Albany County Executive Dan McCoy strongly defended his pick of a former Republican lawyer for county attorney Friday as a prominent gay rights activist launched a campaign to block the man's confirmation because of his ties to conservative organization that opposes same-sex marriage and abortion rights.
McCoy's nomination this month of Thomas Marcelle to the top legal post in a staunchly Democratic county was unlikely to pass without controversy.
But opposition to the pick that had been percolating behind the scenes for two weeks went public Friday when political consultant and LGBT activist Libby Post put up a website ... urging McCoy to withdraw Marcelle's name from consideration or, failing that, for the Democrat-led County Legislature to refuse to confirm him.
Post zeroed in on Marcelle's affiliation with the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative national organization that describes itself as providing "resources that will keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel through the legal defense of religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage and the family."
...But McCoy — a Democrat who said he is both pro-choice and in favor same-sex marriage — dismissed Post's criticism, saying she was suggesting he should impose political and social litmus tests on people he hires for government jobs.
"I should have put on the application to check off whether you're Conservative, Dem., Republican or whatever your affiliation is?" McCoy said. "I didn't hire the guy for his religious beliefs. I hired him because he's a hell of an attorney and he's well overqualified."