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A First Lady First: Getting to Know the Woman Behind Cynthia Nixon

Christine Marinoni could be the first queer first lady of New York.

If you've been inspired by Cynthia Nixon's run for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York, join the club. The award-winning actress is part of a progressive wave of novice politicians activated by the general f**kery happening in government as she tries to unseat two-term incumbent Andrew Cuomo. If she wins the nomination, and subsequently the governorship, Nixon would be the first female and first openly queer person to occupy the office.

So, too, would her partner, Christine Marinoni, become New York State's first queer first lady. The New York Times, which recently endorsed Cuomo as "the best choice" for governor, profiled Marinoni, painting her as a quiet force behind Nixon and her campaign.

Hailing from Bainbridge Island, WA, just 10 miles outside of Seattle, Marinoni moved to New York City in the early '90s, where she began cultivating her passion for activism, becoming a neighborhood organizer in The Bronx. In hopes of going into international affairs, Marinoni studied economic development at Columbia University, but instead turned to education organizing—a passion both she and Nixon share. They met through the Alliance for Quality Education, where Nixon became a spokesperson. Nixon and Marinoni married in 2012, eight years after their relationship became public and a year (somewhat ironically) after Gov. Cuomo signed marriage equality into law.

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: Christine Marinoni (L) and Cynthia Nixon attend the 2018 New York City Pride March on June 24, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/Getty Images)

Marinoni, who didn't come out until she was 26, spent most of their relationship at home taking care of Nixon's two kids from her previous marriage, before giving birth to their son Max in 2011. The process of getting pregnant, however, proved incredibly difficult and Marinoni miscarried several times before getting lucky on her sixth attempt. While she operates mostly in the capacity of wife and mother, Marinoni also plays an important, albeit understated role, in her wife's campaign.

At times liaison, strategist, and—drawing upon her years of activism and community organizing— fountain of knowledge, Marinoni was cited, early on in Nixon's campaign, as the real reason for the former Sex and the City star's political aspirations. Though Marinoni insists that she simply played the supportive partner in Nixon's decision to run. “She’s been approached by folks repeatedly—not me, it was never my idea—who were excited about the prospects,” she tells The Times.

With Cynthia Nixon trailing Andrew Cuomo in the polls, and the Democratic establishment backing his bid for a third term, the odds may not seem in Nixon's favor. But stranger things have happened. Just ask Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Andrew Gillum, and Ayanna Pressley, three progressives who unexpectedly, in "stunning upsets"—as headlines across the country wailed—thwarted their traditional Democrat opponents.

Check out Nixon discussing her unlikely bid on Late Night with Seth Meyers: