Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Harold Ford's change of heart

When Harold Ford was a Congressman from Tennessee, he voted not once but twice to amend the United States Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.  Each time, the vote fell short, but Mr. Ford continued to take this extreme position.

Fast forward a few years.  Harold Ford is now living in New York.  He's considering a run for senate against a woman who has been a same-sex marriage supporter for quite some time.  Mr. Ford now claims to have changed his mind.  He supports same-sex marriage 100%.  Of course, a majority of New York Democrats (whose votes he will now need) share this view.

Mr. Ford has not be well received by LGBT rights groups in New York.  It's easy to see why.  Of course we must acknowledge when people change their minds to our advantage.  But the conversion must be convincing.  For many, Mr. Ford's conversion smacked of political opportunism.  Would he have changed his mind if he were still running in Tennessee?

And we must also never forget those who supported us when it was harder to do so.  To be in favor of same-sex marriage in New York right now is about as controversial with the public as supporting school lunches.  We welcome politicians whose hearts have changed. But they must remember that some politicians earned our loyalty many years ago.

How does the Harold Ford story end?  This week he announced he would not run for senator of New York.  So take some time and work with some LGBT folks, Mr. Ford.  Get to know us and listen to us.  You have been good on lots of other issues.   Let's earn each other's trust before rushing to the altar.

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