Hundreds of supporters of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn gathered outside the historic Stonewall Inn this evening for a get-out-the-vote rally in support of the woman who is vying to be the city’s first female and openly gay mayor.
As Ms. Quinn struggles to regain her footing just four days before the primary, the former front-runner is increasingly pointing to the historic nature of her candidacy. And the rally, with local LGBT officials, minor celebrities and gay rights activists, was intended to do just that.
Although Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is vying to be the city’s first openly gay mayor, has scored many LGBT-oriented Democratic club endorsements in her bid, that hasn’t always been the case.
A couple weeks ago, an LGBT club led by a loud Quinn critic, the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, threw its support behind former Comptroller Bill Thompson. And last night, a club headed by a Quinn supporter, the Lesbian & Gay Democratic Club of Queens, voted to endorse Comptroller John Liu for City Hall.
doma in a coma
Christine Quinn, who is vying to become New York City’s first openly gay mayor, quickly summed up her feelings this morning in an MSNBC interview. She was reacting, of course, to the Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. She quickly pivoted to the New York roots of the case that overturned DOMA, United States v. Windsor.
Two mayoral candidates, Bill de Blasio and Christine Quinn, responded aggressively after a heckler berated Mr. de Blasio last night for defending gay rights.
“Shame! Shame!” yelled an Orthodox Jewish man at the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition forum as Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, attempted to explain why a Democratic rival, Erick Salgado, was wrong for criticizing gay pride parades.
Earlier today, Washington Wizard’s center Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. And, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who’s vying to become the first openly gay mayor of New York City, is rather happy about it.
“What Jason did today is literally going to save lives,” Ms. Quinn said in a statement. “Because the greatest athletes – who are children’s heroes more than athletes? – are also LGBT and it’s okay.”
As the fiery Rev. Rubén Díaz Sr., a New York State Senator, thundered against same-sex marriage in the nation’s capital, his son, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr., was about to do the very opposite. The younger Díaz was joining a wave of politicians who have recently reversed their positions in favor of gay marriage, but his father said he was unswayed by the momentum against him.
“Marriage is sacred. Marriage is an institution established by God and it should stay that way,” he said. “The majority is not always right. 2,000 years ago the majority chose the rabbi and rejected Jesus. Now, the majority are rejecting the Bible and not choosing Jesus. I know my conviction and I know I will not change my view. I could be only one in the whole world and I would not change my view.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn launched her campaign yesterday with a nod to her roots by kicking off a five borough “walk and talk” tour at the intersection of Broadway and Isham Street in Inwood a stone’s throw from a church with ties to her family. Ms. Quinn used the tale of her grandparents’ journey from New York to Ireland to emphasize the main theme of her campaign–fighting for the middle class. Along with articulating her message, the five borough tour allowed Ms. Quinn to directly address the central questions and controversies surrounding her campaign, namely, her seemingly close ties to the current occupant of City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“It’s very exciting to get to be here right across the street from the church where my parents were married, and my sister was baptized and my grandfather was buried, from right near where my mother grew up to announce that today I am officially running to be the mayor of the great City of New York,” declared Ms. Quinn in the first of the day’s five speeches. “This is a city where, 100 years ago, all four of my grandparents, really just kids basically, got on ships and went across oceans … They had heard that magical things could happen here, that if you came here you could get work, you could get decent housing, you could be free and you could get out of poverty. And that’s what this city did for them and for my family it gave us a gateway into the middle class. … That’s the ultimate truth about New York, that it needs to remain and become even more that place of opportunity, a place that’s a beacon for the middle class and people who are fighting so hard to get into that middle class.”
In his State of the Union address this evening, President Barack Obama addressed several hot-button political issues including climate change, immigration reform and gun control. Overall, the president’s speech struck a populist tone, but when bringing up his proposals to address some of these more controversial issues, he characterized them as making good business sense.
While selling his book at Princeton University earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia defended moral opposition to gay marriage by asking, “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder?” According to the Associated Press, Mr. Scalia said he wasn’t equating murder and homosexuality but rather making a logical argument entitled “reduction to the absurd,” but Council Speaker Christine Quinn, an openly gay candidate for mayor next year, wasn’t remotely satisfied with his explanation.
“It’s offensive!” Ms. Quinn exclaimed on Hardball yesterday evening. “Sexual orientation is who we are as people, it’s how we’re created if we’re the LGBT [community]. To compare that–even in a way you want to say was some philosophical exercise–to a heinous, horrible crime of murder? It’s just wrong. He can say it’s a slip of the tongue and that’s fine and we all of them; God knows I have. Just apologize. But don’t compare me to a murderer because I’m a lesbian. Just don’t do it. It’s wrong.”
A rally hosted by Al Sharpton’s National Action Network this morning that was ostensibly held to discuss the situation in the State Senate featured all of the likely Democratic mayoral candidates blasting the New York Post for a cartoon the tabloid published in response to Politicker’s story about Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray’s, past as a lesbian activist. Mr. de Blasio, with Ms. McCray by his side, was the last of the candidates to speak. Mr. de Blasio began by thanking Ms. Sharpton for supporting him and his wife in the days since the story came out, which he said had been “painful and challenging for us.” He went on to talk about meeting Ms. McCray.
“Twenty one years ago Chirlane and I were working in City Hall for Mayor Dinkins. I met this beautiful, strong woman. And I’ve said many times, for me it was love at first sight. It may have taken Chirlane a little longer,” said Mr. de Blasio. “I got to know her and I saw a human being that I fell deeper and deeper in love with, a human being. And I am so proud of the years of struggle and activism, of what she did for women, for the LGBT community, for people of color and the anti-apartheid movement. I am so proud of this woman and the good work she did.”