LGBT activists call out Cynthia Nixon for criticising New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on equal marriage
LGBT activists have condemned actress and New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon after she bashed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s record on equal marriage.
Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon, a long-time LGBT activist, is standing in the Democratic primary as a left-wing challenger to existing Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Although Nixon could make history as New York’s first out Governor, established LGBT groups and politicians in the state have largely backed Cuomo, citing his support for equality and Nixon’s lack of experience.
In an interview with New York Magazine this week Nixon took a dig at Cuomo’s record, claiming he moved on the issue in 2011 because “he had a lot of big Republican donors who wanted the marriage issue to go away because they thought it was making the party look bad.”
She added: “It was getting embarrassing… Iowa had marriage equality and not New York.”
Those comments have now been condemned by LGBT activists who ran the campaign for marriage equality in New York, who have defended Governor Cuomo’s record.
Cathy Marino-Thomas, former board president of Marriage Equality USA, penned an open letter to Nixon calling her out.
She said: “Ms Nixon’s account of the political landscape at best shows naivety and ignorance or at worst is a cynical omission of the truth.
“The passage of New York’s Marriage Equality Act was never an easy or politically expedient task even in 2011.”
“Her take is not just inaccurate, it’s undermining of important work by true activists and supportive elected officials.
“It is also self-serving and amounts to a gesture intended to serve her current purposes that rewrites history and erases work that transformed hundreds of thousands of lives for the better.”
Gay Democratic activist Jon Reinish added: “It’s pathetic that Cynthia Nixon would stoop so low to taint her own marriage and thousands including my upcoming one as some tool of GOP donors. No.
“I worked on that campaign in 2011 and so did she. We both gave it our all out of joy and what was possible. Infuriating that she’s rewriting history to fuel a campaign clearly motivated by personal animus.”
Hitting out at Nixon’s challenge last this month, the former Speaker of the New York City Council Christine Quinn branded her an “unqualified lesbian”.
Ms Quinn, who is herself gay, complained of Nixon: “She wants to be an unqualified lesbian to be the Governor of New York.”
But Nixon has taken the insult in her stride.
The candidate – who is massively out-fundraising Cuomo with individual donors – is now giving out badges on her website bearing the phrase.
In her speech, Nixon said: “We have to mix things up, we have to upend the status quo, we have to fight back and we have to speak truth in a way that not everybody likes.
“Yesterday, when I announced my candidacy, one of Gov. Cuomo’s top surrogates dismissed me as an ‘unqualified lesbian’.
“I just want to say tonight that she was technically right. I don’t have my certificate from the Department of Lesbian Affairs. But in my defence, there is a lot of paperwork involved.”
Ms Quinn had made her comments while apparently still smarting from her defeat in the 2013 Democratic primary for NYC Mayor, in which Nixon supported a rival candidate.
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She had said: “It’s a flight of fancy on her part. Cynthia Nixon was opposed to having a qualified lesbian become mayor of New York City. Now she wants to be an unqualified lesbian to be the Governor of New York.
“You have to be qualified and have experience. She isn’t qualified to be the governor.”
She later apologised for her remarks, telling Time Magazine: “Cynthia Nixon’s identity has no bearing on her gubernatorial candidacy and it was not my intention to suggest it did.
“I want to be clear about that. I would never, ever, criticise someone because of their identity.
“I’ve experienced that kind of criticism time and time again and I would never support it or condone it.”