When a Lesbian Marriage Trivializes a Political Career

Council Speaker Christine Quinn in her City Hall office, with a photo of her father, Lawrence, behind her. | DONNA ACETO

Christine Quinn, just named to Out magazine’s annual Out100, began her career as a tenant activist, then got on board on the ground floor of State Senator Tom Duane’s political career, becoming his chief of staff while he served on the City Council. After several years as executive director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, Quinn was elected to the City Council in 1999, when Duane resigned to assume his Senate seat.

Since 2006, Quinn has been the speaker of the Council and become the most powerful woman in New York State politics. She is widely considered a leading candidate in next year’s mayoral race, and has broad and heart-felt support among many in the LGBT community. Quinn also has critics in progressive circles, including some queer activists, over her close ties to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and her key role in lifting term limits in 2009 to allow the mayor and herself to seek another four years in office.

Quinn’s wedding this past spring was a huge media event, and with Bloomberg, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and several US House members in attendance, it was also undoubtedly an important political moment in her career.

That wedding is what Out magazine thinks its readers should know about the speaker. In its release about Quinn’s inclusion in the Out100, the magazine wrote, “Christine Quinn & Kim Catullo: If New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is elected the city’s mayor in 2013, many will point to her nuptials this May to her longtime girlfriend lawyer Kim Catullo, as the deciding factor. Quinn would become the first female and first openly gay mayor of New York, and her lavish wedding, is cited as having helped soften a legendarily tough image.”

Quinn is no doubt thrilled to be named to the Out100… I guess.