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Rudy Giuliani on Civil Rights

Former Mayor of New York City; Republican Candidate for 2000 Senate (NY)


Photos of him in drag emphasized pro-gay-rights stance

Since Giuliani entered the race in February, he had led the field in virtually every national poll, riding his celebrity as "America's Mayor" and his brassy reputation as a hero of 9/11. With his hawkish profile on national security and moderation on social issues, Giuliani was chasing many of the same voters as McCain.

Giuliani's defects, from a conservative point of view, were readily apparent. He was pro-choice, pro-gay right, pro-gun control. He was thrice married, and had carried on a public affair with wife number three while going through a messy divorce from wife number two. When the latter, Donna Hanover, kicked him out of Gracie Mansion, he cohabited with two gay men. There were pictures all over the Internet of him in drag--face painted in rouge, head adorned with a blond wig, shoulders draped in a feather boa--from a New York variety show.

Source: Game Change, by Heilemann & Halpern, p.287-288 , Jan 11, 2010

Comfortable with trying to reach voters in Spanish

Q: Your immigration plan calls for all immigrants to learn English to gain citizenship. So why is your campaign airing an ad in Spanish?

A: This is a country that is built around the English language. If you want to become a citizen, you should demonstrate your facility with English. If you know other languages, that is a wonderful thing. If we have substantial portions of populations that know other languages, I’m very comfortable trying to reach them in both English and in Spanish.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida , Jan 24, 2008

No Marriage Amendment needed now, but maybe if DOMA fails

Q: You said that if DOMA were to fail, or states began to legalize gay marriage, you would [withdraw your opposition to] a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

A: I do not believe under the state that presently exists, with the Defense of Marriage Act and basically one state that has by judicial fiat created same-sex marriage--I don’t think we need a constitutional amendment at this point. If a lot of states start to do that--5 or 6 states--then we should have a constitutional amendment.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando, Florida , Oct 21, 2007

Supports domestic partnerships, but not same-sex marriage

Q: [to Romney]: You have been drawing contrasts with Mayor Giuliani during this campaign, such as this interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network this spring:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: He is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage and anti-gun, and that’s a tough combination in a Republican primary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Q: Do you stand by that?

ROMNEY: That was very early in the process, in March. He wasn’t a candidate yet. I think I have a better perspective on his views now.

GIULIANI: The reality is that I support the Second Amendment. I clearly believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman, although I did support domestic partnerships and still do, a contractual relationship. And [we should] put our emphasis on reducing abortions & increasing the number of adoptions

Source: 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

Don’t change gays-in-military policy in time of war

Q: Recently several talented linguists--Arabic speakers trained by the US government--were dismissed from the military because they announced they were gay. Is that appropriate?

A: This is not the time to deal with disruptive issues like this. Back in 1994 we went through this and it created a tremendous amount of disruption. In time of war, in a time where we’re trying to deal with this transition to a new kind of warfare that we have to be fighting--and we haven’t gotten all the way there yet, we need a hybrid army, we need to look at nation-building as part of what we have to teach our military--I don’t think this would be the right time to raise these issues. And I think we should rely on the judgment of our commanders in a situation like this. They know what’s disruptive and what’s not. And at a time of war, you don’t make fundamental changes like this.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

1990s: Arrested hundreds of unlicensed art vendors

Street art was an early target [in Guliani’s term]: From 1993-1996, over 400 painters, sculptors, photographers, & printmakers were arrested and their wares seized & destroyed. Some of the busts stopped after a ruling that art vendors had a right to sell on the sidewalks.

But another arrest & confiscation wave had started in 1995, when the Giuliani administration declared that only 51 vendors could sell near the Metropolitan Museum and in tourist-infused areas of the city’s park system. Those 51 would be chosen by a lottery & receive licenses, and anyone vending without one would be considered a lawbreaker.

Such policies inspired legal challenges based on First Amendment arguments. As time went on, the administration’s attempts to stifle “free speech” became more frequent, more obvious, & more obnoxious to New Yorkers. By the time the mayor left office, the city had litigated--unsuccessfully in nearly every case--two dozen free speech challenges, more than under any previous administration.

Source: America‘s Mayor, America‘s President?, by R. Polner, p.125 , May 2, 2007

1990s: City jobs cuts fell disproportionately on black staff

Giuliani let his budget axe fall disproportionately on the social service and housing agencies, places staffed heavily with African Americans. Giuliani argued that he was practicing good fiscal management. And he puckered at any suggestion that his cuts fell disproportionately on a single racial group.

Big city political machines tend always to be ethnic-based. That’s why the Irish dominate the Fire and Police Departments, and Italians can be found in large numbers in the Sanitation and Building Departments, and Jews hold sway at the Corporation Council and the Board of Education.

As blacks began to move into the upper reaches of the civil service in the 1960s, they found the doors to these departmental fiefdoms effectively barred. So they migrated to the human resources departments, [and by Giuliani’s term] had risen to the upper reaches.

Giuliani spared no sympathy for those on the receiving end of his cuts. He heard only a whine when one spoke of “racial justice.”

Source: America‘s Mayor, America‘s President?, by R. Polner, p. 42 , May 2, 2007

Opposed Pres. Bush’s ban on gay marriage

On Gay Marriage: In 2004 Giuliani came out against President’s Bush’s call for a ban against gay marriage stating he could “not support a ban at this time. Some of us remember that when Giuliani separated from his wife he took up residence with friends of his, a couple --- two men.
Source: RSLevinson.com “All Things Queer”, review of 2008 gay issues , Jan 1, 2007

Pro gay rights

Rudy Guiliani said that he is “seriously considering” a presidential run. Those who think that the 9/11 hero would be a formidable candidate are forgetting about the 9/10 Rudy. Meaning, this is a guy who is pro-choice on abortion, pro-gay rights and moved in with a gay couple after a messy breakup with his wife that came as he was dating another woman.
Source: 2008 Speculation by Howard Kurtz in Washington Post , Jul 14, 2006

Anti-Catholic art is disgusting; appoints decency council

A photography exhibit that includes a work depicting Jesus as a naked woman is stirring debate at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The work “Yo Mama’s Last Supper” features the photographer nude and surrounded by 12 black apostles. Another collage depicts a topless woman, crucified.

“I think what they did is disgusting, it’s outrageous,” Giuliani said, adding that anti-Catholicism “is accepted in our city and in our society.” Giuliani is appointing a task force “that can set decency standards for those institutions that are using the taxpayers’ money.“

In 1999, the museum’s ”Sensation“ show featured an elephant dung-embellished Virgin Mary. The mayor froze the museum’s annual $7.2 million city subsidy, then sued in state court to evict the museum. A judge ruled that the city had violated the First Amendment and restored the funding. This time, Giuliani said he would go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose decisions he said are based on ”showing decency and respect for religion.“

Source: Associated Press in NY Times , Feb 16, 2001

Brooklyn Museum closed due to lease rules, not censorship

Q: The mayor has pledged to withdraw city funds from the Brooklyn Museum’s display [of a dung-covered Virgin Mary].

A: The museum’s lease puts me in the middle of this whether I want to be or not. It says the mayor has to approve closing down the museum. And the mayor has to approve when this publicly funded museum starts to charge money. It’s supposed to be free. And they’re charging $9.00. So, I have to make a decision as the mayor to agree to closing down the museum for this purpose. And I don’t agree. I think this exhibit beyond even the desecration of the Virgin Mary is a horrible exhibit. There’s a pedophile that is glorified with the fingerprints of the children that the pedophile attacked. There are pigs in formaldehyde that are dissected. If you want to do this privately, you have every right to do it. This is not a matter of suppression. But here you’re taking hard-earned taxpayer dollars -about $12 million of it - and using it to subsidize this project.

Source: “This Week” (ABC News with Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts) , Oct 3, 1999

Free speech for private expression, not publicly-funded art

Q: [Regarding the Brooklyn Museum’s display of “Sensation”]: Doesn’t the First Amendment protect things that are yucky?

A: It does - if you want to pay for it with your own money. Taxpayer dollars shouldn’t. support religion. We shouldn’t support vicious attacks on religion either. If they did it on private property, I would equally oppose it. I would speak out against it because I think it’s disgusting. But I would have to - and I would - provide the police, provide the pavement, provide all the things that the First Amendment requires.

Q: Suppose, instead of a portrait of the Virgin Mary, splattered with excrement, it was a portrait of Martin Luther King.

A: I don’t think the museum ever would have done it. The museum board would have been too sensitive to the concerns of the minority of people that would be offended by this.. Catholic bashing goes down a little easier than some of the other things that might be done.

Source: “This Week” (ABC News with Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts) , Oct 3, 1999

No taxpayer dollars for offensive art

I think [the “Sensation”] exhibit, beyond even the desecration of the Virgin Mary, is a horrible exhibit. There’s a pedophile that is glorified with the fingerprints of the children that the pedophile attacked. There are pigs in formaldehyde that are dissected. There’s are displays of other things involving crimes of violence. If you want to do this privately, you have every right to do it. But here you’re taking hard-earned taxpayer dollars and using it to subsidize this project.
Source: ABC News’ “This Week” , Oct 3, 1999

Extended all city benefits to same-sex couples

National Republicans can lump it if they don’t like his new domestic-partners bill, Mayor Giuliani said yesterday. “I really haven’t thought about what the impact is on Republican politics or national politics or Democratic politics,” Giuliani said. The bill he submitted to the City Council would extend the benefits city agencies must grant to gay and lesbian couples. “I’m proud of it,” Giuliani said of the bill. “I think it puts New York City ahead of other places in the country.”
Source: New York Daily News, reprinted in 3/25/05 NY Observer , May 13, 1998

Dismantled affirmative action program for NYC contracts

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, facing criticism that minority-owned businesses are suffering under his administration, vigorously defends his decision three years ago to dismantle affirmative action program that steered city contracts to such businesses; says the program had been of questionable legality ever since several court decisions declared such practices unconstitutional
Source: Randy Kennedy in NY Times “Defends His Decision” , Mar 24, 1997

Supports affirmative action

Some ask, How can the Liberal Party support a candidate who disagrees with the Liberal Party position on so many gut issues? But when the Liberal Party Policy Committee reviewed a list of key social issues of deep concern to progressive New Yorkers, we found that Rudy Giuliani agreed with the Liberal Party’s stance on a majority of such issues. He agreed with the Liberal Party’s views on affirmative action, gay rights, gun control, school prayer and tuition tax credits.
Source: NY Liberal Party Endorsement, in 3/25/05 NY Observer , Apr 8, 1989

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Other big-city mayors on Civil Rights: Rudy Giuliani on other issues:

Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
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Page last updated: Oct 12, 2013