In an interview broadcast on the eve of a key Senate vote on “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says repealing the policy is about equality.

Appearing via satellite on MSNBC's Hardball, Gillibrand told host Chris Matthews that the policy that bans gay and lesbian troops from serving openly is “corrosive” and has to go.

“Fundamentally, Chris, this is one of the most corrosive policies we can have as a government,” she said.

Gillibrand was among the first to back Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman's plan to introduce a standalone version of repeal after Senate Republicans, led by Arizona Senator John McCain, twice blocked passage of a defense bill that included language to repeal the law.

“People realize now that this is also about military readiness. That fundamentally we need all of these men and women serving because we've lost so many. And think about the countless number of people who haven't joined the services because of this policy.”

“For my part, I also think it's the civil rights march of our generation. This is truly about equality. It's about equal rights. It's about civil rights. And these men and women, they want nothing but to serve this country and are literally being told that they can't based on who they love. And that is not who we are as Americans,” she added. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)