Last night, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan became the first sitting cabinet secretary to come out in favor of same-sex marriage, telling Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner that he “absolutely” supports same-sex marriage. Donovan made the remarks at the National Center for Transgender Equality Awards Ceremony, in which he highlighted “the agency’s advancements towards ending anti-LGBT discrimination in housing”:
Asked about this summer’s passage of marriage equality in New York, Donovan says, ”I was enormously proud to be a New Yorker on the day that it passed. I actually worked for Andrew Cuomo when he was Housing Secretary. I worked for Mike Bloomberg who has been a constant supporter of the law – what is now law.”
He talked about how the law’s passage had affected those around him, saying, ”So many friends that I know were able to achieve a dream the day that law passed. And so many neighbors.
”It made me proud to be a New Yorker – not enough to get me to move back. We’ve got more work to do in the Obama administration in a second term.”
Asked if that included marriage equality, Donovan confirmed it did, saying, ‘‘Like marriage equality.”
Donavan’s answer puts him to the left of President Obama, who in 1996 signed a survey supporting marriage equality but has since said that he backs civil unions and is still “evolving” on marriage. In 2009, Melody Barnes, the director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, also hinted that she sympathized with same-sex marriage, saying, “I come to my experience based on what I’ve learned, based on the relationships that I’ve had with friends and their relationships that I respect, the children that they are raising, and that is something that I support.” At the time, Barnes was the highest ranking administration official to support marriage, a distinction that now belongs to Donovan.