It may be a frigid 33 degrees in Manhattan today but a certain would-be Gillibrand challenger is already breaking out the flip-flops. Tennessean-turned-New Yorker Harold Ford Jr. now says he’s a supporter of same-sex nuptials. On the Today Show Monday morning, Ford, who has long supported civil unions, invoked Chuck Schumer and Bill Clinton when explaining his position shift to Matt Lauer:
“I’m a believer that benefits should flow to same sex partners and if indeed the fiction of the language, the title, should be changed, much like Chuck Schumer who changed his mind on it and Bill Clinton’s evolved, I’m of the opinion now that nothing is wrong with that.”
Better late than never, sure, but let’s not forget as a Congressman, Ford was one of a handful Democrats to vote for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage everywhere – a decision he touted in 2006 campaign ads.
As for Ford’s Schumer/Clinton comparison, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn isn’t buying it. When asked about Ford during a press conference in City Hall this afternoon she responded:
“Although I welcome [Ford’s] switch, I don’t think the comparison he made to Senator Schumer or President Clinton were fair ones, because as far as I know, neither Senator Schumer nor President Clinton ever believed in the constitutional amendment. They did change their position on the Defense of Marriage Act but neither of them ever went that incredibly far step, in my opinion, of supporting a change to United States Constitution.”
Speaker Quinn did say, however, Ford should have the right to challenge Senator Gillibrand in a primary if he chooses. Meanwhile, Senator Schumer and Governor Paterson are aggressively trying to elbow-out potential challengers to the junior Senator.