Gay Giuliani Pals Get Hitched, but Rudy Stays Away

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday May 4, 2009

He's a friend of the family, but maybe not so much of gay and lesbian families in general: Rudy Giuliani, who stayed with gay friends Howard Koeppel and Mark A. Hsiao during his own divorce, has said that he doesn't support the right of gay and lesbian families to wed.

Moreover, Giuliani didn't make it to Koeppel and Hsiao's wedding, which took place May 2 at a private residence in Connecticut, where marriage equality is legal.

Though the couple are New York residents, they can expect their Connecticut union to bring them some of the same recognition on the state level back home, thanks to a policy that allows gay and lesbian New Yorkers to have their legally celebrated weddings in places where marriage equality is legal and then assert their married rights once they return.

That policy has been challenged in court by religious conservatives from Arizona in league with New York lawmakers. To date, those challenges have failed, though they are on appeal.

Marriage equality has twice been approved by the New York state Assembly, but the issue has yet to make it to a vote in the state Senate.

The 72-year-old Mr. Koeppel is a successful businessman, with a chain of auto dealerships, according to a weeding announcement carried in the May 3 edition of The New York Times.

Hsiao, 49, and Koeppel met 18 years ago, the article said.

Though Giuliani was expected at the ceremony, he failed to arrive, according to a May 3 article in the The New York Post that recalled how Giuliani had stayed with the men at their upscale apartment in 2001, during his tenure as New York's mayor.

The Post quoted Koeppel as explaining that, "Rudy and Judith were both invited with a beautiful written invitation by mail," but that, "His secretary called Thursday and said he was not able to come to the wedding and wished us all the best."

Giuliani reconciled his public opposition to marriage equality with his friendship with Koeppel and Hsiao by saying, "I don't relate to people as white, black, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, gay, lesbian, heterosexual," the Post recollected.

Giuliani has expressed support for civil unions, the article noted.

Koeppel has long supported Giuliani's political ambitions: a New York Times article from Jan. 3, 1999 reported on how Koeppel has personally contributed tens of thousands of dollars to Giuliani's campaigns and had been a presence at Giuliani's fundraisers.

At one fundraiser, Hsiao, a graduate of Juilliard, entertained guests by playing standards on a Steinway.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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