The papers have been giving Harold Ford Jr.’s undeclared run against Kirsten Gillibrand lots of respect. But Gillibrand has a few friends, and Ford ran into them at the LGBT Community Center in the West Village, where he spoke to the Stonewall Democrats last night.
Though candidates usually get a respectable hearing, or at least suppressed disagreement, from the gay Democratic club, Ford was heckled as he explained his transition from Tennessee opponent of gay marriage to New York supporter of it.
Ford did his own cause little good, Julie Bolcer reports at the Advocate, by revealing a lack of familiarity with Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 Supreme Court decision on sodomy.
“Attendees gasped in unison,” says Bolcer, when Ford said, “I just don’t know the decision.”
Though the crowd response is generally described as “divided,” “No more lies, no more lies” and “Snake-oil Harry, go away” were reportedly among the chants visited upon Ford. A few people held up “LIAR” signs, and at the end a “confetti cannon fired by activists,” per Bolcer, further disrupted the event.
Ford tried to make the best of things with contrite expressions such as “I falsely and wrongly believed that [civil unions and marriage equality] were equitable” and “I now recognize the wrongness of my ways.”
The former congressman voted in 2006 for the anti-gay-marriage Federal Marriage Amendment. At the meeting he claimed he “never promised anyone that I would vote against the amendment,” but the Memphis Stonewall Democrats told Gay City News Ford’s office told them the congressman would vote no in 2004.
A Facebook group called “Crash Harold Ford, Jr.’s Address to Stonewall Democrats NYC” had told followers “it is imperative that the LGBT community turn out next Wednesday to confront Ford.” 584 of them said they would at last count; On Top says close to 250 of them showed up. (Bolcer reports total attendance around 200.)
Ford told Gay City News, “If I decide to run I hope to come back.”