To supplement The New York Times' article, "Doubts About Cuomo's Support of Gay Rights," I can add a reminiscence.
I remember Kevin Finnegan (at the time I think council to SEIU NYS) walking Andrew Cuomo around at the LGBT Center's annual garden party years ago, perhaps about 10 yrs ago, and I never saw a politician look so utterly uncomfortable and scared by being in the midst of (gasp!) gay people. It is seared in my memory Having been active in politics in Iowa, the UK, Connecticut, and New York, I have been with many politicians at gay-related events, and Cuomo's general demeanor, body language, and presentation were so tortured that it was almost pitiable. However, I credited him then, and credit him now, for showing up. Clearly, he didn't want to be there, but there he was.
Both Kevin and I had served on Manhattan Community Board 5, and I took it as a good sign that Cuomo was with a savvy, smart, LGBT politico. After all, he didn't look freaked-out by Kevin--just by everyone else! Maybe it was like Hitchcock's The Birds. One bird isn't scary. But hundreds of them at a time are rather disconcerting.
It was all very surreal. And unforgettable. About a decade later, and still this memory of terrified Andrew, one that throughout the intervening years has come back nearly every time I have seen him on television.
People evolve--if they're lucky enough, wise enough, intellectually honest enough. And it seems to me that Cuomo is not now as uncomfortable around Americans who happen to be gay. At least he'll march with them in a parade, and isn't opposed to calling Speaker Quinn.
Eleanor Roosevelt once admonished Gore Vidal, "Forgive, but never forget." I support Andrew Cuomo's candidacy. But, I look a bit askance as he did that day at the Garden Party. "Trust but verify," as a former GE spokesman and WHO newscaster once said.
We'll see what Cuomo's action will be for LGBT New Yorkers. If he's willing to drive LGBT rights forward only so long as he can plug his nose while doing it, I'll gladly lend him a clothespin.
(Photo, L to R: a likely next governor and a current one.)