Cuomo Backs Rivera Over Cabrera, Citing LGBT Issues

Gustavo Rivera, left, and Andrew Cuomo (Photo: Rivera for Senate campaign).

Gustavo Rivera, left, and Andrew Cuomo (Photo: Rivera for Senate campaign).

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has endorsed State Senator Gustavo Rivera in his re-election fight against Councilman Fernando Cabrera, praising the incumbent’s liberal social views as his challenger comes under increasing fire for his remarks about sexual minorities.

Mr. Cuomo announced his support for the Bronx state lawmaker yesterday, recalling how he ousted the scandal-scarred Pedro Espada in 2010, and has since pushed for key left-wing legislation. The governor also made an oblique allusion to the ongoing controversy surrounding Mr. Cabrera, an evangelical minister and former Republican, who has participated in events with the anti-same-sex marriage Family Research Council–and who was recently caught on tape praising Uganda’s harsh anti-gay laws.

Mr. Cuomo noted that the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act–which would classify violence against transgender people as a hate crime, and outlaw discriminatory hiring and housing policies–and the pro-choice, anti-sexual discrimination Women’s Equality Act would likely come up for a vote under a Democrat-controlled State Senate next year.

“I need partners in Albany like Gustavo, who will stand up to extremist views and fight to pass legislation that reflects our values as Democrats and New Yorkers, including the Women’s Equality Act and GENDA. I am proud to endorse Gustavo Rivera and I look forward to continue having him as a crucial ally in our legislature,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.

Mr. Rivera, in turn, praised the governor for his work helping to pass the Marriage Equality Act, which allowed New York’s gay couples to wed. He also had kind words for Mr. Cuomo’s running mate, former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul–who has come under fire from rival lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Tim Wu for her conservative votes on immigration and gun control.

The senator recently sponsored the New York is Home Act, which would grant New York State citizenship and drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants–the latter being a proposal Ms. Hochul opposed as Erie County Clerk. Mr. Rivera claimed, however, that Ms. Hochul would push to pass the Dream Act, which would give college students in the country illegally access to New York State tuition assistance.

“I am proud to have worked with Governor Cuomo to pass legislation that has made our state more just, and I’m proud to stand here today in support of Governor Cuomo and our great candidate for Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul,” said Mr. Rivera. “I have seen Governor Cuomo’s effectiveness working with him to pass the Marriage Equality Act, and implementing the New York State Health Exchange. And Kathy Hochul is a tough progressive who stood up to Paul Ryan to protect Medicare, and will be a strong ally in the fight to pass the DREAM Act.”

Mr. Cabrera’s key backers, Public Advocate Letitia James and Congressman Charles Rangel–both enthusiastic supporters of gay rights–have come under fire recently for supporting the councilman to replace Mr. Rivera.

Cuomo Backs Rivera Over Cabrera, Citing LGBT Issues