LGBTQ Clubs Slam Shaun Donovan for Endorsing Fernando Cabrera

Fernando Cabrera and Shaun Donovan endorsed each other in the Bronx on May 21.
Shaun Donovan campaign

Three LGBTQ political clubs in New York City are denouncing mayoral hopeful Shaun Donovan for his cross-endorsement of Bronx borough president candidate Fernando Cabrera in light of the city lawmaker’s history of anti-LGBTQ remarks and votes.

Cabrera only endorsed Donovan as his number two candidate — behind Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — in the race for mayor, while Donovan outright endorsed Cabrera for Bronx borough president, calling him the “future borough president.”

“For over a decade, Fernando has shown up for the people of the Bronx and I know he will continue to show up as borough president, and I know together, we will show up for the people of New York City,” Donovan said.

The Donovan campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the cross-endorsement sparked outrage from queer political clubs.

“Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, and Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn condemn mayoral candidate Shaun Donovan’s endorsement of Bronx borough president candidate Fernando Cabrera,” the clubs said in a joint statement. “During a 2014 visit to Uganda, Cabrera praised its government’s flagrant human rights violations against LGBTQ+ individuals and espoused his support for theocratic government. In addition, by working with extremist, anti-choice, anti-women, and anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, Fernando Cabrera has made it clear that he does not stand with us. Cabrera actively works against all of us and his policy positions are in opposition to the ideals of fairness and equality. We call on you to withdraw your endorsement and reject Cabrera’s support of your campaign”

Gay City News has reported on the long list of Cabrera’s anti-LGBTQ actions, including the comments he made in 2014 while on a trip to Uganda after that nation passed a “kill the gays” bill, which called for the death penalty but later got reduced to a law requiring long prison sentences.

While in Uganda, Cabrera falsely said in a video posted on YouTube that the US threatened to pull funding from Uganda if they continued to push anti-gay policies.

“Even when the United States of America has put pressure, has told Uganda, ‘We are not going to fund you anymore unless you allow gay marriage,’ they have stood in their place,” Cabrera said at the time. “Why? Because the Christians have assumed the place of decision-making for the nation.”

Gay City News also reported on Cabrera’s role as founder and pastor of New Life Outreach International Church in the Bronx — which has a statement of faith asserting that marriage is “the exclusive covenantal union of one man and one woman.”

Cabrera has a history of ties to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a far-right anti-LGBTQ legal group fighting to restrict queer rights across the nation.

“We need to have a new generation of young people that are going to raise the banner for family values, for those things that have made our nation great and the values Alliance Defending Freedom has been fighting for,” he said in 2014.

During his time in the City Council, Cabrera has voted in opposition to LGBTQ rights before. He voted against a bill to allow folks to change their gender marker on their birth certificates and opposed complementary legislation to create an advisory board to enforce that law. In 2019, when anti-LGBTQ Bronx Councilmember Ruben Diaz, Sr. was punished by his colleagues for his homophobic comments, Cabrera abstained from a vote to dissolve Diaz’s Committee on For-Hire Vehicles.

Donovan’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

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