New York State Senator Shirley Huntley (pictured above) is the 3rd member of the gang of 8 Democrats that helped defeat gay marriage in New York.
As it happens, one of my teammates in my bowling league is Detective Tom Verni, who is also the NYPD Community Affairs Citywide LGBT Liaison. Tom also lives in the Queens district that Huntley represents.
Tom happened to mention that he sent correspondence to Senator Huntley about her vote, which she has, thus far, ignored. In his correspondence, he commented about how he and his partner, Huntley's constituents, were affected by her vote. As of last week he told me that he was trying to contact her a second time. I will see him tonight and get you the results of that effort, along with any relevant correspondence. (update: Tom notified me she still has not responded)
Huntley's wikipedia entry tells us that she,
is a New York State Senator, first elected in 2006 to represent parts of Queens County, including Jamaica, South Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, Laurelton, South Ozone Park, Broad Channel, and Lindenwood. A Democrat, she defeated former Senator Ada Smith in the Democratic Primary. She is the Ranking Minority Member of the Investigations and Government Operations Committee. She serves on the Education Committee, the Higher Education Committee, the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, and the Transportation Committee.
Huntley presently resides in Jamaica with her husband Herbert Huntley. They operate a maintenance company known as Huntley Enterprises.
It should be noted that in the 2008 campaign questionnaire that she filled out for the 504 Democratic Club, on the question of who she viewed as local community leaders, she listed 6 people...5 reverends and 1 bishop.
Poor Senator Huntley
Senator Huntley, on December 7th, sent out the following release, regarding her anti-gay vote:
Senator Shirley L. Huntley On The Marriage Equality Legislation
In the recent days since the 12/2/09 New York State Senate vote on the Marriage Equality legislation I have received calls and letters both in favor and against my decision to vote against the legislation. As a result, I would like to take this opportunity to explain my vote.
I firmly believe that my vote against the Marriage Equality legislation reflects the wishes of the vast majority of my constituents. With that being said, I also firmly believe that any decision on Marriage Equality should, ultimately, be made by the people of New York State, not the Legislature. I would fully support a referendum to allow the people of New York State to decide the issue.
The State of New York is diverse and its citizens will often disagree. I applaud those of you who have questioned my position in a civilized manner. However, to those few of you who have been insulting and even threatening, I will not be bullied. We cannot and should not advocate for tolerance only when it benefits us. Again, we should allow the people of the State of New York to decide the issue of Marriage Equality.
Interesting that she never responded to a civil letter from a highly-regarded gay constituent. Even more interesting that an African-American would suggest that civil rights issues should be subject to a popular vote. Had that been the case on racial issues, where would African-Americans be today?
Additionally, regarding her comments about her constituents being against it...why then, as the Queens Tribune reported, did all the state assembly members of her district vote for it?
As for only advocating for "tolerence, only when it benefits us," what on earth does that mean? We are not seeking 'tolerance,' we want civil rights for ourselves and families.
Other interesting Huntley votes
We need to oppose Huntley in the primaries. In her last primary she was up against a fellow anti-gay politician.
Some things to keep in mind come the next primary:
In 2007, Huntley was 1 of only 8 to oppose legislation that would require convicted sex offenders to undergo psychiatric treatment and supervision.
In a 2008 bill to find affordable housing on Long Island (not an easy task), only 9 voted against, yet helping the poor was not a concern to Huntley. She did not vote.
A 2008 bill to cap annual property tax increases (in New York, the taxes are almost intolerable in many communities), only 20 Senators voted against. Huntley was one of them.
A 2008 bill to repeal the internet sales tax for items bought from New York retailers, passed 44-18. Huntley was one of the 18 who wanted New Yorkers to have to pay the tax.
Access her entire voting record here.
There is political ammo to be used in a primary fight. Let's use it.
Back in May, Manhunt reported the following:
In an attempt to convince Shirley Huntley to support marriage equality, Maya Angelou gave the New York Senator a call.
"I would ask every man and every woman who's had the blessing of having children, 'Would you deny your son or your daughter the ecstasy of finding someone to love?' To love someone takes a lot of courage. So how much more is one challenged when the love is of the same sex and the laws say, ‘I forbid you from loving this person’?” Angelou asked the Senator.
Even though Huntley is a fan of Angelou's poetry, she was unmoved by the statement. “If they gave me a million dollars, tax free, I just wouldn’t vote for it,” she said.
Additional contact information
You can access Sen. Shirley Huntley's facebook page here.
All of Huntley's contact information can be found by linking here.