The Mafia's Dan Choi

For years, gay men have had no choice but to form mafias of their own.


For years, gay men have had no choice but to form mafias of their own. The original Cosa Nostra was notoriously hostile to their lifestyle. In 1992, DeCavalcante-family crime boss John D'Amato was murdered in the backseat of a car by one of his own hit men because a former girlfriend alleged that he had engaged in sex with men. "Nobody's going to respect us if we have a gay homosexual boss sitting down discussing La Cosa Nostra business," said the killer, Anthony Capo. But yesterday, Robert Mormando, a onetime hit man for the Gotti crime family, struck a blow for equality when he boldly announced— Jim McGreevey-style—in a Brooklyn courtroom that he was gay.

It seems that the Mafia does not have a written policy regarding what men can and cannot do when they "go to the mattresses." But John Marzulli of the New York Daily News offers this revealing tip: "Members of the Mafia do not accept a gay lifestyle within [the] ranks although there is no specific rule that inductees must accept."

Sounds a lot like the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, don't you think? And that makes Mormando something of a hero (despite the fact that he once tried to gun down a Queens bagel-store owner).

The divorced father of two might not have the stellar record of West Point grad Daniel Choi, who openly challenged "don't ask, don't tell" in March when he came out of the closet on The Rachel Maddow Show, but Mormando is "living a peaceful working life" with his partner, according to his lawyer. "He has been openly gay since he left the mob," she adds. And that's no small feat.

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