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How Come None of NY’s Gay Groups Are Criticizing Gov Hopeful Andrew Cuomo?

Remember the good old days, when all a politician had to do to court the gay vote was march in their silly pride parade? Well Andrew Cuomo, New York’s attorney general and gubernatorial candidate, did just that in Manhattan last month. So how come some of you don’t believe he’s a vehement gay rights advocate?

Because maybe he’s, uh, not. Not only did Cuomo opt not to put much effort behind convincing certain New York state senators to back same-sex marriage, but he’s basically a johnny come lately in all matters queer, relays the Times.

But a review of his record in and out of government, and interviews with dozens of those who have worked with him, reveal a fraught relationship between Mr. Cuomo and gays and lesbians dating to the 1970s, when he entered New York politics.

Over a 30-year career in public life, Mr. Cuomo has been slow to take on gay-rights battles or display leadership on key issues, advocates for gay rights say. His handling of same-sex marriage, they say, is telling: He did not publicly support it until he ran for attorney general in 2006 — eight years after Eliot Spitzer said he favored it and 12 years after Mr. Paterson did so.

As a result, many gay leaders are quietly expressing skepticism about the depth of his commitment, even as they accept, with lockstep resignation, his likely ascent as governor, and try to ingratiate themselves with his political operation.

But he’s a Democrat, so they’ll vote for him anyway.

The most telling part of the article, however, is who is and isn’t speaking on the record. Reporter Micahel Barbaro says “many gay leaders are quietly expressing skepticism about the depth of his commitment, even as they accept, with lockstep resignation, his likely ascent as governor, and try to ingratiate themselves with his political operation.” Surely by “gay leaders” he means folks at Empire State Pride Agenda? Or Fight Back New York? Or HRC’s new Campaign for New York Marriage? Except none of them are quoted in the piece, which means either Barbaro didn’t make the obvious phone calls, or these groups don’t want to publicly take a stance on Cuomo. Which is a disservice to voters.

Only the always-available-to-be-quoted Allen Roskoff and Libby Post, Empire State Pride Agenda’s founding chair (who is now a communications strategist and no longer works for the group, and who received an honor from Andrew Cuomo’s father Gov. Mario Cuomo) are on hand to offer their insights. Virginia M. Apuzzo, a “gay adviser” to Gov. Mario Cuomo, is there with platitudes for the boss’ son and says Andrew is “prepared to be a strong ally.”

Something’s amiss.

UPDATE: ESPA’s communications director Stephanie Berger emails us: “In response to your post on the New York Times’ story on Cuomo today, we wanted to let you know that the Pride Agenda wasn’t consulted for this story. In fact, the Pride Agenda’s experience with Attorney General Andrew Cuomo doesn’t match up with today’s story in the New York Times. On the same day that he announced his candidacy for Governor, Cuomo issued a video statement, shown at our Spring Dinner in Rochester, in which he clearly and directly gave his support for and pledged to work with us to win marriage equality, transgender rights and protections for LGBT students.” So New York Gay Inc. does love him?

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21 Comments

  • CHIP1218

    Yes, Cuomo isn’t as fierce an advocate on marriage as Spitzer ot Patterson, but our other option is Rick Lazio and he will VETO any marriage equality bill that could get passed by the legislature (depending on the outcome of the Senatorial elections in November).

  • tjr101

    Queerty seems to be grasping at straws here. Can you guys actually find something concrete to criticize him on?

  • Andrew

    “But he’s a Democrat, so they’ll vote for him anyway.”

    I have an idea. Let’s stop attacking the only party to ever stand up for us, — and instead, support specifically the members of that party whom actively support our rights while making it clear we will not blanket support Dems whom put them on the back burner.

    Sound good?

  • Peter Yacobellis

    My parents — the two people who love me most, took 30 years to get to a place of understanding and further: wanting to fight for my rights. From that perspective I fully embrace individual evolution on our issues (so long as they get to the enlightened place when it counts). Andrew Cuomo unabashedly champions the full LGBT agenda. I don’t doubt the strength of his support nor his commitment to make marriage and other rights/protections a priority in his administration.

  • Someone who disagrees with you

    As a member of the lgbt community, I am excited about Andrew Cuomo becoming Governor. I’m surprised you didn’t refer to the video he did outlining what he would do as Governor on lgbt issues. It’s outstanding. People should watch it for themselves:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-9yzMAgq1U

    Andrew Cuomo got a great response at the Pride Agenda’s dinner in Rochester a few months ago when the video was shown.

    And the reason the Empire State Pride Agenda isn’t quoted is because they weren’t asked. They even put out a statement to that effect which you don’t refer to, and they include a link to their video.

    Why didn’t you refer to the video or the pride agenda statement? that is a disservice to the community.

    Why weren’t you quoted in the times article? are we supposed to read something into that?

    the bottom line is you don’t know who the reporter spoke to. If he didn’t speak to people, they weren’t given the opportunity to be quoted.

    And we have every reason to be excited about having a governor who doesn’t just mouth support – but knows how to get things done.

  • Peter Yacobellis

    It is worth noting that Attorney General Cuomo came out for marriage equality in the middle of the last decade — long before many other leaders like Senator Schumer, President Clinton or Mayor Bloomberg. What matters is not the timeline of someone’s evolution towards embracing full equality; but the conviction and passion they have for it and further — how hard they fight with us.

  • tjr101

    Let’s see, John Lynch, Donald Carcieri, Jodie Rell, Chris Christie are all republican governors in blue north east states and every one of them do not support equal rights for the LGBT community. Rick Lazio will be no different from these so called moderate bigots in the GOP.

  • Clark

    Look at the alternatives. All the GOP primary candidates would never support marriage equality.

  • jason

    Is there anyone Queery doesn’t see as the enemy? (other than Davey Wavey)

  • jhd

    Wasn’t Andrew Cuomo the one who printed the signs “Vote for Cuomo not the Homo” for his father’s mayoral campaign?

  • Brutus

    They are. Do you pay attention to the news?

  • InAlbany

    Scared about the prospects of marriage equality in NYS? So am I. I strongly believe we need more lgbt senators if we want to win this. Right now we have the chance to elect only the second (!) openly gay candidate in NY State history. His name is Luke Martland. I talked to him during gay pride here in Albany, and he’s really passionate lgbt and marriage equality. I’m actually volunteering for his campaign over the summer (I live close to Albany). Check out his website, donate (doesn’t matter where in NY State you live – marriage equality affects everybody in NY state), or volunteer!!

  • jason

    Cuomo has a face that reeks “phony”. New York’s gay groups are serving the Democratic Party, and not the GLBT cause.

    Overall, you guys need to stop falling for the spin from Democratic Party politicians. They’re vile and will do anything to get our votes. They are not that much better than the Republicans. At least Republicans, vile as they are, don’t lie about their intentions.

  • Andrew

    @InAlbany: He’s running against a pro-marriage equality Senator. We really don’t need infighting, we should be targeting money to unseat Diaz and his horde of scum, — not those who supported us.

  • InAlbany

    @Andrew: Andrew – Martland is running against Breslin who indeed has voted the ‘right’ way. Nothing more, nothing less. Despite some claims from his campaign, he did next to nothing to get the marriage bill passed. But true, the choice between Breslin and Martland is not a choice between bad and good. It’s a choice between good and better. And I’ll take better, if I have the choice. Especially when the better option is openly gay. As for giving money to unseat anti-lgbt folks: some of the anti-gay Senators are simply not vulnerable, no matter how much money is being spent. If we want to improve our chances to get marriage equality passed, we need more of our own.

  • Brutus

    What are Martland’s positions on other issues? Given that Breslin at least voted in favor of equality, I’m not going to vote for an opposing candidate just because he’s gay.

  • unreligious

    @InAlbany: I agree. Tom Duanes presence in the Senate has done more to change attitudes than anything any straight supporter has done. It’s a lot harder to vote against someone when you have to look them in the eye.

  • Joe

    Well, the least we can do is vote for a true progressive attorney general this September. VOTE ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN! Seriously, NY would be a step backwards with the (“former”) Republican Kathleen Rice as the Democratic nominee.

  • Mario.P. Hepp

    To: [email protected]; David Axelrod ; rachel Maddow ; [email protected]; [email protected]; N Y Dems

    Attention Senator Thomas Duane

    —– Forwarded Message —-

    Subject: Same Sex/Holder

    Gov’t drops defense of anti-gay marriage law
    Attention: Eric Holder

    You are a disgrace to the position of U.S

    Attorney General. You and that Anti-American Black Muslim Dirtbag are sleeping

    in bed together.

    This move by Osoma appointing a “Bone Smoker” as social director for the Whitehouse

    is a move to win over the Gay vote.

    Subject: Gays

    To whom it may concern:

    I along with millions of Americans are tired of these gays looking to be accepted by the main
    stream population of this great nation.This
    same sex marriage,don’t ask don’t tell and these civil wedding are totally disgraceful.I
    personally feel that these individuals are nothing more than diseased animals and being
    such, should be “Euthanized”as you would do to any diseased animal.

    Champ63

    This email was also sent to the following.
    CNN,MSMBC,FOX,ABC,CBS,NBC,Black Action Network,
    home of the “Nappy Haired Hoe Al Sharpton )Washington Post,N.Y.Times,Media Matters,Senator Charles Schumer,Senator Kristern Gillibrand,National Republican Party,National Democratic Party,National Gay and Lesbian Alliance,Congressman Chris Gibson,Congressman Steny Hoyer, Rachel “Butch” Maddow,,A.C.L.U.Chicago Tribune,Miami Herald,Moveon.org,Huffington Post and
    L.A.Times.

  • Mario.P. Hepp

    To: [email protected]; David Axelrod ; rachel Maddow ; [email protected]; [email protected]; N Y Dems

    —– Forwarded Message —-

    Subject: Same Sex/Holder

    Gov’t drops defense of anti-gay marriage law
    Attention: Eric Holder

    You are a disgrace to the position of U.S

    Attorney General. You and that Anti-American Black Muslim Dirtbag are sleeping

    in bed together.

    This move by Osoma appointing a “Bone Smoker” as social director for the Whitehouse

    is a move to win over the Gay vote.

    Subject: Gays

    To whom it may concern:

    I along with millions of Americans are tired of these gays looking to be accepted by the main
    stream population of this great nation.This
    same sex marriage,don’t ask don’t tell and these civil wedding are totally disgraceful.I
    personally feel that these individuals are nothing more than diseased animals and being
    such, should be “Euthanized”as you would do to any diseased animal.

    Mario P. Hepp
    Glens Falls N.Y.

    This email was also sent to the following.
    CNN,MSMBC,FOX,ABC,CBS,NBC,Black Action Network,
    home of the “Nappy Haired Hoe Al Sharpton )Washington Post,N.Y.Times,Media Matters,Senator Charles Schumer,Senator Kristern Gillibrand,National Republican Party,National Democratic Party,National Gay and Lesbian Alliance,Congressman Chris Gibson,Congressman Steny Hoyer, Rachel “Butch” Maddow,,A.C.L.U.Chicago Tribune,Miami Herald,Moveon.org,Huffington Post and
    L.A.Times.

  • Mario P. Hepp

    Thu, June 23, 2011 7:02:39 PMObama/ Major Nidal Hasan
    From: Mario Hepp Add to Contacts
    To: [email protected]

    ——————————————————————————–

    ATT: Base Commander Fort Drum N.Y

    —– Forwarded Message —-

    Subject: Major Nidal Hasan/Senator Little

    Senator Betty Little:

    I would appreciate if you would foward this information to the appropriate individual.
    I would like an answer to when this Anti American Black Muslim Dirtbag Major Nidal
    Hasan is going to be prosecuted to the full letter of the law,for the murder of 13
    innocent individuals along with 31 injured at the Fort Hood Texas Army Base on
    11/13/09.I have spoken to the U.S Attorney General Eric Holders office and left a comment pretaining to this terrible tragedy.

    P.S. I have spoken to You and Congressman Chris Gibson on this subject one
    evening several months ago at ACC.

    Thank You
    Mario P. Hepp

    —– Forwarded Message —-
    I have spoken to an individual at your city desk on 2/23/11 ( Albany Times Union
    Newspaper Albany N.Y. ) I would appreciate if you would post this letter in your
    letters to the editor. This letter was posted in my local paper (The Glens Falls Post Star) on 2/20/11

    Sent: Sun, February 13, 2011 12:39:29 PM
    Subject: Fw: Major Nidal Hasan

    To Whom it may concern:

    Obama the Left Wing Liberal Anti American Muslim Dirtbag Has to Go ! !

    Subject: Major Nidal Hasan

    Title of article : President ignored attack by Muslim.

    I feel for the people that lost their lives at this tragedy in Tucson on Jan 8th but what about the 13 individuals that died at Fort Hood and 31 injured by that
    Anti American Black Muslim Terrorist Maj Nidal Malik Hasan.Why wasn’t this tragedy cover like the shooting in Tucson ?
    This Obama followed this tragedy
    with a speech and used it as a political platform,what a disgrace.
    The Left Wing Liberal Media reported very little about this tragedy at Fort Hood.This Obama is a total disgrace to the Presidency of the United States.This Obama turns a blind eye to his brother Muslim terrorists that are committing these crimes against Americans.

    Mario P. Hepp
    Glens Falls N.Y.

    Email sent to, Fox News,CNN,MSNBC,Democratic National Committee,Muslim American Alliance,
    Republican National Committee,Media Matters,Black Action Network,
    Senator Charles Schumer,Senator Kristen Gillibrand,Harry Reid,Nancy
    Pelosi,Attorney General Eric Holder,CBS,NBC,ABC,Washington Post,
    Chicago Tribune,N.Y.Times,Huffington Post,N.Y.Daily News,Congressman Chris
    Gibson,Congressman Paul Tonko and the
    Whitehouse.

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