7:30 pm Nov. 28, 20112
City Councilman Charles Barron, who just announced that he is running for Congress, is ready to clear something up.
"I'm against same-sex marriage," Barron said, speaking on a cell phone from a rally in Manhattan against CUNY tuition hikes.
When Barron ran for governor in 2010, he declined to take a clear position on it, other than to say that he supported civil unions. His wife, an assemblywoman, voted against it when it passed the legislature and was signed into law by the governor.
"I believe simply in an institution of marriage between a man and a woman," Barron said. "My wife and I believe that. We support every other thing regarding gay rights and we support everything but the marriage thing. We don't want to have people impose their values or beliefs on us and we're not imposing ours on you."
Barron, speaking for his wife and himself, said, "We support civil unions. We support, you know, rights of gay people in every other area. The only area we don't support it is gay marriage."
I asked what he thought about the argument, made by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others, that same-sex marriage was the civil-rights fight of the current generation.
"I don't consider it a civil-rights issue of our time," he said. "Comparing it to our struggle when we were stolen from Africa, enslaved, murdered, raped, hung, lynched. I'm not even going to give it the same breath as our movement in this country."
Yesterday, Barron, a Democrat, announced he's making his second run at the congressional seat held since 1982 by Ed Towns in Brooklyn. Also running for the Democratic congressional nomination is Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who has more money than either Towns or Barron.
Barron has called Robert Mugabe and Muammar Khadafy his heroes, compared Israeli military action to "concentration death camps" and once muttered about smacking white people in order to improve his mental health.
I had actually called Barron to ask about an unsourced passage on a Wikipedia page that had been pointed out to me, and which appeared to be fabricated. The passage said: "Barron contracted HIV from an infected needle in an East New York hospital in 2002. He has since become a staunch advocate for ending AIDS in the African American community, particularly in New York City."
I didn't get to finish reading the first sentence to Barron before he jumped in with a response.
"You can stop right there. Azi, you're not calling me on that crap," he said.
He also said, "I find it ironic that it happened right after I announced for the Congress. But that's absurd. That's crazy. I ain't even responding to that. I'm going to call up Wiki and tell them to take it off. That's crazy. That's total nonsense."