Appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand still isn’t very well known in her own state, but maybe this will make a name for her: she has arranged for Congressional review of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that allows gay servicemembers to remain in the military so long as they don’t reveal their status. Gillibrand tells the Daily Beast that at her urging, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold hearings on the topic this fall, which would be the first official review of DADT since its institution in 1993.
Gillibrand had considered introducing a stay on military discharges of gay personnel, but found the sledding rough and pushed instead for the hearings, which she says is a done deal.
As Gillibrand is expected to face a challenge next year from the more liberal Carolyn Maloney — whom recently polling showed running ahead of Gillibrand — this is probably a smart move for Gillibrand, and would seem to follow the “evolutionary” liberal path Chuck Schumer prescribed for her when she was appointed. Though she was less supportive of gay concerns in the past, Gillibrand came out, so to speak, against DADT to gay groups back in January. She called for repeal of DADT in a June Huffington Post article.
Her conversion seems to please progressive New York Democrats. “Kirsten Gillibrand: Progressive?” asks DemConWatch. And an “ardent critic” at From The Left says, “Was I Wrong About Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand?”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 2009