Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered voters face a happy choice in the District 4 election to replace outgoing City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz.
Whichever of the two major party candidates—Democrat Dan Garodnick or Republican Patrick Murphy—wins next Tuesday, the Council will have a new member with both empathy for and intellectual commitment to the political and human aspirations of LGBT New Yorkers.
Both support same-sex marriage rights and have faulted Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his decision last February to appeal a state court ruling ordering the city to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. They both endorse City Council efforts to require contractors doing business with the city to give their gay employees the same partner benefits as their married straight workers receive and to enforce an anti-bullying and anti-harassment policy in city schools.
Both men have sophisticated and deeply felt commitments to human rights.
Democrat Dan Garodnick should be lauded for his work as an attorney in litigating on behalf of gay and lesbian couples hoping to marry and for his work in city schools to actively promote racial and ethnic tolerance and combat homophobia.
Republican Patrick Murphy is a gay man, and it is his integrity and efficacy in standing up within his own party against the forces of homophobia that persuade us that he is best qualified to serve District 4 on the City Council. As a member of the Log Cabin Republicans, he helped raise more than a million dollars funneled into swing state advertising last year against radical Republican efforts to amend the U.S. constitution to bar gay marriage.
Just as significantly, and with remarkable courage, Murphy was also among the Log Cabin leaders who steered the group toward its decision to abstain from endorsing George W. Bush’s re-election last year, in response to the president’s support for that bigoted amendment.
This newspaper has often challenged the Log Cabin Republicans to demonstrate more independence in their stated aim of leading their party away from its reliance on the Christian right and toward true inclusiveness. Murphy’s efforts last year showed the group at its finest.
In addition to his advocacy of gay rights, Murphy is also an unqualified supporter of a woman’s right to choose, another position that distinguishes him from too many in his party. When Murphy talks about the fiscal issues facing this city, which has a projected budget shortfall next year of more than $4 billion, he demonstrates both sophisticated thinking and a willingness to tackle the really big issues—the way city pensions are structured being one good example.
There are undoubtedly areas on which this newspaper will differ from Murphy on the public stances he will take if elected to the Council. Last week, we made very clear our argument with his preferred candidate for mayor, the incumbent Republican. It should also be said that Garodnick has many fine credentials, his work on behalf of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, which won a court order that the state share its tax revenues fairly with New York City, being high among them.
But as voters look to elect one councilmember for a body made up of 51 colleagues, independence and the willingness to be counted are cardinal virtues. When the chips were down last year, Patrick Murphy, who is now trying to build a career as a Republican elected official, was willing to stand up to his Republican president. In contrast, Dan Garodnick, saying he is primarily interested in introducing himself to Manhattan’s District 4 and therefore not making a mayoral endorsement, is asking that voters embrace his vision for a city for which he is unwilling to say who should be mayor.
An endorsement, many times, is a bet on the fortitude of a candidate’s character. We put our money on Patrick Murphy.