New York City's mayor, Eric Adams, is considering former City Council member Fernando Cabrera for a "faith-based" position in his administration, reports the Daily News. It's a move that's drawing condemnation from LGBTQ+ advocates because of Cabrera's history of anti-LGBTQ+ views.
In a video recorded while Cabrera was visiting Uganda in 2014 -- shortly after the country passed legislation making homosexuality illegal and punishable by life in prison -- the pastor expressed his support for the law and made it clear he felt the country was on the right path, unlike his own. An earlier version of the legislation would have provided for the death penalty in certain cases. The version that was passed was eventually struck down in court on a legal technicality.
"The United States of America has put pressure; It has told Uganda, 'We are not going to fund you anymore unless you allow gay marriage,' and they have stood in their place. Why? Because the Christians have assumed the place of decision-making for the nation. Abortions are illegal here -- things that Christians really stand for. Why? Because the Christians here took the opportunity to take their rightful place," Cabrera said at the time.
This new role isn't the first Adams has considered Cabrera for in his administration. The mayor had previously intended to tap him to head his Office of Community Health but withdrew him from consideration following backlash from activists earlier this month.
The fact that Cabrera is up for a new position in Adams's city government came to light due to questions about the controversial figure by out New York State Sen. Brad Hoylman. Upon learning that Cabrera was being tapped for a role, Hoylman reportedly said the pastor "is a bigot and has no place in City Hall," according to sources cited by the Daily News.
In turn, Adams reportedly responded, "'We can agree to disagree,' and that this is his administration and that he can do what he wants," said another of the publication's sources.
This conversation took place shortly after Adams launched the Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnership, which will serve as "a conduit between city government, the faith-based community throughout New York City, and nonprofit organizations," per a press release.
Unsurprisingly, activists are speaking out against this potential appointment.
"It would be disappointing to see him in any role in city government. Our taxpayer dollars shouldn't go to cover the salary of a bigoted homophobe," Democratic Club of NYC President Rose Christ said.
Allen Roskoff, a longtime gay rights activist in the city and cofounder of the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, also spoke out against the possibility of Cabrera joining Adams's administration. His stance is that having Cabrera in a faith-based position is "equally as unacceptable as him running the mental health office."
"How is he going to deal with LGBTQ people of faith? How is he going to deal with a gay synagogue? How is he going to deal with gay Catholics?" Roskoff said. "What is this mayor thinking? Has he no consideration for us? It's a big FU to the LGBTQ community."
He added that even considering Cabrera was a mark against Adams. "He's going to be remembered for this in the LGBTQ community," warned Roskoff.