Volume 75, Number 43 | March 15 -21 2006

Villager photos by Jefferson Siegel

Above, Christine Quinn arriving at the Hillary Clinton fundraiser after greeting Mike Singer, Sixth Precinct community affairs officer. Below, three Hillary Clinton supporters.

Despite marriage flap, Clinton packs gay fundraiser

By Jefferson Siegel

Senator Hillary Clinton returned to the Village area last Friday to attend another fundraiser for her re-election campaign and, many presume, to cement support for a run for president in 2008.

The fundraiser, sponsored by a coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups, was held in Diane Von Furstenberg’s atelier on W. 12th St. near the Hudson River.

The fundraiser had engendered controversy in the L.G.B.T. community because of Clinton’s opposition to gay marriage and her support of the 1996 Defense of Marriage act, signed into law by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Some 20 protesters from the antiwar group Code Pink also came to protest Clinton’s support of the Iraq war. The group has appeared at previous fundraisers of hers and holds a weekly vigil in front of Clinton’s Midtown office.

“It’s outrageous that she pretends to be either a progressive or a friend of progressives while she offers de facto support for the war,” Village resident Lois Weiner said. The protesters greeted arriving guests with signs reading “Say No To War” and “2,410 U.S. Dead — How Many More?”

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told The Villager why, despite the controversy, she came to the event. “Hillary didn’t vote for the Defense of Marriage bill in 1996. She wasn’t in the Senate then,” Quinn said. “Senator Clinton and I met this week to plan out a program of events between now and June 5, to make sure the [proposed constitutional] marriage amendment gets defeated,” Quinn added. “I’m here today because she is a strong ally for us in the Senate.”

John Mulligan, a member of Irish Queers and the lone gay protester in attendance, disagreed with Clinton on another issue. “She was the first Democrat to break the ban by participating in the homophobic, bigoted St. Patrick’s Day Parade, so she’s no friend of the queer community,” Mulligan said as he handed out fliers calling for a boycott of this Friday’s parade.

The press was not allowed into the fundraiser. Most departing guests said they liked what they heard. “I think the senator speaks very well because she speaks with her heart,” host Von Furstenberg said afterwards.

Randi Weingarten, the United Federation of Teachers president, also was impressed. “Look, she laid it out, very honestly and bluntly, about what the stakes are nationally,” Weingarten said.

Speaker Quinn, who addressed the crowd before introducing Clinton, said later, “She really laid out a plan for how we Democrats can win back the House and the Senate. That is ultimately what we need to be able to move the progressive agenda, but also the L.G.B.T. agenda, forward.”

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