Harold Ford Jr. Called ‘Snake Oil Salesman’ for Gay Marriage Switch

Alan Van Capelle, the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, unleashed on potential NY Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. following his announcement that he's suddenly for marriage equality despite voting twice for the federal marriage amendment.

Ford Said Van Capelle in a statement:

I know Harold Ford, Jr. just arrived to New York, but as a native and lifelong resident I know what New York values are and I know a snake oil salesman when I see one. You simply can’t claim to be pro-equality if you’ve twice voted to enshrine discrimination into the U.S. Constitution.

While it may be tempting for Mr. Ford to compare himself to people like Senator Chuck Schumer, the fact remains that Senator Schumer—who did evolve on his position on marriage equality—has been a longtime supporter of several pieces of legislation that are very important to LGBT people and never supported the awful Federal Marriage Amendment. Harold Ford, Jr. is no Chuck Schumer and he is no Kirsten Gillibrand.

The fact is Senator Gillibrand has voted in support of LGBT equality every time she’s had the chance to during her entire career as an elected official. Kirsten Gillibrand has supported LGBT people and Harold Ford, Jr. has not.

Quite frankly, I cannot point to another member of the U.S. Senate who, in their first year in office, has been more outspoken and passionate than Kirsten Gillibrand about her support for legislation that would finally provide full equality to LGBT Americans. Personally speaking, she will have my vote and I would think that the work she has done over the past year has earned her the support of the vast majority of LGBT New Yorkers.

Watch: Harold Ford Jr. Says He is Now for Same-Sex Marriage [tr]
Eyeing Senate, Harold Ford Jr. Suddenly Supports Marriage Equality [tr]


  1. John says

    The problem with Ford’s “evolution” is that it doesn’t stem from logical, rational, and incremental changes in policy. There’s nothing even remotely plausible about it.

    Not only did he vote for the Federal Marriage Amendment twice, he voted to sustain a congressional veto of DC’s domestic partnership benefits law. Not only did he vote against ENDA, he called the Matthew Shepard Act – a piece of legislation that even moderate Republicans voted for – “unneccesary.” And then there is the little matter of his actually campaigning for the U.S. Senate in 2006 touting this deplorable record of “protecting traditional families.”

    This isn’t evolution folks.

    It is transforming yourself from a donkey into a unicorn by gluing a plastic horn onto your head.

  2. AlexInBoston says

    This man reminds me of Alan Keyes when Keyes “moved” to Illinois to run for the Senate!! Carpetbaggers the both of them, and you have to ask yourself “Why did Harold, a lifelong southern” suddenly leave TN to seek office in NYS???? WTF

  3. Contrarian says

    I hope Harold Ford has a future in politics, just not in NY. He seems serious, dedicated and given the troubles of some of his family back in Tenn.,reasonably honest. Dems cannot and should not be a pseudo-religion with a confessional statement for membership. Leave that to the Repugs.
    Harold’s politics belong in the South where a centrist Dem is about the only kind likely to be elected. As for Gillibrand,while I’ll vote for her, I’ve always felt she is a pleasant empty pant-suit. Lucky for her no big name Repug is running.

  4. Jurgis says

    Currently he is a vice chairman and senior policy advisor for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, making money HAND OVER FIST. This will only serve to be a liability during his campaign given how those toxic institutions created the dire situation we are all now in vis a vis the economy.

    This guy is either is staggeringly naive or cynical to the core. I for one can’t wait to see how this shakes out. Here’s hoping he gets served a big steaming cup of shut the fuck up and get the fuck out, New York style.

    “It is transforming yourself from a donkey into a unicorn by gluing a plastic horn onto your head.”

    HA! awesome.

  5. Chitown Kev says

    I can see, this high yeller awfully good looking Southern gentleman of a politician can and will try to work you New York queens. Don’t fall for his charms

    @Alexin Boston

    the difference between Keyes and Ford is that Keyes didn’t change his positions one iota in a state that does NOT elect wingnut Republicans to US Senate seats (or as governor or attorney general, etc.)

  6. elg says

    Carpetbagger or not, Harold Ford Jr. is now in favor of marriage equality. This means he is now ON OUR SIDE. I don’t really care HOW or WHY he came to be on our side. BTW, Obama is still against marriage equality. And the last time HILARY CLINTON spoke out in public on the issue (during the 2008 presidential campaign), SHE was against marriage equality as well. Just thought I’d point out all of the above.

  7. Chitown Kev says



    Harold Ford has a VOTING RECORD.

    No votes on ENDA. and

    2 votes FOR the Federal Marriage Amendment, both of which Obama and Clinton are on the record as having voted opposed.

  8. RB says

    I lived in Memphis for 5 years and was represented by Harold Ford Sr. before he retired and offered up his son to replace him. The family is long time corrupt and wouldn’t know the truth if it slapped them in the face. He comes from a master politician father, neither of which have any real concerns beyond their own personal power! I wouldn’t vote for either of them if they were the only names on the ticket!

  9. John says


    If President Obama said tomorrow he had changed his mind on same-sex marriage, I think he’d have a little more creditability than Harold Ford Jr.

    Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment twice and for the Matthew Shepard Act in 2007. The latter he eventually signed into law as president. He was also a sponsor of ENDA in the Senate. These votes indicate that he’s generally for LGBT rights.

    Even though Obama has not spent any political capital on it, and that’s an understandable source of frustration for many, his views on homosexuality are coherent enough that any shift on same-sex marriage in the future would be a reasonable step forward from his previous positions.

    It is not the sort of immaculate conception that Ford- who has an absolutely dismal record on this issue as a member of the House of Representatives – is exhibiting here.

  10. says

    I don’t know much about this guy, but on the surface, it seems that this is not a change of heart so much as a change of pocketbook. As I see it, he’s only saying the “right” things to tickle voters’ ears in the hopes that he might get more votes. And if that’s really the case, that’s what I call spineless! If he supports or opposes an issue in good conscience cuz he really believes that’s the right thing to do, that’s called integrity, and that’s acceptable in my book, even if I don’t agree with the issue. But if he changes just to make ppl happy and to make them vote for him, that’s pathetic, regardless of whether I agree or disagree with the issue.

  11. Jason (the commenter) says

    I wouldn’t be shocked if someone suddenly come out as gay after being married twice, so why should I disbelieve someone if they suddenly come out as pro-equality? And shouldn’t we be encouraging politicians to change their views, not shoot them down when they do?

  12. Robert says

    I’ve lived in the Memphis area all my life. The Ford family is as corrupt as they come, with his uncle John Ford the worst. John Ford is currently in a federal prison for bribery. Harold Ford, Sr. was a master manipulator who made political deals that benifitted the family funeral home business. When Harold Ford Sr retired from politics and John Ford was sentenced to prison, and Harold Ford Jr lost his bid for the Senate, the stranglehold they had on Memphis was at last over. Harold Ford Jr is simply another of those say-ANYTHING-to-get-elected politicians.

  13. patrick nyc says

    It’s pretty clear from his record that Ford is playing to gays for support, despite his clearly not doing so before. That said, my hopes is that one of the possible other choices, who were scared off by Schumer, Obama, Paterson and others will get back in the race.

    I do not like Gillibrand, or having her ‘picked’ or shoved down my throat. She is a conservative as well, who has changed her positions to try and win down state, while people in her home area are turned off by her new positions.

    The difference between a politician and a whore? A whore at least tries to make you cum when they fuck you.

  14. elg says

    I get that Ford looks like a smarmy “snake oil salesman”. It’s just that I believe in that old saying that goes something like “don’t have permanent friends or permanent enemies – have permanent interests” (I forget the exact wording).

    Maybe by moving to NY, Ford is trying to distance himself (although awkwardly) from his “corrupt” family (is it fair to blame him for his family’s corruption?), his previous socially conservative views (based on the fact that he’s from a backwards southern state like Tenn.), etc., and move forward. In other words, Ford’s “immaculate conception”, as someone called it, is real simple: he left Tenn. and moved to NY.

    If other people, like Bill Clinton (DOMA, DADT anyone?), can get a pat on the back for “evolving” on marriage equality why can’t Ford?

    You know what? I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. If some of you guys want to hold it against Ford forever that he was a southern politician voting the way he did in order to win in Tenn., so be it. I’m just glad he eventually saw the light, after he moved to NY.

  15. gothamdan says

    I think Kirsten Gillibrand is great, and I could be wrong, but I would swear that when she was my Representative she was against gay marriage. She too changed her view when she became a senator.

  16. Chitown Kev says

    My goodness, why all of this “cum” talk when it comes to Harold Ford?

    @ELG- I think Clinton has also been criticized for not supporting marriage equality while he was still in office…it hasn’t all been pats on the back for the former President.

  17. wilburinla says

    I just don’t understand the hate here. Are those of you who are hating on Ford saying that a person cannot change/learn/grow? If so, then we are all doomed. Isn’t that the point/goal of gay activism? To show that gays are not something from outer space, but rather that we are your sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters.
    And don’t forget that former President Clinton not only supported DOMA, he signed it into legistation–all the while being the most gay-friendly President the United States has had to date. Now, Clinton had changed his position and supports the idea of marriage equality.
    So grow up and allow a man to see the light. It only proves that our collective efforts at advocacy on this issue are proving successful.

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