State Senator Warns Central Park Field Hospital Not To Discriminate Against LGBTQ

Steve Burns
March 31, 2020 - 3:34 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Concerns are being raised over the group running the field hospital in Central Park and the views of its founder.

Samaritan's purse is on notice, says New York State Senator Brad Hoylman.

“Bigotry has no place during this virus,” Hoylman said.

The group has put up a 68-bed field hospital in Central Park, but it's founder Franklin Graham has not been shy about his anti-LGBTQ stances.

“He has suggested that Satan is behind the marriage equality movement,” the senator said.

In a statement, Hoylman said he is putting Graham and his organization on notice.

“Today I’m calling on Franklin Graham to publicly assure LGBTQ New Yorkers that they will receive the same treatment as anyone else at the Central Park field hospital. The City of New York and the Mount Sinai hospital network must monitor conditions closely at Graham’s facility and ensure every single LGBTQ patient is treated fairly. We cannot abandon our moral compass in the middle of a pandemic," the state sentaor wrote.

The group's website asks all volunteers to read and adhere to a statement of faith, which defines marriage as between a "genetic male and genetic female."

Hoylman says New York needs all the help it can get, “But at the same time, we have standards of anti-discrimination in the state of New York that need to be followed.”

Graham, in a letter responding to Hoylman, writes that the group does not discriminate and that the hospital is open to all.

New Yorkers are encouraged to contact the NYC Commission of Human Rights at 718-722-3131 or Senator Hoylman’s office at 212-633-8052 with any reports of discrimination.

LGBTQ New Yorkers already experience health disparities compared to the general population, including higher rates of HIV, cancer and respiratory health issues. This means many LGBTQ New Yorkers have weaker immune systems or pre-existing conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.