The once and future Mayor

Jason WestJason West was Mayor of New Paltz New York from 2003 to 2007. An active member of the Green Party at that time, West was the first official in the United States to marry same-sex couples. He was arrested and charged with “solemnizing marriages without a license”. The charges were later dismissed.

After losing in a run at re-election West headed out west, to the University of California at Berkley to study urban planning, and later returned to New Paltz. This year he again ran for Mayor, and according to posts on his Facebook page, he has won that race, giving him a second but non-consecutive term.

West ran on the “Cooperative Party” ticket.

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  1. Hearty congratulations to Jason, the self-proclaimed Grover Cleveland of New Paltz, and here’s to more Greens getting elected in New York!

  2. Co-operative Party, for those who do not deal with weird NY state local law, is because the Village elections are supposed to be non-partisan, but people still run on slates and make up temporary party names, probably because the voting machines are set up that way.

  3. this time around,I hope he can do more than just spend a lot of money

  4. congradulations to Jason and his team of support, job well done guys.

  5. Jason was not the first official in the United States to marry same-sex couples. I believe that distinction goes to Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco in 2004. Along with Victoria Dunlap in Sandoval County, NM, and Terence Reidy in Asbury Park, NJ, they were part of a spreading insurrection against marriage inequality. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_same-sex_marriage

  6. According to Wikipedia: 58.7% of the population is age 18 to 24. Major college town.

  7. Thanks for the link David, but I stand my what I said, in part based on the link you so kindly provided. Here are the pertinent details…and please, not trying to say “You’re wrong, nananana”

    From this post: West was the first official in the United States to marry same-sex couples. [This happened on Feb 27, 2004]

    (I should have said “elected official” because it’s likely that many gay couples have been married by clergy and never had their marriages recognized)

    From Wikipedia: February 12: United States, California: Newly-elected San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom issues the first same-sex marriage certificates in the U.S., purely as an exercise of executive power. These certificates were later nullified by the California Supreme Court.

    Now, it may seem like splitting hairs, but Newsome didn’t marry anyone…he issued a certificate. West did the ceremony…Newsome didn’t. Similarly for Dunlap and Reidy, and Reidy’s actions came after West’s.

    NONE of this diminishes the historic stand for justice that each of these people took.

    I’d also add that it takes courage of one sort to make such a move in San Francisco…and courage of a whole other sort to do it in a small rural community. Even Asbury Park may not be quite as open minded about gay rights than San Francisco.

    David…thanks so much for your comment. I learned a lot…I had no idea there were so many courageous folks out there on this front.

  8. I think it’s also relevant to point out that Newsom took a stand for same-sex marriage after winning a very close race against Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez. Without feeling the heat from the Greens, Newsom, a slick politician with statewide ambitions if not bigger, might not have decided to make such a bold move for social justice.

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