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 endorsement.

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 first time.

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 activists.

“I know a snake oil salesman when I see one,” Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle said.

Also scheduled to appear at Saturday's event at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in Manhattan are actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Bebe Neuwirth.