor same-sex marriage, including Mr. Peralta. “This group is basically sending the message that they’d rather have a convicted abuser in office than someone who votes for equal rights for gay and lesbian New Yorkers.”
The Rev. Jason J. McGuire of NYCF said it was “interesting” that Fight Back New York could use a brawling name, but his organization was being attacked for the video.
“We don’t backtrack one bit from that conference,” said Mr. McGuire, who declined to talk specifically about the special election, but stated that his group had neither endorsed nor was working on behalf of Mr. Monserrate. “In 2009, we say we’ve done a lot of bobbing, ducking and weaving. In 2010, we really have to deliver that conservative counterpunch,” he said.
Asked whether it might be a bad time for fighting imagery, Mr. McGuire said: “We never look to liberals and the left to tell us when it’s a good time to be talking about what issues.”