Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick and New York governor David Paterson have more than a few things in common. Of course, there’s the obvious: Both men are handsome, charismatic, and in their 50s. Both are the first black governors of their states—and only the second and third nationwide since Reconstruction. But less obvious—at least to the average voter—is their similar dedication to pro-gay politics.
Unlike his antigay Republican predecessor, Mitt Romney, Patrick has continually flexed his political muscle to ensure all of his constituents are treated equally. “In Massachusetts equal means equal,” he said in late July when he signed legislation that allows out-of-state gay couples to wed in Massachusetts. This repealed an obscure, 95-year-old law Romney had enforced to ensure that Massachusetts, as he explained, would not become the “Las Vegas of same-sex marriage.”
Paterson is just as impressive. A soft-spoken, legally blind politico, who represented Harlem in the state senate for two decades before becoming New York’s lieutenant governor in 2006, he’s been a staunch ally and ahead of the curve on gay issues. One of Paterson’s first major acts, after becoming governor in March, was ordering all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other jurisdictions. The New York Times remarked that Paterson has become “something of a celebrity” since making that decision, noting he received “a hero’s welcome” while marching in New York City’s gay pride parade this June.
Think about it. Of the 50 men and women who occupy governor’s mansions in the United States, only two are black. And these two black men are arguably the most gay-friendly to ever be governor—including New Jersey’s Jim McGreevey, who came around to gay rights only after coming out and leaving office.
Read the full story from the Advocate.