David Paterson | Democratic Party | Hillary Clinton | Kirsten Gillibrand | New York | News

Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand Supports Same-Sex Marriage, ENDA,
Repeal of DOMA and DADT

An update on New York Governor David Paterson's pick to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate.

Gillibrand_clintonWhile Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand said in a recent interview that she supports a step-by-step approach to achieving marriage rights via civil unions and then advocating state by state for the "title" of marriage, Ben Smith at Politico reports that "she assured the state's leading gay rights group yesterday that she backs same-sex marriage, and shows no other conservative leanings."

That group, the Empire State Pride Agenda, released a statement from its Executive Director Alan Van Capelle:

"After talking to Kirsten Gillibrand, I am very happy to say that New York is poised to have its first U.S. Senator who supports marriage equality for same-sex couples. She also supports the full repeal of the federal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) law, repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) and passage of legislation outlawing discrimination against transgender people. While we had a productive discussion about a whole range of LGBT concerns, I was particularly happy to hear where she stands on these issues."

According to HRC, that's not how she's voted in the past though. As noted earlier, via PolitickerNY:

"According to the Human Rights Campaign, she voted against the repealing of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' legislation, opposed legislation that would grant equal tax treatment for employer-provided health coverage for domestic partners, opposed legislation to grant same-sex partners of U.S. citizens and permanent residents the same immigration benefits of married couples and opposed legislation to permit state Medicaid programs to cover low-income, HIV-positive Americans before they develop AIDS. That said, Gillibrand is not an ideologue. The positions she took were arguably necessary as a means of getting elected in a conservative-voting district. And there is a notion among political observers that if she represented the entire state, those positions would soften to better reflect New York’s more liberal complexion."

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  1. GOOD! I also like how Lilly-White she is. The right wing will love her for her whiteness!!

    Posted by: ty | Jan 23, 2009 10:57:32 AM

  2. Just watched Lawrence O'Donnell talking about this on MSNBC and he basically called Patterson an idiot and threw him under the bus. O'Donnell knows many of the powers that be in the Dem. party.

    Patterson just committed political suicide by pissing off the Kennedy's and dissing Caroline.

    Posted by: realitythink | Jan 23, 2009 11:17:30 AM

  3. I'm not buying it. Basically she admitted that she took more conservative positions to pacify conservative voters in her district, but her positions will now change to suit the more liberal elements of the rest of state. This is the definition of a fairweather friend. She can't be trusted to stand for us when we most need it and will bend with every breeze.

    Posted by: Loki7329 | Jan 23, 2009 11:20:15 AM

  4. " This is the definition of a fairweather friend. "

    It's the definition of a smart Democrat with higher aspirations in a liberal Democratic state. You want to get to the White House--you go in the opposite direction. It just worked, didn't it?

    The United States is not liberal or leftist--not even a financial breakdown and two wars can change that. It's a hard pill to swollow, but deal with it, dammit. I will be satisfied with 2 more Ruth Bader Ginsburgs from my new President and Congress, and be at peace.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 23, 2009 11:31:52 AM

  5. The quote from PolitickerNY is actually inaccurate. She could not have voted against repeal of DADT b/c there has not been a vote on repeal yet. They likely misread HRC's Congressional Scorecard. The entry for DADT does not indicate a vote for or against repeal; it indicates whether a member is a co-sponsor of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. This bill has yet to come to a vote, and many members of Congress who will vote for the bill are not currently co-sponsors of the bill.

    Posted by: Alex N | Jan 23, 2009 11:37:51 AM

  6. It's also possible that she's changed her mind on fairness and equality. I'm no naïve rube (though I can be overly optimistic), but why is it that we, as a society, don't allow for politicians to grow? When we always accuse them of being weak or a fair-weather friend, we don't allow for it.

    Posted by: David R. | Jan 23, 2009 11:40:43 AM

  7. Dear Kirsten,

    Good to know you "support" same-sex marriage, honey, but I don't buy it until I see you do it.


    Posted by: Brendan | Jan 23, 2009 11:45:20 AM

  8. It seems her LGBT positions are moving in the right direction. I hope that's because she's genuinely evolving, but if being more pro-gay is simply smart politics, I'm ok with that, too. As long as her votes match her words.

    The step-by-step approach to marriage works. We've had CUs in VT for 8 years. In 2000, giving us the word marriage wouldn't fly. Now, 8 years later, we're close to getting a marriage bill before the legislature and passed. If it doesn't happen this year, it will happen soon. That's 8 years (not 25, not 40), and, as more states call it marriage instead of CUs, it will begin to seem more and more natural, as it is in Canada, where marriage for all is not a problem. I could live with CUs at a federal level if it gets people rights sooner, but we need to emphasize over and over that religion doesn't own marriage. Civil marriage belongs to us all, equally. Religion owns the wedding ceremonies in their churches, that's it. Civil marriage equality doesn't infringe on religious rights one bit; it's amazing how many people--even non-homophobes--can't grasp this simple fact.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jan 23, 2009 11:56:43 AM

  9. thank you derrick. all can i can hope for is to for obama to save the courts. the rest will come, not soon enough, but it will come.

    Posted by: titus | Jan 23, 2009 12:19:04 PM

  10. "It's the definition of a smart Democrat with higher aspirations in a liberal Democratic state."

    So why would I or any one else who cares about gay rights support her? when even Gillibrand's most harden supporters have admitted that if the sands shift she'll shift with them.

    Posted by: IL voter | Jan 23, 2009 12:22:56 PM

  11. If you are satisfied with being used by politicians and thrown under the bus when it is politicallly expedient as long as they throw you a few crumbs now and again, that is your prerogative.

    I am not satisfied with that. I want a politician who sticks with us even when it is not popular or politically prudent to do so.

    Vera Katz, the former mayor of Portland, sponsored a bill in the Oregon House to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1973 as a freshman state legislator. Oregon finally passed the bill in 2005.

    One can argue that she could have gotten further in Oregon politics if she had been smarter and hadn't so openly supported gay causes. But she did not compromise her support of gay rights for political gain.

    Those are the kind of politicians I will support with my vote and my money.

    This ATM is closed.

    Posted by: loki7329 | Jan 23, 2009 12:41:17 PM

  12. IL VOTER,

    She's now representing the whole state of New York, the state wide Democratic machine, and now also, the national interests. This means (to me) that her local or provincial views have to broaden. She doesn't just represent a center-to-right area of New York state. The national party supports gay civil rights (short of full marriage rights, I guess) and so will she.

    It's like that guy Kaine of Virginia that everybody keeps complaining about--that he's too conservative to head the DNC. He is no longer conservative Virginia's governor. Now, he is the chairman of the Democratic NATIONAL Committee...and who is the leader of the Democratic Party? A liberal who has to govern from the center. I aint crazy about the situation, but it seems that's the way it's always been.

    Carter and Clinton had to do the same thing--govern from the center while handing out a few "i owe you"s to the liberals. This whole country aint as enlightened as Vermont, Massachusettes or Atlantic City...I mean, New Jersey.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 23, 2009 12:58:52 PM

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