Six months ago, it seemed impossible. Barely three months ago, anyone who even suggested such a thing seemed disturbed.
But today, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the city’s icon of same-sex power, is suffering an acute gay meltdown.
Quinn, who’s hanging on with fingers and toes to her front-runner status as the go-to liberal Democratic candidate for mayor, once enjoyed the uniform support of the city’s vast left-wing cabal, and a near-lock on the powerful gay vote.
Then, as surely as ambitious grown-ups tend to make a slow and steady turn to the right, Quinn did the unthinkable. She went mainstream.
The first hint that Quinn was losing support from the gay community, as well as from the Hollywood industrial complex, came in January. Cynthia Nixon, the “Sex and the City’’ siren who married her partner, Christine Marinoni, stood outside Public Advocate (and candidate) Bill de Blasio’s Brooklyn house and declared her undying distrust for Quinn and fealty to Bill. Reporters were aghast.
How could you, as a gay woman, go against your sister, they cried in unison.
“To me, identity politics is not really where it’s at,” Nixon snapped.
The issue that drew Cynthia’s ire was Quinn’s opposition to paid sick leave for small businesses (a version of which she has since endorsed). Cynthia hasn’t come around.
Quinn drew the enmity of tennis legend Martina Navratilova, the animal-rights activist and symbol of Sapphic love, by supporting the city’s carriage-horse industry.
It didn’t hurt de Blasio, the city’s new liberal standard-bearer, when it was revealed last year that his wife, Chirlane McCray, was a lesbian in the ’70s, but got over it.
Opposition to Quinn is fraught with feelings of betrayal. “I’m gay, too,’’ said documentary filmmaker Donny Moss. “I said, ‘That’s cool. There’s a gay person in power in New York.’ ” Lately, Moss has made a career of gathering folks to heckle Quinn at campaign stops.
“She has on many occasions betrayed the gay community, sold it down the river when it’s politically expedient,’’ said Moss.
Gay-rights activist Andy Humm has written that, while Quinn boycotts gay-unfriendly St. Patrick’s Day parades in the city, she doesn’t object to the council awarding parades discretionary funds. Unforgivably, she defied voters when she led the council to overturn term limits, giving Mayor Bloomberg (and herself) a third term in office.
Just more evidence that Quinn is a paper tiger frontrunner ready to be taken down by somebody.