Queer: May 2002 Archives
The Daily News has a story about a (male) firefighter, Michael Gorumba, who died of heart failure while fighting a fire last August. Albany and the City are talking about passing a bill to allow his (female) domestic partner to receive survivor benefits. Kudos to Christine Quinn:
A bill pending in Albany would extend those benefits, worth $11,000 a year, to their mother. The bill required Council authorization.
City Labor Relations Commissioner James Hanley, who testified in favor of the measure, was pressed on whether he and Mayor Bloomberg also supported benefits for surviving partners in gay relationships.
Hanley said only that Bloomberg would be willing to "take a look at it."
"Do you or don't you?" demanded Councilwoman Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan).
"It's not a yes or no answer," Hanley replied, contending there could be substantial costs.
The bill for Campbell was approved later by the full Council.
The only worthwhile part of the NY Post -- the gossip pages -- has this interesting tidbit:
In what could be seen as a pre-emptory strike, Mets manager Bobby Valentine says that Major League baseball is "probably ready for an openly gay player."
Valentine makes the remark, seemingly out of the blue, in an upcoming interview with the June/July issue of Details magazine. "The players are a diverse enough group now that I think they could handle (a gay teammate)," he says.
While the manager's statement is imminently sensible and unlikely to disturb any of his young players, it could roil some traditional Shea Stadium fans. (I can hear the chant of "switch hitter" already.)
More to the point, some may think that Valentine is getting in first, before one of his big guns is outed. There is a persistent rumor around town that one Mets star who spends a lot of time with pretty models in clubs is actually gay and has started to think about declaring his sexual orientation.
The rumor even goes so far as to say that the player and a still-closeted local TV personality recently purchased a house together in a ritzy New York suburb. (I've made a cursory check of the real estate rolls in that suburb and can't find any documentation of the rumor. But even if it's all nonsense, the story is out there and gaining momentum by the day.)
The other fascinating thing about Valentine's statement to Details is that it shows how far he's come in the big city. When Bobby came up to manage the Mets, he was, to be blunt, a bit of a redneck, a man perhaps more like a John Rocker than a crusader for gay rights. I think we all should be proud of him for taking such a principled and sensible stand.
Here's a nice essay on homos at the Friends of Palestine march across the Brooklyn Bridge about a week ago, including a discussion of non-violence and the role of internationals, including the gay community, in bringing down apartheid in South Africa.