BY Kerry Eleveld
November 09 2009 11:00 AM ET
Transgender individuals still don’t have employment protections in new york. is there anything you can do in your capacity as governor to help extend those protections?
The [state] attorney general’s opinion is that the laws involving sexual discrimination apply to transgender people. What I’m looking into are ways that perhaps the executive branch can support that in some way, and if we find that there’s a valid way in which we can make an addendum to the attorney general opinion, we certainly will.
I faced a personal fork in the road during the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, when a number of transgender people felt that they had been left out of the legislation by the other gay, lesbian, and bisexual advocacy groups. And in the end, I thought that that bill should have included transgender people. So before my time is over, I would suggest strongly that if there’s still any discrepancy, it will get cleared up in this administration.
And is that something that you can do with a stroke of the pen?
That’s something that I’m determining, but if it’s a stroke of a pen and the pen’s in my hand, then I guess you know it will get done.
What advice would you give your son, Alex, or your daughter, Ashley, if either one of them were to come out to you?
How they conduct their personal lives is none of my business even though they’re my children, and how they choose to express themselves in life I think is purely individual and I 100% support them. What I think would be even more important than if either of them were to have been interested in same-sex relationships is that they respect everybody else’s relationships.
Let’s turn to same-sex marriage—
I thought you were going to ask what would happen if [my wife] Michelle came out.
Well, what would happen?
I was kidding with Michelle once—we were having a little dispute—and I said, “You know, if we had same-sex marriage back around the time we got married, I would have had more choices.” And she said, “So would I.” So I never really pursued the conversation beyond that.
What will it mean to you if delivering marriage equality is your biggest legacy as governor?
I think it would be fine. I think it is probably the most significant human rights legislation that we’re addressing at this particular time in history. I would hope that people would also note that I have eradicated the Rockefeller drug laws and balanced two budgets in the middle of a recession—cutting $30 billion in 18 months, which is more than any five governors in the state’s largest annual deficits cut in any five years.
Your aides assure me that you plan on running for governor. Are you?
I am running—I’m running right now. And it must be news because every day I look up and hear the latest rumor about how I’m not running, perhaps from sources who think someone else should run for governor.
And I’m not afraid of taking anyone on in an election. I hope they come forward soon, but they won’t. And the reason that they won’t is because what will happen to them is something that is happening right across the river right now. There is a man who was [at] 19 points in the polls, just like I was, who was left for dead and he ran for governor anyway. And he’s now 1 point ahead in the polls and his name is [New Jersey governor] Jon Corzine.