The long and winding road to LGBTQ rights

Gov. Andrew Cuomo smiles and waves in the 2015 New York City Pride.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo smiles and waves in the 2015 New York City Pride.
The Office of Andrew M. Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo smiles and waves in the 2015 New York City Pride.

The long and winding road to LGBTQ rights

Gay rights advocates turned a 2009 loss in New York into a victory.
June 21, 2019

In June 2010, City & State’s predecessor publication, City Hall News, assembled a list of “13 power players helping shape the future of LGBT political involvement in New York.” The political heavyweights on the list, including then-New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Thomas Duane, the first openly gay person elected to the state Senate, weighed in on the state of gay politics in New York.

Emily Giske, a Bolton-St. Johns partner on the list, predicted that New York was on the verge of legalizing same-sex marriage, which had fallen short in a disastrous 2009 vote. The most important thing “is to elect a pro-marriage Democratic majority in the New York State Senate and Andrew Cuomo for governor,” Giske said. “After the loss in the Senate last December, the community has realized we need to focus on elections like never before.”

Giske’s prediction came true, in part. Gay rights advocates helped elect Cuomo and installed key allies in the state Senate, although they failed to keep a Senate Democratic majority.

Cuomo went on to champion same-sex marriage in 2011, muscling it across the finish line with help from unexpected quarters – a remarkable tale told by the players themselves in this week’s magazine. Appropriately enough, given the growing clout of the LGBTQ community, we also have another, longer list to unveil: the Pride Power 100.

Jon Lentz
is City & State’s editor-in-chief.
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