An openly gay, HIV positive member of
the New York City Council will lead the legislative body.
Corey Johnson, 35, on Wednesday was
elected City Council speaker with an overwhelming 48-1 vote.
Johnson, a Democrat, is the first
person with HIV to be elected to the city government's second most
powerful position after the mayor.
“We believe in New York where no one
is targeted simply because of who they are – Muslim New Yorkers,
immigrants, the undocumented, African Americans, Jewish New Yorkers,
transgender New Yorkers,” said Johnson after the vote. “We must
reject hate in all its forms and stand united against bigotry and
Councilwoman Inez Barron cast the lone
“no” vote. Barron threw her hat in the ring at the last minute
to protest the lack of black candidates.
Former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
reached her term limit in 2017. Mark-Viverito was preceded by
Christine Quinn, the first openly gay person and first female to
serve as speaker.
The Victory Fund, which supports LGBT
candidates, congratulated Johnson in a tweet.
“We are thrilled that two-time
Victory endorsee Corey Johnson has been elected Council Speaker of
New York City! He is the first openly gay man and first HIV+ person
to serve in the position. Congratulations, #CoreyinNYC!” the group