With the Supreme Court about to hear oral argument in two cases dealing with same-sex marriage, with nine states and the District of Columbia now allowing such unions, and with a majority of Americans saying that they support same-sex marriage, FOLCS hosted an evening devoted to this timely issue in the political and legal landscape, and how cultural representations of gays and lesbians have contributed to a deeper understanding of this important civil rights issue.
Frank Bruni, the first openly gay op-ed columnist for the New York Times, joined the newspaper in 1995. Over his years at the Times he has worn a wide variety of hats, including chief restaurant critic (June 2004–August 2009) and Rome bureau chief (2002–2004).
He has also written two New York Times best sellers: Born Round, a memoir published by Penguin Press in 2009, and Ambling Into History, a chronicle of George W. Bush’s campaign for the presidency, published by HarperCollins in 2002.
Bruni came to the Times from the Detroit Free Press, where he wrote a profile of a convicted child molester that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. At the Timeshe first worked for the metropolitan desk and, along with three colleagues, won the George Polk Award for metropolitan reporting for coverage of the child-abuse death of Elisa Izquierdo. He later relocated to the Washington bureau, covering Congress and then Bush’s presidential campaign and his first year in office. He left Washington for Rome.
He has consistently contributed to the Times’s Sunday magazine, and during two periods, most recently from 2009 to 2011, was one of its staff writers. For the magazine he has profiled an array of prominent politicians and entertainers, including Hillary Clinton and J. J. Abrams. His work has also frequently appeared in the newspaper’s Travel, Arts & Leisure and Book Review sections. From 2010 to 2011, he wrote a column on bars and drinking, “The Tipsy Diaries.”
Max Mutchnick started his writing career over 20 years ago with his high school best friend, David Kohan. They began writing professionally for The Dennis Miller Show and from there ventured forward into comedy series. Producers Linda Bloodworth and Harry Thomason gave them their first break into the world of sitcoms when they hired them to work on Hearts Afire, which aired on the Network. Their other television credits include The Wonder Years, Evening Shade, and the critically acclaimed Dream On.
For his work on Will & Grace, Mutchnick has been honored with an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, two People’s Choice Awards (Favorite Comedy), six Golden Globe nominations (Best Comedy Series), seven GLAAD Media Awards (Outstanding TV Comedy Series), a Founders Award from the Viewers for Quality Television, and the National Award for Excellence from the Human Rights Campaign.
Christine C. Quinn
Christine C. Quinn was overwhelmingly elected New York City Council Speaker by her colleagues, first in 2006 and again in 2010. Over the last seven years she has proven herself to be a tireless champion of practical solutions in areas of importance to working New Yorkers—especially education, affordable housing, and job creation. She has fought to eliminate unnecessary regulation and excessive taxes on small businesses, and she has worked to diversify the city’s economy, investing in growing job sectors like health care and food manufacturing. She has helped the city develop an economy of innovation through initiatives like the biotech tax credit and the creation of NYC Tech CONNECT, which helps technology entrepreneurs start new ventures in the five boroughs. Quinn passed the Safe Housing Act, which has dramatically improved conditions in some of the city’s worst residential buildings, and the Tenant Protection Act, which allows landlords to be taken to court for harassing tenants or interrupting basic services. She has expanded the amount of full-day pre-Kindergarten in New York City by nearly 4,000 seats, and she secured passage of state law making Kindergarten mandatory in the five boroughs. Her Middle School Task Force produced the definitive report on middle grades reform in New York City, with many recommendations being implemented in public schools. In addition, Quinn has presided over budget negotiations that have reduced government spending while still preserving core services like teachers, firehouses, police officers, senior centers and child protective services.