As Harold Ford Jr. mulls running against Kirsten Gillibrand for the New York U.S. Senate seat, the Tennessee anti-gay pol has had a sudden conversion of belief about the right of gays and lesbians to marry after a long legislative record of opposing ANY gay rights.

In what will likely be read as another sign of his interest in running against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in this year’s Democratic primary, ex-Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. publicly said for the first time that he was in favor of same-sex marriage.

“He supports gay marriage, in the interest of fairness and equality,” Ford spokesman Davidson Goldin told The Post. Ford backed up that statement himself this morning on the “Today Show.”

Host Matt Lauer asked, “So you’re now in favor of same sex marriage?”

“Civil unions and same-sex marriage, yes,” Ford said.

…Asked by host Matt Lauer if it was a “change” in position, he invoked Chuck Schumer and Bill Clinton, saying: “Maybe in the language. But I’m a believer that benefits should flow to same sex partners and if indeed the fiction of the language, the title, should be changed, much like Chuck Schumer who changed his mind on it and Bill Clinton’s evolved, I’m of the opinion now that nothing is wrong with that.”

He was against it before he was for it. The Empire State Pride Agenda wasn’t having any of that shite:

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 Sen. Chuck Schumer, the fact remains that Sen. 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.

And check out the level of homophobia Ford belched back in 2007 about marriage. It’s below the fold, including a video.And check out this blast from the past

From the NYT, Published: January 22, 2007:

Ford cast one of only 36 Democratic votes in the House in 2004, and one of only 34 last year, for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The Stonewall group finds those votes all the more upsetting, spokesman John Marble maintains, because before the 2004 vote Ford had privately assured gay and lesbian Democrats in Tennessee that he did not support the same-sex amendment.

He made no such assurances in last year’s campaign against Republican Bob Corker . Ford ran ads that explicitly contradicted Corker spots describing Ford as a backer of gay marriage. And when the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in October that same-sex couples in the state are due the same rights and benefits as married heterosexuals, Ford demurred. “I oppose gay marriage,” he said. “This November, there’s a referendum on the Tennessee ballot to ban same-sex marriage – I am voting for it.”


Related:

* Please Butt Out of the NY Senate Race, Harold Ford!