Ten years ago, Rudy Giuliani's second divorce was not going well. A gay couple, Howard Koeppel and Mark Hsiao offered their midtown apartment to the then-Mayor Giuliani, who ended up living there for six months. What could he do to acknowledge their graciousness? "I asked if he would marry us," Koeppel told the New York Post. "He said, 'Howard, I don't ever do anything that's not legal. If it becomes legal in New York, you'll be one of the first ones I would marry.' "
Gay marriage is now legal New York state, and Rudy Giuliani is nowhere to be found. The New York Post reports:
Ten years later, Koeppel is distressed that his former house guest hasn't returned the many calls he began making before the legislation was passed last week…
"He doesn't usually say things just to make you feel good," said Koeppel. "He's straight as an arrow." Still, Koeppel's miffed and says he's waiting to hear a good reason why Giuliani won't perform a lawful ceremony. "He wouldn't be married three times if he was holier than thou," Koeppel concluded.
Actually, Rudy Giuliani does sometimes say things just to make people feel good--especially when he's considering running for president. When New York's same-sex marriage bill passed, the former mayor played both sides. "I'm glad the people that felt discriminated against had that sort of burden of discrimination lifted," Giuliani said in an interview with NBC New York. "I still favor marriage as being defined between a man and a woman but I completely understand what people are striving for, but I was very glad to see people relieved of this burden of discrimination, which is a terrible thing to feel."
So Giuliani does not support the "burden of discrimination," but he does personally discriminate against same-sex couples? That stance wouldn't be all that contradictory, actually, and it would be a common one, but Giuliani's track record is actually more complicated than that. Take, for example, his failed 2008 presidential campaign. The Boston Globe reported in 2007 that Giuliani flipped his viewpoint on civil unions and argued for fewer rights to be given to gay couples than civil union proposals at the time suggested.
As it got closer to the 2010 gubernatorial elections, Giuliani angered gay rights groups for playing more unabashedly to the Republican base. Giuliani voiced his support for civil unions once again but lambasted then-Governor David Patterson's support for gay marriage. "I think gay marriage will obviously be an issue for any Republican next year because Republicans are either in favor of the position I'm in favor of, civil unions, or in many cases Republicans don't even favor civil unions," Guiliani told the New York Post. "Marriage, I believe, both traditionally and legally, has always been between a man and a woman and should remain between a man and woman."
Of course, it's been ten years since Giuliani made promised Koeppel and Hsiao he would marry them. And politicians are allowed to change their viewpoints on things, although flip-flopping is generally not well received by voters. But seriously, Rudy, you could at least return an old friend's phone call. Good manners is most definitely wins bipartisan support.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.