Update Below: In another sign that he's serious about challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. went on the record in support of same-sex marriage. Though he twice voted to change the constitution to ban gay marriage as a congressman, the 39-year-old who moved to New York three years ago stated: "My support for fairness and equality existed long before I moved to New York."
In an interview on the "Today Show," Ford noted: "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." His spokesman told the Post that Ford "supports gay marriage, in the interest of fairness and equality."
Unfortunately for Ford, his statements seem to sparked the ire of Democrats and Democratic-leaning organizations, which have already been trying to force him out of the race (he's already come under fire from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Chuck Schumer, as well as pro-choice groups). Following Ford's interview, the Empire State Pride Agenda issued a statement to the Observer calling the politician a "snake oil salesman." "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," said executive director Alan Van Capelle. "You simply can't claim to be pro-equality if you've twice voted to enshrine discrimination into the U.S. Constitution."
Update: Governor Paterson added his name the list of Democrats opposing Ford's candidacy. Sort of. According to the Times, Paterson said Ford should both drop out of the race — and stay in it. "I would suggest that he might look for another state to run a primary," said Paterson, who then noted: "I think it’s O.K. for anyone to challenge anybody in a primary this year; that’s what democracy is about."