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Senator Blocks Resolution Mourning Death of Gay Activist

March 25, 1986

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ A powerful Republican state senator said today that he’s blocking a legislative resolution mourning the death of a top New York gay activist because the Senate shouldn’t honor ″bedroom capabilities.″

″After years of serving as Senate Finance chairman and witnessing thousands of resolutions, I see this resolution as marking a new departure,″ wrote state Sen. John Marchi, of Staten Island, in a letter to the state’s newspaper editors.

The resolution, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Manfred Ohrenstein, a Manhattan Democrat, was designed to honor Peter Vogel for his work in homosexual rights and for his work on behalf of victims of AIDS, ″the disease which tragically shortened his own valuable life.″

Vogel, an adviser to Gov. Mario Cuomo and vice chairman of the governor’s Advisory Council on AIDS, died in late February. He was 41.

″We pass resolutions in the Senate for revered presidents, statesmen and other greats, not for their bedroom capabilities but rather for the positive aspects of their lives,″ said Marchi.

In addition, Marchi said, while ″Vogel could have been remembered for the affirmative aspects of his life, it scarcely advances his chances for public appreciation to recite initiatives prohibited by the Penal Law.″

Timothy Taylor, press secretary to Ohrenstein, said the resolution had nothing to say about the Vogel’s sex life.

And while Marchi said he would be willing to consider a new resolution that was simply ″an affirmative statement of condolences,″ Taylor said the document would not be changed.

″Peter would be ashamed,″ said Taylor.

The Marchi letter also appeared to have a political edge to it.

For instance, the Republican senator suggested the resolution ″does indeed offer people of your area a clear view of the curious mentality that now preoccupies some Democratic leaders.″

Democrats are hoping to take control of the state Senate during the November elections.

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