Partner Arnold R. Denson

Queer Places:
Princeton University (Ivy League), 110 West College, Princeton, NJ 08544
Yale University (Ivy League), 38 Hillhouse Ave, New Haven, CT 06520
Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, 733 Old Clinton Rd, Westbrook, CT 06498
Oak Lawn Cemetery, 1530 Bronson Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824

1978 Press Photo Representative Stewart McKinney speaks in front of  microphones | eBayStewart Brett McKinney (January 30, 1931 – May 7, 1987) was an American politician who represented Connecticut's 4th congressional district in the House of Representatives from 1971 until his death in 1987. He is perhaps best known for coining the phrase “too big to fail” in regard to large American financial institutions, and his struggle with, and eventual death from, AIDS. In 1989, Arnold R. Denson contested the will of McKinney, saying he had been his lover for 5 years. McKinney left a 1975 Chevrolet and a 40% of his Washington house to Denson (8% of the house was left to McKinney's secretary and the rest of it to McKinney's wife). Plus Denson received joint control with McKinney's personal secretary of all personal property inside the Washington's home. Denson's share of the estate was worth $60.000.

Stewart Brett McKinney was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and raised in Connecticut. He attended Kent School and later Princeton University from 1949 to 1951, but dropped out and enlisted in the United States Air Force. He attained the rank of sergeant, and completed his enlistment in 1955.

McKinney married Lucie Cunningham, the daughter of Briggs Cunningham II and Lucie Bedford, the granddaughter of a co-founder of Standard Oil. They had five children—Stewart Jr. (b. June 7, 1957), Lucie (b. June 8, 1958), Jean, Elizabeth (b. October 15, 1960), and John (b. March 6, 1964). John McKinney was minority leader of the Connecticut State Senate until the end of 2014, and was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor in the 2014 elections.

McKinney then returned to college, and received a B.A. from Yale University in 1958. He raced cars and was involved in several car-related businesses, including Auto Interior Decorators, Inc. and Fairfield Firestone, and was president of a chain of tire stores called CMF Tires. He also owned Lantern Point Real Estate Development and other ventures.[1][2][3]

In 1966, McKinney was elected as a Republican to the Connecticut State House of Representatives, where he served two terms between 1967 and 1971. During his second term, he served as minority leader. In 1970, McKinney ran for the U.S. House and won. He served in the House, as a moderate Republican, until his death in Washington, D.C. He is widely known for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1986, which provides federal money for shelter programs. McKinney served on the Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee, [4] and is credited with coining the phrase "too big to fail", in connection with large banks.[5] In Congress, he served on the House Select Committee on Assassinations. During this time, he also served as a director of Bridgeport Hospital.

His death in 1987 was brought about by complications of AIDS. His physician speculated that McKinney became infected with HIV in 1979 as the result of blood transfusions during heart surgery.[6] McKinney was known by friends to be bisexual, though his family said this was not the case, which raised the issue of how he had contracted the disease. Anti-gay prejudice at the time of McKinney's death in 1987 may have promoted a disingenuous approach to speculations on the cause of McKinney's HIV infection.[7][8][9][10] Arnold Denson, the man with whom McKinney had been living in Washington, and to whom McKinney left property in his will, said that he had been McKinney's lover, and that he believed McKinney was already infected when Denson met him.[11] In 1987, Barney Frank became the first U.S. congressman to come out as gay of his own volition, and was inspired to do so in part by the death of McKinney;[12][13] Frank told The Washington Post that after McKinney's death there was, "An unfortunate debate about 'Was he or wasn't he? Didn't he or did he?' I said to myself, I don't want that to happen to me."[12][13] After McKinney's death, Congress renamed the Salt Meadow National Wildlife Refuge in Connecticut the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.[14] Additionally, in 1988, Connecticut's legislature honored McKinney's legacy by naming the Stamford Transportation Center after him.[15]

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