Erin Quinn's "Pride and Politics: The Tale of a Big Story in a Small Town" Hits Bookstores Aug. 20.

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When the young Green Party Mayor Jason West solemnized the marriage of 24 gay and lesbian couples in New Paltz, NY, the world took notice. Pride and Politics: The Tale of a Big Story in a Small Town is Erin QuinnÂ?s hilarious, poignant and heartwarming account of the historic marriages that rocked the bucolic Hudson Valley community and sent ripples throughout the country.

Same-sex marriage is at the epicenter of the debate between Right and Left in America, and no community is more at the crossroads of this volatile political and social issue than New Paltz, NY. On Feb. 27, 2004, when Mayor Jason West solemnized the marriage of 24 gay and lesbian couples, New Paltz made news. From nearby New York City to Topeka, and from Paris to Tokyo, New Paltz became the small town byline for the big story.

Erin Quinn, the award-winning reporter for the New Paltz Times and Woodstock Times, experienced the unfolding drama from a unique vantage point as a "native" and insider to the story. Pride and Politics: The Tale of a Big Story in a Small Town (HVMAC; August 2005; $17.95) is Quinn’s hilarious, poignant and heartwarming account of the historic marriages that rocked the bucolic Hudson Valley community and sent ripples throughout the country. Like a microcosm for the national debate that raged during the political campaigns in the fall of 2004, New Paltz was often divided by those who supported same-sex marriage and those who did not. Quinn recounts the national media frenzy that ensued, and details how New Paltz was a magnet for all sides of the American political spectrum. From visits by Robert F. “Bobby” Kennedy, Jr. and Ralph Nader to MTV and Reverend Jerry Falwell’s Liberty Counsel, New Paltz was in the cross-hairs of those with vested interests in the civil rights debate.

With candor, compassion and humor, Quinn recounts the events as rumors first began to surface that the young Green Party mayor would conduct same-sex marriages and the touching moment when Billiam van Roestenberg and retired Army Major Jeffrey McGowan became the first gay couple married in New Paltz. She meticulously describes the legal actions, motions and procedures that lead the court to issue restraining orders prohibiting the mayor from performing same-sex marriages and the controversial charges the Ulster County district attorney leveled against West for violating New York State’s Domestic Relations Law. Quinn passionately relates the solidarity of the New Paltz community when it was invaded by protesting Christians on Palm Sunday and when the hope for a better America almost faded away with the November 2004 election results.

Quinn shares an intimate portrait of her town, its people and the diverse range of opinions and emotions surrounding the weddings. By examining the complex issue through the eyes of her neighbors, friends, colleagues and her own family, Quinn provides the reader with a glimpse into the heart of the same-sex marriage issue and why it polarized the nation.

Pride and Politics,Quinn’s first book, is published by HVMAC in association with Hudson House Publishing and its NetPub division. The book is available through NetPub’s online bookstore (http://www.netpub.net) and at independent bookstores nationwide starting August 20, 2005.

Susan Zimet, executive director of HVMAC and an Ulster County legislator says, “For those of us who live in the New Paltz, Erin Quinn’s writing is an integral part of our community. She’s at every event; she’s always calling for a quote; and we look forward to reading her great articles each week. Pride and Politics is an important story for our time and represents a new chapter of New Paltz history.”

HVMAC has arranged several bookstore signings and special events. The public is invited to attend Quinn’s first book signing at Ariel Booksellers in New Paltz on Sat., Aug. 20 at 7:00 p.m. As part of the “Autogamy” show at The New Century Artist Gallery, 530 W. 25th St., New York, Quinn will read from Pride and Politics on Thur., Aug. 25 at 7:00 p.m. A list of upcoming events is available at the HVMAC site, http://www.hvmac.com.

Quinn recently received the New York State Press Association award for “Best News Story in 2004’ for her coverage of the historic events in the New Paltz Times. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in English Literature in 1993. She is married to Kazik Trzewik, a French-Polish national who she met while on vacation in Paris. They live in New Paltz with their three young children.

Additional press materials and background information are available at http://www.hvmac.com.

Advance Praise For Pride and Politics:

“Pride and Politics tells a thoroughly engaging story of an unlikely hero, a twenty-six year old mayor with uncompromising values, who steps to the forefront of the divisive, national battle over same-sex marriages. Erin Quinn brings an insider's perspective, as well as wit and compassion, to her depiction of grassroots politics, sudden fame and our celebrity-driven media. A working mother, Quinn expands her tale beyond a political biography to an examination of the nature of long term relationships and the question of who has the right to marry. Quinn's book is an informative, wry, moving portrait of America at the beginning of the 21st century, navigating the new frontier in civil rights.”

-- Ron Nyswaner, Oscar-nominated screenplay writer for Philadelphia, and author of Blue Days, Black Nights

“Erin Quinn possesses the most authentic voice to tell this story. The framework of her book and the style of her storytelling remind me of Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil. Her passion, her knowledge about the town, and her reporter's eye for telling details all conspire to make her debut a fascinating read.”

-- Da Chen, best-selling author of Colors of the Mountain and Sounds of the River

“Pride and Politics is an insightful look into an upstate New York village’s psyche, and the hilarious and troubling events that follow in the wake of Mayor Jason West’s historic move to marry gay couples. I will never look at New Paltz in quite the same way again.”

-- Laura Shaine Cunningham, best-selling author of Sleeping Arrangements

“I believe Pride and Politics will become the ‘gold standard’ in the years to come when we look back on this tumultuous time in the history of civil rights in the United States.”

-- Jeffrey McGowan, author of Major Conflict: One Gay Man’s Life in the Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell Military, from his Foreword for Pride and Politics

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Caryn Carter

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