Quinn, on Obama’s same-sex decision, says ‘I hope voters see this’

Quinn. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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New York's most prominent gay elected official, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, said she welcomed President Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage, and that he is "of course" invited to her May 19th wedding.

Bouyant and at times misty-eyed, Quinn said Obama's endorsement was "historic" and "a game-changer," and made gay, lesbian and transgender people "stand a little taller."

The endorsement came one day after voters in North Carolina approved a ban on same-sex marriage, which Quinn said was upsetting and hurtful.

"No matter if you're the speaker of the City Council or a 13-year-old girl, that hurts," she said. "Who likes to think of people not liking them? Who likes to think of people not liking them just because of who God made you to be who you are when you wake up in the morning? It's something that eats at you, whether you want to admit it or not."

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Obama's endorsement sent a powerful, and personal, message to the public, she said.

When I asked her how important an issue this may be for voters in November, Quinn said, "I hope it's important for voters. I hope voters see this, whether or not you see marriage equality as right or wrong, I hope they see this as a brave movement."

Later, in a television interview with Fox News, Quinn said that when she and her longtime partner, Kim Catullo, "walk down that aisle, it's going to feel like the president is supporting us [and] that is an amazing feeling. To feel that you're not just supported by your city, you're not just supported by your state, you're actually supported by the president of the United States ... It's a feeling of support and affirmation and equality that just wasn't there before the president said this."

Later, Quinn told me she heard the news of Obama's endorsement during a meeting of the New York City Council's Democratic conference at City Hall. At the time, they were discussing fines for taxi and livery cars. When the delegation heard the news, she said, the members burst into applause, then went back to discussing taxis.