Lee-Cuomo relationship is proof of progressive change
The other day I was called by a reporter from a fashion newspaper that was doing a story on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s significant other, Sandra Lee. The reporter wanted to know what I made of the fact that the governor was living with someone to whom he was not married. I made it clear that I thought it was great and that we had experienced a societal paradigm shift. Every study that I have seen has shown that more and more of our young people are choosing not to get married or to wait until much later in their lives. Makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve always thought that one of the reasons why the divorce rate was so high was that people mature and change. In the case of Andrew Cuomo and Sandra Lee, we have two consenting adults who know what they are doing. The arrangement works for them. In many ways, they may well be remembered as much for leading the way with their cohabitation than for either political accomplishments or teaching people how to cook.
Bear in mind that Andrew was married, had his children — three of them — and has not, as of yet, had any more with Ms. Lee. She has made a very good living for herself on TV and in other formats by advising people how to cook using prepared foods coupled with their own ingenuity. She has a lot of her own money and a great career, and he has his own money and an equally promising career. I told the reporter that I was proud of the people of New York who did not subject Cuomo to an outdated morality check. I wasn’t sure how this might play in Kansas or the Bible Belt, but I suspect they’ll eventually see the same changes in those place that we have seen here in New York. Of course, I was struck by the fact that the whole Cuomo entourage made its way to church on their inaugural weekend. I chalked that up to respect for the venerable institution that the Cuomos have always believed in. Andrew’s father, Mario, frequently contested with the Church over abortion and other issues.
Sandra Lee’s love for Andrew seems incontrovertible. She has made it pretty clear that he and his children come first. She will spend her own money to provide for her personal security and she will not use public money for herself. Smart move, it’s the way the “gotcha” boys trap politicians like Alan Hevesi. During these dark days, people don’t like spending the state’s money on perks for anyone, especially those who can afford them.
I think that people love stories about love. When Andrew married Kerry Kennedy, it was regarded as the political marriage of the century, right up there with Prince William and what’s her name? When the marriage dissolved in a spate of name calling and unhappiness, it left all of us disappointed. Most of us like to believe in fairy tales. But now, we see that we can come up with new solutions. If Andrew plays his cards right, turns New York around and grabs the golden presidential ring, there is always time for the couple to tie the knot. Just look at Hollywood or the mayor of New York. Of course, there will be some cheap shot artists who think that this new arrangement between the governor and his lady would not be tolerated in other strata in society. That is patent nonsense. They should wake up and smell the roses. As for me, I couldn’t be happier. Anytime society liberates itself from old ways that don’t work for everyone, I applaud. When two people are committed to a relationship and they are equals, society shouldn’t be that concerned about a piece of paper. And then, there are the old fashioned folks like my wife and me who take comfort in both the commitment and the piece of paper. We’ve been married for 40 years.
Originally published on January 10, 2011 by the Legislative Gazette. All Rights Reserved.