Despite the presence of a contestant named “Butch,” a protest for marriage equality planned to interrupt an eating contest yesterday failed to take off. There will be a big rally for marriage equality this evening outside state senator Marty Golden‘s office, but activists had also hoped to infiltrate his co-sponsored ice cream eating contest at Bay Ridge’s Fifth Avenue Festival. “We need your help to turn it into an LGBT equality ice-cream-eating contest,” blogger and activist Scott Rose had said. “Without mentioning that you support LGBT-equality, sign up for the competition, wear a marriage equality t-shirt, or buttons, or some similar LGBT-equality-affirming garments or accessories.” (Rose has not responded yet to a request for comment.)
But out of the eight or so contestants—including Congressman Michael Grimm staffer Liam McCabe—none wore a rainbow pin or a marriage equality t-shirt, though there was certainly room for such a contender; close to the 2 p.m. starting time, contest officials were still recruiting competitors. (Noted local competitive eater Will Millender stood in the crowd and watched, presumably saving his gullet for the subsequent pizza-eating contest outside Rocco’s.) The event, whose grand prize was a $200 gift certificate to L&B Spumoni Gardens, boasted a Who’s Who of local Republican politicians: Assembly member Nicole Malliotakis turned up chewing gum, fingering her smartphone with one hand and a miniature American flag with the other; Grimm—of the notorious “All the white people get out of here” comment—arrived shortly before the contest ended to tell the crowd their community was the best in the country.
And of course the man himself, State Senator Martin J. Golden, dressed in
pajamas “weekend clothes,” popped in shortly before the contest began. As volunteer paramedics stood to the side and entrants attempted to eat 1.5 gallons of ice cream in 15 minutes, Marty worked the dozens-deep crowd, getting applause going while smiling for photo ops. Then, shortly after the contest began, he disappeared.
“Fun things like this,” local rocker Frankie Marra said on a nearby stage, “wouldn’t be possible without the support of our local politicians.” Maybe, but sexual equality would!