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Report: Paterson Picks Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to Replace Clinton


MSNBC, along with some local outlets, is now reporting that New York governor David Paterson has asked Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to come to his mansion in Albany tomorrow, which makes it look very likely that she'll be the choice to fill Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate seat. Gillibrand has served in the House for just two years.

Here's what Gillibrand said when asked about her position on same-sex marriage in a recent interview with InsideOut:

"What I’d like to do legislatively, on the federal level—and I think we’ll be able to do this with the new president—is actually make civil unions legal in all 50 states, make it the law of the land. Because what you want to fundamentally do is protect the rights and privileges of committed couples, so that they can have Medicare benefits, visit in the hospitals, have adoption rights. All [the] things that we give to married couples, committed gay couples should be eligible for. And then the question of whether you call it a marriage or not, what you label it, that can be left to the states to decide. [It’s] so culturally oriented. My mom’s generation, they want their gay friends to have every right and privilege that they should be eligible for as a married couple, but they feel uncomfortable calling it marriage. To them, a marriage is a religious word that they learned from the Catholic Church: It’s a covenant between a man, a woman, and God. So they feel uncomfortable with the word. But they don’t feel uncomfortable with the rights and privileges. I think the way you win this issue is you focus on getting the rights and privileges protected throughout the entire country, and then you do the state-by-state advocacy for having the title."

Gillibrand2Politicker NY notes: "On the issue of gay rights, Gillibrand received an 80 out of a 100 rating from the LGBT advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign. That was the lowest score out of New York’s Democratic representatives. 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."

Watch the MSNBC report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. A federal civil union law makes sense - and hopefully could be quickly passed. Once it is in there you would see there it would be a bridge to fix the marriage word issue once and for all.

    1. Either everyone would have marriage or...(more better)
    2. The government would finally get out of the "marriage" business and leave that term up to the individuals to go to their respective churches to obtain.

    There are plenty of churches that would "marry" gay folks...

    Its unbelievable that people are upset that gay people want to use the word marriage...

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 23, 2009 10:29:14 AM

  2. I think she is smart and tough and sensible, much like Hillary. A good choice.

    Keep in mind folks that an upstate liberal is not the same as a new York City liberal. You have to build a bridge between the two and then things will come together with time.

    Posted by: Andy | Jan 23, 2009 10:41:40 AM

  3. Good grief, I don't give a damn what it's called, just give me EQUAL RIGHTS!

    And no, you will not win an argument with me telling me that if we call it "unions" and they call it "marriage" it's not equal. If we have the same RIGHTS... yes, it is!

    You can call an Apple an Orange all day long... but it is still an Apple.

    Posted by: JayDub | Jan 23, 2009 10:58:10 AM

  4. Do I wish we could get same-sex marriage passed as the law of the land? Of course. Do I want to wait the forty years it will take for that to happen? No! Gillibrand's suggestion is eminently practical, and what Ive been advocating for years. Taking the moral high ground is all well and good, but sometimes you have to hold your nose and take what you can.

    Blacks fought for their rights piecemeal over decades--they didnt sit back and say "give us everything right now or give us nothing." Were they rightfully indignant? Of course, but they knew it was more important in the long run to take what they could.

    Posted by: dizzyspins | Jan 23, 2009 11:04:42 AM

  5. "this represents a significant slap in the face for our community by Gov. Paterson."

    What's the matter--you don't like white, Yankee women? She aint no worse than the new crop of centrist Democrats in the senate. Sign of the times, baby.

    Governor Paterson must be brave: he could've gotten rid of that Cuomo guy by putting him in the US Senate.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 23, 2009 11:53:22 AM

  6. Apparently he picked Hillary's long lost kid sister! My!

    Posted by: anon | Jan 23, 2009 4:18:34 PM

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