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Gays Take Control Of Councils In 3 Cities


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Gays Take Control Of Councils In 3 Cities

by Doug Windsor, 365Gay.com New York Bureau

Posted: January 4, 2006 - 1:00 pm ET

(New York City) New Jersey has its first gay mayor, a gay man was returned to the mayor's chair in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a prominent lesbian became Speaker of the NYC Council, while in Arizona a lesbian joined the state Senate - all in all it has been a good week for LGBT politicians.

Christine Quinn was sworn in at a noon ceremony at New York City Hall on Wednesday. She is the first woman and the first out lesbian to serve as Speaker, the second most powerful position in the city after Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Her confirmation vote this morning was no surprise after her only serious rival, Councilman Bill de Blasio (D-Brooklyn), withdrew Monday when the powerful Queens delegation, with 13 Democrats, announced it was backing her. (story)

"The fact that she has personally experienced the challenges faced by lesbian and gay New Yorkers and our families and can share those experiences with her colleagues from a place of leadership is good for our community," said Alan Van Capelle, Executive Director of the Pride Agenda. "And it will be good for any New Yorker who has ever had to fight for equality or justice."

Tuesday night Gina Genovese (pictured) became the first gay mayor in New Jersey. Genovese was elected mayor by the Long Hill Township Committee. The committee is the municipal council in the Morris County community.

An openly gay Democrat in a predominantly Republican municipality in a predominantly Republican county Genovese was elected unanimously by the 5 member committee. Three of the members are Republicans.

" To know Gina is to know the reason for her pioneering success," said Garden State Equality in a statement. " She is one of the most extraordinary public officials in the state: Brilliant, compassionate, devoted, determined and stunningly effective. A champion of everything we believe in. A fearless and independent leader for honest and open government. "

Genovese's partner is Wendy McCahill, a Garden State Equality Board member.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, Kenneth E. Reeves was elected by the city council on Monday to serve as mayor. Reeves previously served as mayor for two terms from 1992 to 1995. He was the first openly gay and black mayor in the country.

"Any one of us could be the mayor; every two years we change the mayor. It is an odd process. I promise to serve you to the best of my ability,” said Reeves following Monday night's vote.

In addition to the three LGBT municipal gains, Paula Aboud was sworn in this week as as state Senator in Arizona.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to appoint her to the District 28 Senate seat vacated by the resignation of Gabrielle Giffords. She's running for the Congressional seat being vacated by gay retiring longtime Rep. Jim Kolbe.

Aboud will serve out the remainder of Giffords' term, which expires at the end of this year. Her only previous foray into politics as a candidate was an unsuccessful 2001 run for the Tucson City Council.

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese says the successes augur well for the future.

"It's emblematic of voter trends across the country where sexual orientation is less and less of an issue," Solmonese told 365Gay.com. "From small towns to big cities, officials are getting their jobs not because they're gay but because they're quality candidates."

©365Gay.com 2006


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