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Conservatives won't back N. Hempstead's Gross

Leslie Gross, a Democrat, is the Town of

Leslie Gross, a Democrat, is the Town of North Hempstead clerk. (May 28, 2009) Photo Credit: Kathy Kmonicek

Switching party lines was not enough to secure Leslie Gross -- a North Hempstead Democrat running with Republicans for town clerk -- the endorsement of the Nassau County Conservative Party.

Party chairman Daniel F. Donovan Jr. said this week that Gross, an incumbent, did not align with his principles, calling her a proponent of same-sex marriage. (The town clerk is also its chief marriage officer.)

"She doesn't agree with my position on family values," Donovan said Wednesday.

Last month Gross, saying she felt uncertain about her future on the town Democratic slate, joined supervisor candidate Dina De Giorgio on the GOP ticket. Gross has held the post for six years and will face Nassau County Legis. Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn), whose legislative seat Republicans redistricted in March.

Donovan said, "She told us that she was proud to be the first one to [marry same sex couples]. . . and that was like sticking the thumb in your eye." He added, "I'm a practicing Catholic, I'm married for 54 years to the same woman, I have 13 grandchildren and that just sticks in my throat. That's just incompatible with my thinking."

Gross recalled the conversation differently, saying that during a meeting last month with party officials she brought up neither same-sex marriage, which has been legal in New York since 2011, nor her views on abortion (she says she's pro-abortion rights).

"It was just about personal philosophy," she said of her interview.

Donovan said every other North Hempstead candidate on the GOP slate received the party's endorsements and that he is open to finding a challenger for Gross.


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