A note from Alan van Capelle, Pride Agenda Executive Director:
Today’s news that Harold Ford Jr, a former Tennessee Congressman and former candidate for the US Senate representing Tennessee, may seek to challenge Senator Gillibrand here in New York should be particularly disturbing to LGBT New Yorkers.
Ford supports a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In fact, he voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment both times it reached the House floor. He has also gone out of his way to condemn court rulings (New Jersey’s, for example) that called for equal treatment under the law for same-sex couples. During his last year in the House, Ford received a 25 (out of 100) rating on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard.
Ford’s anti-LGBT positions run in marked contrast with Senator Gillibrand’s unyielding support for our community. In the year that she has been in the US Senate, Senator Gillibrand has been an outspoken and passionate supporter of every single piece of pro-LGBT legislation that currently exists at the federal level. She has often led the charge in the Senate for calling for the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” She became the first US Senator from New York to support marriage equality, and she actively lobbied members of the New York State Senate to support the marriage equality bill before it received a vote on Dec. 2, 2009.
For our community—and any New Yorker who cares about equality for LGBT people—there is no contest here. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand deserves our full support if she is going to be challenged by someone who has a dismal voting record on our rights—someone like Harold Ford, Jr. of Tennessee.