The building Democratic nomination fight for the senate seat now held by appointee Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is increasingly being played out against a background of gay politics, so the senator seems intent on locking in an LGBT base early. Not only has Gillibrand played a high-profile role in the current debate over repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” she’s also secured the endorsements of key openly LGBT leaders in New York, including out elected officials.
A cadre of New York gay and lesbian politicians stood with Gillibrand last week to announce their endorsement, according to a release from the campaign:
Joined by LGBT elected officials from across New York State, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn formally endorsed Kirsten Gillibrand for U.S. Senate today – praising Kirsten as the LGBT community’s greatest ally in the U.S. Senate. The lawmakers, including State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-Manhattan), State Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell (D-Manhattan), State Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island), City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens), City Councilman James Van Bramer (D-Queens), Suffolk County Majority Leader Jon Cooper, Binghamton City Council Majority Leader Bob Weslar, Binghamton City Councilman Sean Massey and President Pro Tem of the Albany Common Council Richard Conti praised Gillibrand for her outspoken support of marriage equality and ending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and her commitment to repealing the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. Gillibrand has secured a commitment for the first Congressional hearings on the policy since it was established in 1993.
Gillibrand may face a primary opponent in Harold Ford, Jr., a former Congressman from Tennessee who now resides in Manhattan. Ford made headlines recently for embracing full marriage rights for same-sex couples after twice voting for an anti-gay marriage amendment to the U.S. constitution.