Ms. Quinn’s rise in New York politics has been fueled by what those who have worked with her describe as remarkable intellect and a reputation for burying herself in information. Along with what she calls her “geeky” disposition, Ms. Quinn’s political stamina seems to come from a genuine desire to make a positive contribution.
For Ms. Quinn, politics is often personal. As a gay woman, she has devoted much of her time and energy to same-sex marriage and other LGBT issues. At the convention, she made plans to visit Delaware to aid the push for marriage equality in that state and to fund-raise on behalf of the effort to legalize gay marriage in Maryland.
Ms. Quinn said she was “very” involved in the push for gay marriage in New York and had “lots of conversations” about the “strategy around getting it done” with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. When President Obama announced his support for the issue, Ms. Quinn discussed the news on Piers Morgan Tonight.
As an adult, Ms. Quinn said she “struggled” with telling her father about her sexuality. (Her mother died when she was a teenager.) In her mid-twenties, she made a trip to his apartment to break the news.
“My father’s first reaction, no, I wouldn’t call it supportive,” she recalled. “He said, ‘You should never say that again,’ when I told him that I was a lesbian. And I said, ‘You know, look, I did what I had to do. I told you. You can do whatever you want with the information.’ It was chilly for a few months, then things came around.”
Ms. Quinn’s father went on to walk her down the aisle at her wedding to Ms. Catullo. She said the experience convinced her others could change their opinions on gay marriage.
“Was it what he thought one of his child’s lives would be? No. But did he evolve? Did he get over it? Yes. Is that to me evidence that everyone can? Yes.”
Same-sex marriage isn’t the only national issue with which Ms. Quinn has personal experience. “You know, I lost my mother when I was 16 and she was 56, to breast cancer,” she said. “So, breast cancer and women’s health is an incredibly important issue to me.”
In her time at the convention, she met with representatives of Planned Parenthood and the pro-choice organization NARAL about using legislation she backed in the City Council regulating pro-life “crisis pregnancy centers” as a model for elsewhere around the country. She also made arrangements to travel to Chicago for “anti-gun violence work.”
In one of two national cable news appearances during the DNC, Ms. Quinn went on MSNBC to discuss women’s issues. On Hardball, Chris Matthews emphasized his guest’s status as a cable newcomer. “The great Christine Quinn, New York City Council speaker, who I believe is running for mayor of the great City of New York,” Mr. Matthews said. “So the new kid on the block … you get to speak first here, Christine.”
As the camera panned to Ms. Quinn, she smiled and raised her eyebrows as Mr. Matthews referenced her mayoral prospects. She went on to offer impassioned support for the Democratic Party platform.
As warm as the national spotlight has been, however, Ms. Quinn may need to tidy up things on the home front before measuring the drapes at Gracie Mansion.