NY’s First Openly Gay and HIV+ Senator Retires

Democratic State Senator Thomas K. Duane — who first introduced Marriage Equality to New York State — will announce his retirement today. Duane made headlines back in 1991, when he first won an office at the New York City Council after announcing that he was not only gay, but HIV+.

During Duane’s nearly 14-year tenure as a State Senator, he became an instrumental figure for gay rights when, back in 2009, he introduced legislation allowing same sex marriage in New York State. When that initial bill failed to pass, many fingers pointed at Duane. Cut to three years later, and Same-Sex Marriage is now legal in New York. Woo-hoo! This wouldn’t be reality today without Duane’s road-paving past effort.

After Duane finishes his term in December, he won’t go for re-election. There’s no dramatic reason, according to The New York Times: “he had simply tired of ricocheting between the city and Albany, as he has for nearly 14 years — a number he repeated at least a dozen times — and that he was eager to try something new.”

Best of luck to Senator Duane. Without him, we wouldn’t be allowed to legally marry today.

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