Ceretto Loss is LGBT Victory

For the most part, Niagara Falls’ LGBT community isn’t shedding any tears over John Ceretto’s impending departure from public service.

Ceretto’s defeat at the hands of retired City Court Judge Angelo Morinello over the hotly contested 145th District New York State Assembly seat became practically a fait accompli after numerous alleged violations of election law were uncovered, including fundraising activities out of his office by phone and mail and campaign planning meetings taking place there.

In addition, leaked emails, authored mainly by senior staffer Rob Nichols, revealed a seamier side of Ceretto’s political dealings. In revelations reminiscent of Richard Nixon’s infamous Enemies List, certain individuals and groups were blacklisted by the scheming Nichols when it came to receiving state aid from the assemblyman’s office, including this writer.

“Jim, I wound (sic) like to set down with you and have a conversation – I feel that it would be the right thing for me to do. If you are interested give me a call at 213-3295,” messaged Rob Nichols in the run-up to election day.

As his six-year tenure in the state legislature wraps up, the plain truth that Ceretto mostly acted in his, not his constituents’, best interests, didn’t come as much of a surprise to Niagara Falls’ prosperous and influential LGBT community and its straight supporters since, as one of his first official acts, John Ceretto voted against the 2011 New York State Marriage Equality Act.

“As you may or may not know, I am a proud member of the Catholic Community. It is just as important to me as it is to you to keep the sanctity of marriage between and man and a woman,” pronounced Assemblyman John Ceretto in another embarrassing email, dated April 12, 2011. “My family is extremely important to me and I agree that it is authentic marriage and a nuclear family that really is (sic) the fundamental blocks of our civilization. Because of these reasons, if and when a bill comes before me on the Assembly floor regarding legalizing same-sex marriage, or redefining marriage I will vote against it.”

It may come as a shock to many people who voted for John Ceretto over the years that he wasn’t representing them in the state legislature, he was in fact representing the Catholic Community. And while politicians going as far back as President John Kennedy and farther took pains to separate their private religious beliefs from the formulation of public policy, it appears the assemblyman had no problems whatsoever blurring the constitutional line.

Of course, by stating “My family is extremely important to me,” Ceretto seems to be implying that non-traditional families are something of a threat to his marriage, “authentic marriage” is desirable to “inauthentic marriage”, and the Marriage Equality Act doesn’t do much for “civilization”.

More at home in the 21st century than his predecessor, Assemblyman-elect Morinello, a Republican, has stated that he is supportive of the Marriage Equality Act. In all likelihood he will have an opportunity to consider GENDA (the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act) which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression and will most likely come up for a vote this year.


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