Friday, August 22, 2008

A Speaker's Trophy Dad

Many Americans outside of Manhattan, or outside of "inside" politics, may not know who Christine Quinn is, but for countless LGBT Americans who aspire to public service, she is widely considered a heroine.

Quinn, 42, is the first openly lesbian Council Speaker in New York City history, elected to one of the most powerful positions in one of the most influential cities in America. Representing Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, Quinn has made a name for herself as a savvy, popular politico and is widely expected to run for Mayor of New York in 2009. Her career has been one shattered glass ceiling after another and she has toppled double obstacles - being both female and a lesbian - that few other politicians have successfully torn down.

In Monday's New York Times, reporter Michael Barbaro profiled Quinn, her expected city-wide race and one of her most valuable allies: Her 81-year-old dad, Lawrence.

Deemed "by the far the city's most visible political parent" by the Times, the elder Quinn has become a constant companion at his daughter's side.

"I like to think of myself as a trophy wife," Quinn, who is a practicing Catholic, and a Navy veteran of World War II, told the paper.

But it may be his daughter who has the trophy dad. As the Times reports, he has also become the very proud parent of his very out daughter . . . after, perhaps, a very short-lived hiccup.

The speaker's father "was severely tested when, in her mid-20s, Ms. Quinn told her father she was gay," Barbaro writes. “You should never say that again,” she once recalled him saying.

"But they worked through it," the paper continues, "and Mr. Quinn is now a reluctant but consistent supporter of gay causes. He regularly marches in the annual Gay Pride Parade, and, according to Ms. Quinn, he sometimes uses 'we' to speak of the gay community."

"Mr. Quinn has become close to Anthony Catullo, the father of Ms. Quinn’s partner. The two men, both military veterans and widowers, lounge together on the beach in New Jersey on summer weekends, where Ms. Quinn has a house."

And, according to Speaker Quinn, her father plans to stay close by, too. Though she maintains that she has not made a decision about a possible mayoral run next year, she did tell the Times that, "Whatever the next thing is, my father will be part of it."

To read the full profile of Speaker Quinn and her father, click here.

Photo by Fred R. Conrad for The New York Times.

No comments: