When former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) was going through a messy divorce in 2001, he was taken in by gay car dealer Howard Koeppel and his partner, Mark Hsiao. Giuliani stayed with the couple for six months, during which he promised to preside over their wedding if and when marriage equality came to New York.
Koeppel and Hsiao have been together since 1991 and were married in Connecticut in 2009, but now that New York has legalized marriage equality, they would like to repeat the ceremony with Giuliani presiding. Now that he has the chance to follow through on his promise, however, Giuliani is ducking their phone calls, the New York Post reports:
“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.’ “
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.
“It seems like a lot of people he was close to become persona non grata,” Koeppel observed.
Recent polls show that a majority of New Yorkers are happy with the new law, and Giuliani recently told reporters at a golf outing he was “glad that people who felt discriminated against have that, sort of, burden of discrimination lifted,” even though he is opposed to marriage equality.
But if Giuliani has his sights set on higher office — he is reportedly flirting with another bid to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee — he likely views the New York law as one he cannot appear to support. Republican voters still oppose marriage equality overwhelmingly, and conservative outlets have spent the last week coming up with bogus reasons why the New York law is a threat to the institution of marriage.
Koeppel told the Post he thought Giuliani was sincere when he promised to preside over the wedding. “He doesn’t usually say things just to make you feel good,” he said. But Koeppel and Hsiao shouldn’t be shocked that Giuliani is apparently putting his political aspirations ahead of their friendship. In 2009, when the couple was married in Connecticut, Giuliani didn’t even bother to show up.