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Where Are They Now: Christine Quinn

Where Are They Now: Christine Quinn


After a disappointing defeat, the New York politician is back with a new cause to fight for: She wants you to vote for the Women's Equality Party


Photographed for Out100 2010

As New York City's City Council Speaker, Christine Quinn was called upon to make tough choices--on everything from MTA fare hikes, teachers' union strife, and whether to change mayoral term limits--and was New York's most high-profile, politically effective gay rights champion (she was last included in the Out100 portfolio of honorees in 2010). She married her wife Kim Catullo in 2012, published a memoir, and was the presumptive Democratic mayoral nominee who would be elected to follow Bloomberg's three terms in office.

So it was unclear what the next steps would be for Quinn after she placed third in the 2013 New York City mayoral race. Some predicted she would take a high-paying job as a consultant or lobbyist. But Quinn, who has always been an advocate and a fighter for the underdog (having learned at the side of other influential gay politicians such as State Senator Thomas Duane), laid low for a while and is only now.

Now, after she and others found themselves rebuffed when trying to get a bill passed on women's issues in the New York State legislature in Albany, she's lending her voice, and considerable political connections, to create a new political party in New York: the Women's Equality Party. "This party is about saying, 'We've had it, and we are going to organize to make women's issues front and center.' It's not OK to say that some New Yorkers are only 9/10th equal," she says. "We did it in 2009 when we lost the marriage equality fight: we defeated some Senators and others had a miserable summer."

Quinn explains that the basic tactic in politics. "When you don't win, you respond...They can't say, 'Boo,' and you run away in fear. This party is about demonstrating that."

To become an official political party in New York, one has to have 50,000 people vote on your party line on the ballot (for more information visit That's why Quinn is urging voters on Nov. 4 in the midterm election to vote for candidates on the Women's Equality Party line rather than the Democratic (there are no Women's Equality Party candidates that are Republicans).

Other than this new agenda, Quinn has also joined the board of the Tyler Clementi Foundation and Athlete Ally. "Basically I'm torturing executive directors," she quips. With her newfound role as an advocate and institutional supporter, Quinn remains optimistic about her political future as well as progress being made toward equality for minorities.

She affirms that the day marriage became legal for same-sex couples in New York "It was a perfect day," she says. "I wish people who were against marriage could see that: Kim and I, we both lost our mothers when we were girls. Both of our fathers are in their eighties, and they both got to be there, to walk their daughters down the aisle. My brother in law, Kim's eldest brother, he died of cancer the following december. If the bill hadn't passed when it did, none of that would have happened. That's what marriage is about: weddings, having these moments when families get to be together and have days that are perfect."

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