Heyer: I’m not afraid of Lambda forum

The Brooklyn Paper
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John Heyer is not going to let his conservative views get in the way of a possible endorsement.

After being vilified by downtown Brooklyn liberals for his stance on gay marriage and abortion, Heyer said he’s not thinking twice about going to a candidate’s forum sponsored by the Lambda Independent Democrats, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) political club where it’s almost assured that these views will weigh heavily on their decision.

The Lambda Independent Democrats are currently at the forefront for the fight to legalize gay marriage in New York.

“I feel that anytime someone invites you to a fair setting to hear your ideas, it’s your obligation to show up,” said Heyer, who had bowed out of an Independent Neighborhood Democrats (IND) candidate’s night last month because he felt club president Kenn Lowy was going to attack his conservative viewpoints. To the chagrin of club liberals, Heyer still won the endorsement of club. A few days later, Lowy announced that he was going to take a leave of absence as president until after the primary.

“You have to let people know who you’re about and what you stand for,” Heyer said. “In the end, the club will endorse you or not, but since everyone works together, it is important to go to all of the forums.”

As this paper went to press, no fireworks were expected to be held at the Lambda candidate’s night, which was scheduled for Thursday, June 4, at Camp Friendship, 339 Eighth Street.

Yet political insiders said that Bob Zuckerman, the only openly gay candidate in the race to replace Bill de Blasio, will most likely win the Lambda endorsement.

“I’m not taking anything for granted,” said Zuckerman when contacted by this paper. “I’ve been working the phones every day asking friends and supporters to come out and support our campaign.

“I’m hopeful, but until the vote is taken, nothing is set in stone,” continued Zuckerman, who had actually just received the endorsement of the Stonewall Democrats, a city−wide LGBT political club.

Other candidates vying for the 39th Councilmanic District include Brad Lander, Gary Reilly and Josh Skaller. Forum organizers said that all of the candidates were expected to attend, as well as the seven candidates vying for the 33rd Councilmanic District in Brooklyn Heights.

Lambda members were also expected to “break a tie” between comptroller candidates David Yassky and John Liu and select who they will endorse for the citywide position, organizers explained.

The forum was expected to be outlined in a simple way: candidates will each speak for a few minutes then take questions from the floor.

“The questions are up to the audience,” said one Lambda member, who wished not to be named. “We’re assuming that the issue of gay marriage will come up, but it won’t be raised in a unique or special way. It will probably come up naturally in the course of the forum.”

Lambda President Mary Cooley said Wednesday that Heyer was free to attend the forum.

“It’s open to all candidates, so he is more than welcome to attend,” said Cooley.

Also happy to hear about Heyer’s attendance was former Lambda president and Park Slope Democratic District Leader Alan Fleishman, who spoke out against the Carroll Gardens resident’s conservative outlook before the IND endorsement.

“I’m glad he’s coming,” said Fleishman. “People may not like what he has to say, but they’ll treat him respectful­ly.”

Heyer said that he wasn’t expecting a lynching since many of his friends and colleagues are Lambda members.

“Regardless of how some people present me, everyone will know that I’m someone who is not against what LID stands for,” Heyer said. “I’m for equality of all people, I just have a different approach.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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