Thomas Duane

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Thomas K. Duane
Member of the New York Senate
from the 29th district
In office
January 1999 – 2012
Preceded by Catherine Abate
Succeeded by Brad Hoylman
Member of the New York City Council from the 3rd district
In office
January 1992 – January 1999
Preceded by Carol Greitzer
Succeeded by Christine C. Quinn
Personal details
Born (1955-01-30) January 30, 1955 (age 61)
Political party Democratic
Residence New York City

Thomas K. Duane (born January 30, 1955) is an American politician from New York, who served in the New York State Senate from 1999 to 2012.

Duane was the only openly gay member of the New York State Senate.[1] He represented the 29th Senate District, which stretches along Manhattan's West Side from 85th Street to Canal Street, and includes the following neighborhoods: Upper West Side, Hell's Kitchen, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, and part of the East Side, including the East Village, Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village and Waterside Plaza.

First elected to the Senate in 1998, he took office the following January and has won re-election every two years. He is the past Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, and he is currently that committee’s Ranking Minority Member.[2]

His signature legislative accomplishments in the New York State legislature to date has been the passage of the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA) (2002) and Timothy's Law, which requires mental health parity for patients by insurance companies (2006) which were subsequently signed into law by Governor George Pataki.

He was also instrumental in the ultimate passage of the Hate Crimes Protection Act, which stipulates longer penalties for those convicted of alleged hate crimes, and mandates that New York State keep an active database of these crimes and "Manny's Law," which requires hospitals to disclose to indigent patients the availability of state-sponsored funds for health care costs.

Prior to his election to the New York State Senate in 1998, Duane served on New York City Council, to which he was first elected in 1991. Andrew Jacobs, later a correspondent for The New York Times and a director and producer of a 2008 documentary, served as his press secretary during his successful run for the Council.[3] Duane and Antonio Pagán, first elected in the same year, were the first two openly gay city council members in New York.[4] For part of that time, Christine Quinn worked as his chief-of-staff. When he resigned his council seat on being sworn into the Senate, she successfully ran to succeed him.[5]

In 1994, Duane ran for the U.S. House of Representatives against incumbent Jerrold Nadler, losing the primary election by a margin of two-to-one.[6]

Duane also served four terms as Male Democratic District Leader in the 64th New York State Legislature in 1982. He also served as a member of his local Community Board in the past.

Only the second openly LGBT member of the New York Legislature, he is today one of six, alongside Assemblymembers Micah Kellner, Daniel O'Donnell, Matthew Titone, Harry Bronson and Deborah Glick.

Duane has been the lead sponsor of Same-sex union legislation in the New York State Senate.[7] Following the Senate vote, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn issued a statement thanking Duane and the State Senate leadership for bringing the bill to a vote and saying "I applaud them for their dogged leadership on this issue."[8]

Duane holds a degree in American and Urban Studies from Lehigh University. Born at the old French Hospital on West 30th Street in Manhattan, he was raised in Flushing, Queens, [9] where he attended St. Andrew Avellino School and Holy Cross High School (Flushing). His brother, John F. Duane, served in the New York State Assembly in 1983–84 representing the 26th Assembly District in Queens.[10] Duane's partner of 21 years is Louis Webre.[11] In 2003, Duane was honored with a Village Award[12] from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bolcer, Julie (February 10, 2011). "N.Y. Leader Wants Gay Senator to Carry Marriage Bill". The Advocate. Retrieved July 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Chair Of Senate Health Committee Joins With Healthcare Experts To Determine Best Methods To Reform Medicaid". January 18, 2011. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Pener, Degen (September 6, 1992). "A Gay City Councilman Wants to Tell His Story". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2007. 
  5. ^ Hicks, Jonathan A. (February 17, 1999). "Gay-Rights Advocate Wins Village Seat". The New York Times. Retrieved July 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer (September 14, 1994). "In House Races, Incumbents Defeat Challengers Handily". The New York Times. Retrieved May 17, 2009. 
  7. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (December 3, 2009). "From the Floor and the Heart, Senators Make an Issue Personal". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Christine, Quinn (December 2, 2009). "Re: Senate Vote on Same-Sex Marriage". Press Release. NYC City Council. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  9. ^ Schlesinger, Toni (April 24, 2001). "State Sen. Tom Duane's Co-Op in Penn South". The Village Voice. 
  10. ^ Duke, Nathan (August 19, 2010). "Duane seeks Assembly return". Queens Campaigner. 
  11. ^ Vanasco, Jennifer (August 25, 2008). "Voices from the floor: Tom Duane". 
  12. ^ "Past Village Award Winners". Retrieved June 2, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Carol Greitzer
New York City Council, 3rd District
Succeeded by
Christine Quinn
New York State Senate
Preceded by
Catherine Abate
New York State Senate, 27th District
Succeeded by
Carl Kruger
Preceded by
David Paterson
New York State Senate, 29th District
Succeeded by
Jose M. Serrano
Preceded by
Kemp Hannon
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health
Succeeded by
Kemp Hannon