After New York’s ridiculous, and preventable, defeat of marriage equality in the State Senate in December, Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Alan van Capelle is leaving his post. Because they lost?
That’s not how he’s spinning it. Van Capelle, the well-liked veteran activist, is leaving his post to take up with incoming New York City Comptroller John Liu. (His deputy Joe Tarver takes over as interim director.) ESPA staffers found out about Van Capelle’s move at a staff meeting this morning; one insider tells us that “[while] it’s sad to see him go, it’s definitely time.”
As the organization’s longest serving executive director (he began in April 2003), Van Capelle has been hunting for marriage equality in New York State for years. But despite falling short on that front, ESPA has delivered much under his stewardship. Aside from increasing its budget threefold, the group helped push domestic partnership recognition — from spousal benefits to hospital visitation — through New York’s notoriously fractured legislature.
So what will be Van Capelle’s last breath of his ESPA legacy? Aside from helping at least put the marriage bill to a vote, so constituents could learn which senators to get rid of? Coming to the aid of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — and going on the assault against gay marriage flip-flopper Harold Ford Jr.