New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
will speak at the Human
Rights Campaign's (HRC) ninth annual New York fundraiser. The
appearance raises the speculation that she's counting on the gay vote
to help secure her Senate seat.
HRC, the largest gay rights advocate,
recently endorsed the senator in her 2010 Senate bid.
Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate
by Governor David Paterson after President Obama tapped Hillary
Clinton to head the State Department. In accepting the post,
Gillibrand immediately announced her public support for gay marriage,
a move many commentators have said was necessary to win Paterson's
Shortly afterwards, the state's senior
senator, Charles Schumer, followed suit, telling the New York
Daily News that “equality is something that has always been a
hallmark of America.” With Schumer's about face, the state's
entire Senate delegation now publicly supports gay marriage for the
Analysts say Gillibrand, who also has
led in the effort to repeal the military's ban on openly gay service,
is a vulnerable target.
Gillibrand is expected to face former
Tennessee Representative Harold Ford Jr. for the Democratic
nomination. Ford, who twice voted in favor of placing a gay marriage
ban in the U.S. Constitution, recently announced he favored granting
gay couples the right to marry. The thirty-nine-year-old
politician's change of heart has been widely criticized by the gay
“I know a snake oil salesman when I
see one,” Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van
Also scheduled to appear at Saturday's
event at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Manhattan are actresses Sarah
Jessica Parker and Bebe Neuwirth.