New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, winning points galore with the LGBT community, officiated for the first time as governor at a gay wedding on Sunday, the same day he wrote a letter loftily demanding that the State Education Department do more to protect transgender students across the state.
The gay wedding between Peter Thiede, a financial analyst, and David Turley, a Human Rights Campaign worker, was celebrated in front of the Stonewall Inn, the gay bar where the gay community rioted in 1969 against police.
Cuomo’s power to officiate at a gay wedding was only granted to him because of recently-passed legislation. Cuomo stated on Thursday that some gay marriages meant a lot to him personally, and he wanted to preside over them. The lucky couple was blessed by an Episcopal priest from St. John the Divine Church on the West Side, where their religious wedding is planned for September.
Cuomo’s letter to the State Education Department was apparently prompted by a report released by the New York Civil Liberties Union detailing instances of transgender students experiencing harassment. Cuomo, who wants an answer in one week, accused the department of laxity in protecting transgender students. He wrote: “Your department is tasked with ensuring our children receive a quality education, and a significant part of this responsibility is ensuring they have a safe and harassment-free environment where they can learn and grow. I demand that you take any and all necessary action to address the failures outlined in this report.”
Cuomo called the Supreme Court ruling for gay marriage on Friday “a vindication [of] a whole population of families. The law was discriminating against gay people. You had a lot of people who lived with a lot of fear.”
In January 2014, Cuomo said of conservatives that if they opposed same-sex marriage, they had no place in the state. He asserted, “Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”
At the end of March 2015, Cuomo banned all non-essential, state-funded travel to Indiana after Indiana passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He said he wanted to show that New York stood by “our LBGT family members, friends and colleagues.”