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Second Gay Man
Joins Binghamton, N.Y., City Council

Second Gay Man
Joins Binghamton, N.Y., City Council

An openly gay college professor was sworn into the city council of Binghamton, N.Y., on Monday, raising the number of gay members on the seven-person board to two. In November, Democratic candidate Sean Massey, a 41-year-old professor of human development at Binghamton University, defeated Republican incumbent Chris Papastrat by 12 votes to clinch the 5th district seat and join Robert Weslar, the 1st district representative, as the second gay member of the board.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity that I have to represent the people of Binghamton," Massey told The Advocate. "There's a lot of work to do, but I feel like this election shows that the city's ready for a change."

Voters also elected the city's first black councilwoman, as well as only Democrats. A Republican has sat on the council for at least the last 40 years.

Massey said it was remarkable for Binghamton, a city of about 50,000 people in a conservative part of upstate New York, to have two gay council members. But the area is gradually becoming more diverse and can benefit from their presence, according to Binghamton mayor Matthew T. Ryan.

"Binghamton is a city of increasing social integration, appreciation, and celebration," Ryan said in a statement. "It is vital we recognize the LGBTQ community and show support for its members' rights and liberties as Americans."

Massey has written several articles on LGBT issues and was among the founders of the Binghamton Pride Coalition. He lives in the city's south side with his husband, Loren Couch -- the two were married in Toronto -- and their 5-year-old son, Alfie. (The Advocate)

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