Gov. David A. Paterson, who has made advancing gay rights as central to his policymaking, was greeted enthusiastically at the gay pride parade in New York. James Estrin / The New York Times
Today was the first time a serving New York governor marched in the gay pride parade. He has walked in the parade, on and off, since 1976! I would like to think my headline above just made some conservative idiot's head explode.
From the NY Times:
If there was ever any doubt that gay people form one of Gov. David A. Paterson's most loyal and enthusiastic constituencies, that doubt was erased on Sunday by the howl of a drag queen on Fifth Avenue.
The drag queen, standing at the foot of the steps to the New York Public Library dressed in a green Afro wig, a red miniskirt and candy-cane-striped stockings, had the duty of announcing the notables marching down Fifth Avenue in the gay pride march.
She introduced Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, and the onlookers who had gathered along the parade route politely applauded.
But when she bellowed, "Let's hear it for the governor of New York, David Paterson!" the crowd roared.
Sunday was not the first time Mr. Paterson marched in a gay pride parade. He said he attended his first parade in 1976 at the urging of a gay friend and had walked in them on and off ever since.
"Back then, we would march in the back," he said. "But then we learned that wasn't cool because you couldn't hear the music in the back. So we moved up." He added that in those early years, he did not generate quite the same amount of attention from the crowd.
Here is an excerpt from a related NY Times story from two weeks ago.
Gov. David A. Paterson's decision to direct state agencies to recognize marriages of same-sex couples elevated his status in the eyes of many gays and lesbians to something of a celebrity.
But Mr. Paterson has unexpectedly discovered that some of the people who are most grateful to him for issuing the order are, in fact, parents with a gay son or a lesbian daughter.
The governor said in an interview last week that he had been approached by several people who expressed their gratitude. "What struck me were the straight people who came up to me," he said. "This has happened four or five times since. They'll say: 'We're so glad you did this. Our daughter is gay or our son is gay.' I found that to be so very touching."
One evening two weeks ago, while he was having dinner with his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, at a restaurant at 105th Street and Broadway, the governor said, a man and a woman approached him, introduced themselves, and then each hugged him. Their son was gay, they told Mr. Paterson, and they wanted to let the governor know how thankful they were about his policy.
The one memorable phone call that Mr. Paterson said he received shortly after his order became widely publicized was from the Rev. Al Sharpton, a supporter of civil rights for gay people. Mr. Paterson said Mr. Sharpton called to offer thanks, but also to take a friendly jab at the governor for disclosing that he became comfortable around gay people at a young age because two close Paterson family friends were gay.
"He was calling on behalf of Uncle Stanley and Uncle Ronald, saying I'd be in trouble for outing them," Mr. Paterson said, referring to a gay couple who often took care of him and his brother, Daniel.