Ed Koch Says It’s Unacceptable to Ask if He’s Gay

The NYT profiled former mayor Ed Koch over the weekend, and Koch told the paper that it's unacceptable for them to ask him, or political candidates, whether or not they are gay, though he seems to have dropped his anger at former NY governor Mario Cuomo, who first raised the issue of Koch's sexuality during a campaign against him for mayor:

"Mr. Koch’s anger was originally triggered by placards that sprouted in the 1977 mayoral campaign that said 'Vote for Cuomo, not the homo.' The Koch camp blamed Cuomo operatives. Mr. Cuomo has always disclaimed any responsibility. 'If anything, I thought it was done by someone who wanted to see me lose,' Mr. Cuomo recalled last week. 'I never did anything like that and it was a wrong thing to do, whoever did it; it was ugly and unfair. If he believed I did it and forgave me for it, that was kind of him. I always liked him and respected him however he felt about me.'

In December, Mr. Cuomo invited himself to a birthday party for the mayor at Gracie Mansion and offered a gracious tribute. Mr. Koch was moved. He recalled: 'Mario always told people, ‘I like Ed a lot more than he likes me.’ The first time he said that, I replied, ‘You’re right, Mario.’ But that’s over with. He said he was sorry.'

(For the record, Mr. Koch, a lifelong bachelor, declines to say whether he is gay. 'I do not want to add to the acceptability of asking every candidate, ‘Are you straight or gay or lesbian?’ and make it a legitimate question, so I don’t submit to that question. I don’t care if people think I’m gay because I don’t answer it. I’m flattered that at 84 people are interested in my sex life — and, it’s quite limited.')"

At the time of the Cuomo allegations, Koch said: "No, I am not a homosexual. If I were a homosexual, I would hope I
would have the courage to say so. What's cruel is that you are forcing
me to say I am not a homosexual. This means you are putting homosexuals
down. I don't want to do that."

Koch Makes His Peace and Dares to Look Ahead [nyt]