Bloomberg to Preside at Gay Aides’ Wedding - NYTimes.com
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg summoned his chief policy adviser, John Feinblatt, to his desk at City Hall a few days ago for what seemed like a routine conversation with the boss. “Let’s get a cup of coffee,” the mayor told him, motioning to the office kitchen.
There, Mr. Bloomberg made an unusual offer. He did not know if Mr. Feinblatt and his longtime partner, Jonathan Mintz, the city’s commissioner for consumer affairs, wanted to marry. But if they did, and were looking for somebody to officiate, he knew just the man for the job. “If you’d like me to do it, I’d really love to,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
Mr. Feinblatt, thrilled by the offer but wary of unilateral decision-making in matters of the heart, said he needed to consult with Mr. Mintz, who quickly gave his approval.
City Hall’s first gay wedding was on.
“The mayor and John,” Mr. Mintz recalled, “popped the question.”
Mr. Bloomberg, who delivered speeches, held fund-raisers and lobbied lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage in New York, is now punctuating his official advocacy with a personal gesture: hosting and presiding at a gay wedding on the first possible day, in one of the grandest possible settings.
On July 24, on the lawn of Gracie Mansion, under a tent packed with city officials and food from around New York State, Mr. Bloomberg will pronounce Mr. Mintz and Mr. Feinblatt husband and husband.
The mayor is a reluctant nuptials officiant who has presided over just two previous weddings — those of his daughter Emma and his predecessor, Rudolph W. Giuliani — and has pointedly forsworn performing weddings for anyone beyond his other daughter or another former mayor.
But he is now making an exception, he said, because of his close personal connection to Mr. Feinblatt and Mr. Mintz and the role they played in personalizing the issue of same-sex marriage for him.
“John and Jonathan are two of the smartest and hardest-working people in our administration,” Mr. Bloomberg said on Thursday. “This just felt like the best way for me to say thank you.”
Mr. Mintz, 47, and Mr. Feinblatt, 60, met 14 years ago on a blind date that began, perhaps inauspiciously, with a tour of a Midtown court for quality of life crimes that Mr. Feinblatt founded, and ended, rather romantically, with a walk through Central Park and a drink at the Royalton Hotel.
“It was a classic first date,” Mr. Mintz said.
Not long after, Mr. Mintz relocated from Rhode Island to New York City, the couple bought a house in the West Village, and, with the help of a surrogate, fathered two children: Maeve, now 8, and Georgia, 6.
They both took jobs in the Bloomberg administration. Mr. Feinblatt became the city’s criminal justice coordinator, leading a nationwide campaign to rid city streets of illegal guns. Mr. Mintz took the helm of the city’s consumer arm, battling fraud and counseling the poorest New Yorkers on how to achieve financial independence.
The couple had long talked about marrying, but stumbled over where to do it. Mr. Feinblatt’s stepmother had a house in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage became legal in 2004. But New York was home.
“Our relationship is about New York, choosing to raise our kids here is about New York, our jobs are about New York,” Mr. Feinblatt said.
So they waited. And waited. And, then, two weeks ago, the waiting was over.
On Sunday, Mr. Mintz gathered his daughters at the family’s weekend home on Long Island and asked them a question. Wasn’t it time that he married their father?
The girls jumped up and down and screamed “Yes!” Mr. Mintz then grabbed a fistful of flowers from the yard and called Mr. Feinblatt outside. With the girls standing a few feet away, Mr. Mintz bent down on one knee and made it official.
“He said yes,” Mr. Mintz recalled. “It would have been pretty awkward if he hadn’t after 14 years.”
Later that day, the two men took their daughters ring shopping.
In the days since, Mr. Feinblatt has shuttled Maeve and Georgia across the state to find the perfect dresses for the occasion. Wedding invitations are being drawn up. And a meeting with the caterer is scheduled for next week.
With 17 days to plan, much remains unresolved. Like a honeymoon.
“I suspect we will be at work on Monday after taking the kids to camp,” Mr. Feinblatt said.
“Really?” Mr. Mintz replied. “We will have to discuss that. I am hoping that changes.”
He paused. “Not that I don’t love my job.”