New York State legalized Marriage Equality in June. And let me just say, as a married heterosexual dude, it is about time. I have NEVER, EVER felt that marriage equality threatened the stability of my own marriage, whatever the right wing fanatics say.
Among the first wave of LGBT couples to get married in NY State on the very first day it became legal were a couple of friends of my wife and myself, local political allies and all around good folk. We saw their historic wedding day photos at a party hosted by the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats.
The judge who married them was so moved to be participating in this historic event, she teared up while performing this ceremony. That judge is running for Brooklyn Civil Court Judge. Her name is Cheryl Gonzales and she rocks. I am hoping that Daily Kos can help get her elected because she is a good ally and her opponent is put up by the local corrupt political machine run by the notorious (and FBI investigated) Vito Lopez. We need to pull together to elect Cheryl Gonzales in an election that is likely to be low voter turnout, which all too often means the corrupt machine can turn out the votes to win.
Judicial elections are the most neglected elections there are. It seems like NO ONE pays attention to them. And yet, let's face it, if you EVER find yourself up before a judge, for whatever reason, would you want to face a crony of a local political machine or a good, decent progressive person? Here in Brooklyn us local progressives won a big victory in 2007 when a friend of mine (a good, honest liberal) ran against a well-funded, conservative who was best known for writing the amicus brief against marriage equality for the Conservative Party. Let me tell you it was a HARD fight that took a huge amount of time. My friend had all the endorsements but his conservative opponent had all the money and the behind-the-scenes backing of the local machine. In the end we won. We can do it, but only with a great deal of help from the progressive grassroots.
We need to do it again this year. I want to introduce you to Cheryl Gonzales, who is running for Civil Court Judge in Brooklyn. Her opponent is part of the exact same corrupt machine that supported the anti-gay candidate for judge in 2007.
Cheryl Gonzales has been endorsed by Lambda Independent Democrats (the local LGBT Democratic club), New Kings Democrats (a local outgrowth of the 2008 Obama Campaign in Brooklyn), the 52nd Assembly District Democratic County Committee (my wife and I are members of this), and the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (Brooklyn's top reform and liberal club...my wife is an officer of this club). I have met Cheryl Gonzales several times and have been VERY impressed by her.
You can read Cheryl Gonzales' answers to the questionnaire sent out to all candidates by the 52nd Assembly District Democratic County Committee by clicking here. Cheryl's machine backed opponent did not turn in a questionnaire.
My personal view when I first heard her was that Cheryl Gonzalez came off particularly well and most people at the forum were quite impressed with her. Again, her opponent did not attend. I think the care she takes preparing for cases was a particularly good point in her favor. Her questionnaire indicated past "qualified" ratings by several screening committees in past years, which I am sad to say is not a given in Brooklyn judicial races, so this is great. Her main experience is in housing court and as an arbitrator in small claims court. She is a member of the Women in Prison committee of the National Assn. of Women Judges.
The second time I met Cheryl Gonzales was at the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats endorsement meeting. At that meeting (a particularly and proudly liberal bunch) her excellent record in housing court was cited, including the fact that she was one of the few housing court judges who treated lawyers representing tenants with respect. Once again, Cheryl's opponent did not attend that forum.
I should note Cheryl Gonzales also attended a recent Daily Kos Brooklyn Meetup, as covered by by Mets102. I didn't really get a chance to talk with her at that event, but other Brooklyn Kossacks seemed quite impressed. If I may quote the comments from that diary, MBNYC (who I know well!) commented:
it's really important to acknowledge Judge Gonzales. She was an absolute joy to have as our guest, completely comfortable with us rabble, funny, smart, and very easy to talk to...
I was very impressed, and that's not easy for New York electeds to do. If I get married, she's going to do the act.
The fact that she married our friends came up at the Daily Kos event and again Cheryl seemed VERY proud to have been part of that and distinctly remembered our friends and how much it meant to them.
I have no website for her. Judicial candidates often run with almost no web presence. If anyone wants to donate to her campaign I do know her campaign manager and so could hook you up. But the main thing we need is to get out the vote for Cheryl Gonzales in Brooklyn on Sept. 13th. Please help spread the word and help this champion of LGBT rights and tenant rights win.