LGBT rights could decide NY Senate race

Posted on 26 Feb 2010 at 8:24am
Harold Ford
Harold Ford

The race for the Senate seat in New York could hinge on a very usual issue — gay rights. But not in the way we’ve come to expect.

Incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been at the forefront of repealing Don’t ask, don’t tell. Gillibrand was appointed by Gov. David Paterson (New York’s liberal governor who issued an executive order to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere and submitted a bill to the legislature to legalize same-sex marriage in New York).

Gillibrand was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Hillary Clinton when Clinton became Secretary of State.

Former Tennessee representative Harold Ford is thinking of running to replace her. The problem is that Ford may be too conservative for New York on issues including LGBT rights.

While in the House of Representatives, Ford voted for the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and was against repeal of DADT. But now that he’s thinking of running from New York, he says he’s changed his mind.

Ford’s argument is that the only way we win marriage rights is with votes from people who have changed their mind and now support us. But, so far, New York’s LGBT community isn’t buying it. Ford is being booed at every stop. The New York Daily News reported on a recent visit to Greenwich Village.

And the obvious problem that would sink a campaign in Texas — that he’s from another state? That isn’t usually a problem in New York politics. Clinton moved to New York to run for Senate in 2000. In 1964, Bobby Kennedy resigned as Attorney General to move to New York, where he also successfully ran to represent the state in the Senate.

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