Pride and Politics:
The Tale of a Big Story in a Small Town
Same-sex marriage is at the epicenter of the debate between Right
and Left in America, and no community is more at the crossroads of
this volatile political and social issue than New Paltz, NY. On Feb.
27, 2004, when Mayor Jason West solemnized the marriage of 24 gay
and lesbian couples, New Paltz made news. From nearby New York
City to Topeka, and from Paris to Tokyo, New Paltz became the small
byline for the big story.
Erin Quinn, the award-winning reporter for the New Paltz Times and Woodstock Times, experienced the unfolding drama from a unique vantage point as a "native" and insider to the story. Pride
and Politics: The Tale of a Big Story in a Small Town (Mix Multimedia, Inc.; August 2005; $17.95) is Quinn’s hilarious, poignant and heartwarming account of the historic marriages that rocked the bucolic Hudson Valley community and sent ripples throughout the country.
Like a microcosm for the national debate that raged during the political
campaigns in the fall of 2004, New Paltz was often divided by those
who supported same-sex marriage and those who did not. Quinn recounts
the national media frenzy that ensued, and details how New Paltz
was a magnet for all sides of the American political spectrum. From
visits by Robert F. “Bobby” Kennedy, Jr. and Ralph Nader to MTV and Reverend Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Counsel, New Paltz was in the cross-hairs of those with vested interests in the civil rights debate.
With candor, compassion and humor, Quinn recounts the events as rumors first began to surface that the young Green Party mayor would conduct same-sex marriages and the touching moment when Billiam van Roestenberg and retired Army Major Jeffrey McGowan became the first gay couple married in New Paltz. She meticulously describes the legal actions, motions and procedures that lead the court to issue restraining orders prohibiting the mayor from performing same-sex marriages and the controversial charges the Ulster County district attorney leveled against West for violating New York State’s Domestic Relations Law. Quinn passionately relates the solidarity of the New Paltz community when it was invaded by protesting Christians on Palm Sunday and when the hope for a better America almost faded away with the November 2004 election results.
Quinn shares an intimate portrait of her town, its people and the diverse range of opinions and emotions surrounding the weddings. By examining the complex issue through the eyes of her neighbors, friends, collegues and her own family, Quinn provides the reader with a glimpse into the heart of the same-sex marriage issue and why it polarized the nation.
Pride and Politics, Quinn’s first book, is published by Mix
Multimedia in association with Hudson House
Publishing, and is
available through Hudson House's online bookstore
and at independent bookstores nationwide starting August 20, 2005.
Susan Zimet, executive director of Mix Multimedia and an Ulster County legislator says, “For those of us who live in the New Paltz, Erin Quinn’s writing is an integral part of our community. She’s at every event; she’s always calling for a quote; and we look forward to reading her great articles each week. Pride and Politics is an important story for our time and represents a new chapter of New Paltz history.”
With support from the Hudson Valley Media Arts Center (HVMAC),
Mix Multimedia has arranged several bookstore signings and special
events. The public is invited to attend Quinn’s
first book signing at Ariel Booksellers in New Paltz on Sat.,
Aug. 20 at 7:00 p.m. As part of the “Autogamy” show
at The New Century Artist Gallery, 530 W.
25th St., New York, Quinn will read from Pride and Politics on
Thur., Aug. 25 at 7:00 p.m. See our listing of upcoming
Quinn recently received the New York State Press Association award for “Best News Story in 2004’ for her coverage of the historic events in the New Paltz Times. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in English Literature in 1993. She is married to Kazik Trzewik, a French-Polish national who she met while on vacation in Paris. They live in New Paltz with their three young children.