Michael Crawford

LGBT New Yorkers Fight Back and Win

Filed By Michael Crawford | March 17, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Fight Back New York, gay marriage, Hiram Monserrate, Jose Peralta, marriage equality, New York Senate

In what should become a model for how LGBT activists deal with elected officials who vote against equal rights, Fight Back New York's campaign to defeat former State Senator Hiram Monserratte paid off big. Monserratte was defeated easily by Jose Peralta by a 3 -1 margin. Perralta is a member of the State Assembly who voted for marriage for same-sex couples three times.

Monserratte, who was convicted of a misdemeanor for an assault in which his girlfriend's face was slashed with a broken bottle, was one of 38 state senators who voted against the New York marriage bill last year. Monserratte's defeat is a clear message to politicians: vote against LGBT equality and use our families as political footballs and we will take you out.

From The New York Times:

Mr. Peralta, meanwhile, had a virtual army of outside supporters at his disposal, including union members, women's rights groups and gay activists, among them members of Fight Back New York, a well-financed political action committee that works to oust state senators who oppose same-sex marriage and put Mr. Monserrate first on its list.

Fight Back New York is a smart and aggressive new PAC focused on one thing: defeating anti-equality New York state senators. In a matter of weeks, Fight Back New York built a political machine that sent out nearly 100,000 pieces of hard-hitting direct mail to educate voters, made 10,000 targeted phone calls to prime voters, launched an aggressive online information campaign, and produced a powerful video message from Cynthia Nixon.

As Nixon says in the video, "We've tried the carrot. Now its time for the stick."

Fight Back New York's work doesn't end with the defeat of Hiram Monserratte. Its really the beginning.

From a recent Fight Back New York email:

In the next several weeks, we will together build a stronger, more robust campaign that will set its sights on where we can have the most impact for additional victories in the September primary elections and the November general elections. Each and every one of the remaining 37 New York State Senators who voted "no" to marriage equality-Democrats and Republicans-will be fair game.

Join with Fight Back New York to build a pro-equality state senate.

Donate to Fight Back New York.

Fan Fight Back New York on Facebook.

Follow Fight Back New York on Twitter.


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Hi, Michael - thanks for posting about this significant win for the LGBT community and equality in New York. In addition to Fight Back New York, many other activist groups were involved with the Peralta campaign. It's great to note that Marriage Equality New York, Queens Pride House, Queer Rising, among others, had a presence as well.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | March 17, 2010 8:37 AM

True Rich. Hopefully everyone will continue to work together to defeat other anti-equality senators so we can pass marriage and GENDA.

"vote against LGBT equality and use our families as political footballs and we will take you out."

Now, if we could just get those other 7 Senators to beat up their girlfriends, provide a video of the abuse, get arrested, convicted and then expelled from the State Senate by a vote of 53-8, we could really pat ourselves on the back.

New York did this, not FightBackPac.

Margaretpoa Margaretpoa | March 17, 2010 11:41 AM

I can't help but think that his history of abuse and violence, not to mention getting kicked out of the Senate might have had something to do with it. Still, kudos to the New York community.

You are correct - that had everything to do with it. He NEVER had a chance of winning.

The other 7 NY Senators FightBackPac is targeting have only one issue: they didn't support marriage equality. We'll see if that sells.

Monserrate was gone before FightBackPac spent +$100,000 telling New Yorkers what they already knew.

Monserrate ended his career, not us.

I have no idea who FightBackPac plans to target next, but some of the other anti-equality Senators have other "issues" as well. Such as my oh-so-wonderful state senator, Carl Kruger, whose self-aggrandizing behavior tied up the whole NY Senate for an extended period of time in the middle of the biggest recession in decades. I would _love_ to see FightBackPac, the Working Family Party, and others identify a good primary challenger and primary Kruger out of office.

By the way, if you look at "undervotes" (votes for the top of the ticket vs votes for the candidate) for unopposed (or essentially unopposed) Senators in the last election, Kruger has the biggest undercount in NYC. So he's not all that wildly popular.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | March 17, 2010 11:52 AM

Of course, there were multiple factors that contributed to Monserratte's defeat. Part of the smart campaign Fight Back New York was highlighting Monserratte's history in their direct mail pieces, phonebanking, and online presence.

Good to hear that he wasn't reelected!