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Harold Ford Jr.’s Evolution

January 15, 2010

There has recently been a bit of news about Harold Ford Jr.’s possible challenge to Senator Gillibrand.  You know, the former Congressman from Tennessee who was the victim of some pretty nasty and racists ads.  However, he’s since moved to Manhattan, done some TV (Fox), and is contemplating a run for Senate.  The big headline is that he now supports marriage equality after having twice voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment.  He has described it as being at an 8 on equality issues (claiming he supported civil unions) and now he’s a 10.

Q. Let’s focus on your two votes to ban same-sex marriage. Can you explain that? Walk me through that.

A. The last three years, think about what has transpired. How many states have either courts and or legislatures that have declared same-sex marriage is acceptable in their states? There has been a robust debate.

I don’t think it’s a great leap to go from civil unions to gay marriage — I may be in the minority in believing that. But I don’t think there is. Long before I arrived in New York, my commitment to issues of fairness and equality are clear and obvious and unmistakable. And in light of that, and consistent with that, according the same rights that a couple were married, versus the rights provided by civil unions, I don’t believe the difference is that great. I understand that in certain communities it’s not viewed on equal footing. But my change, or my maturation to that point….

Q. What changed for you?

A. Understand, I did not start at zero and get to 10. I started at 8. This is my point: I think some of the press accounts of my record have been distorted or just been wrong. People make it sound as if — let’s go back to the votes in the Congress.

Don’t get me wrong–I love when people progress on the issue of marriage equality.  I believe Bill Clinton’s shift.  But to twice support a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage is far beyond just not supporting marriage equality.  I really struggle to buy that you can make that change that quickly.  Either he was lying then for political expediency, or he is lying now.  Either one says a lot about his character.  Here’s a short video too, showing just how (not) liberal he is.

Senator Gillibrand has also changed positions since her appointment to the Senate seat formerly held by Secretary Clinton.  But to me, she has proven that these are not stances of political expediency, they are positions for which she has really pushed and advocated.

An interview with Sen. Gillibrand from Towleroad:

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