Thingish Things

Tom Duane’s Graciousness

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jun• 24•11

Many years ago, on the eve of a highly contested congressional election in New York, a guerrilla telephone campaign was waged within the New York City gay community against the Republican candidate for whom I was working.  There was a sizable gay community in the district, and the whisper calls were suggesting that my candidate was a virulent homophobic, which could not have been farther from the truth.

The person we called that night for help — we woke him up — was City Councilman Tom Duane (D).  I didn’t expect much from the call, but Duane listened to what we had to say and publicly came to our campaign’s defense.  The calls stopped. I have almost always been on the opposite side of fights with now Senator Duane, but I always remember that call in thinking of him.

But that memory will be bumped aside by the graciousness Duane showed tonight in the New York State Senate chamber when addressing the gay marriage legislation, which just passed.

“There are no villains here tonight,” he said. “Only heroes.”

It is as classy a thing as I can remember said on the Senate floor. And it is how I will think of Tom Duane from here on out.

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