NY Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to Succeed Clinton

NY Governor David Paterson has chosen Representative Kirsten Gillibrand to fill the US Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton when she was made Secretary of State. I don't know anything about her, to be honest, although what I'm reading so far is not thrilling me:
[Gillibrand] is known for bold political moves and centrist policy positions…

Ms. Gillibrand, who has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, is controversial among some of the party's more liberal leaders downstate.

Ms. Gillibrand's selection was a careful political calculation by the governor, who will run for his second term as governor in 2010, when Ms. Gillibrand will also be on the ballot. The choice reflects Mr. Paterson's thinking that his selection should be someone who can help him attract key demographics — in Ms. Gillibrand's case upstate New Yorkers and women.
Huzzah for Paterson—but it doesn't do the rest of the country a fat lot of good if an unreliable Dem is sent to replace a Dem juggernaut in a caucus that needs all the party loyalists it can get.

On the Issues paints what is best described as an incomplete picture; she hasn't been around long. And although she looks like a good ally on women's issues, having voted for access to and funding for contraception and to reintroduce the Equal Rights Amendment, as Pam notes, she's not a good ally on LGBTQI issues, having "voted against the repealing of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' legislation, opposed legislation that would grant equal tax treatment for employer-provided health coverage for domestic partners, opposed legislation to grant same-sex partners of U.S. citizens and permanent residents the same immigration benefits of married couples, and opposed legislation to permit state Medicaid programs to cover low-income, HIV-positive Americans before they develop AIDS."

Given the strong ally who's vacating the seat, that's not happy-making.


UPDATE: Flip-flop:
Last night likely Senate pick Kirsten Gillibrand spoke to Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle about issues important to New York's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

"After talking to Kirsten Gillibrand, I am very happy to say that New York is poised to have its first U.S. Senator who supports marriage equality for same-sex couples," said Van Capelle. "She also supports the full repeal of the federal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) law, repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) and passage of legislation outlawing discrimination against transgender people. While we had a productive discussion about a whole range of LGBT concerns, I was particularly happy to hear where she stands on these issues."
I'll take it.

UPDATE 2: Shaker Ryan (who also gets the hat tip for the first update; sorry I forgot!) sends the following along with the note, "It appears that she was bamboozling her social con constituents." Heh. Naturally, it's good to see her talking the talk; time will tell if she'll walk the walk.
IO: A decent portion of our readers are gay. What's your position on same-sex marriage?

KG: What I'd like to do legislatively, on the federal level—and I think we'll be able to do this with the new president—is actually make civil unions legal in all 50 states, make it the law of the land. Because what you want to fundamentally do is protect the rights and privileges of committed couples, so that they can have Medicare benefits, visit in the hospitals, have adoption rights. All [the] things that we give to married couples, committed gay couples should be eligible for. And then the question of whether you call it a marriage or not, what you label it, that can be left to the states to decide.

[It's] so culturally oriented. My mom's generation, they want their gay friends to have every right and privilege that they should be eligible for as a married couple, but they feel uncomfortable calling it marriage. To them, a marriage is a religious word that they learned from the Catholic Church: It's a covenant between a man, a woman, and God. So they feel uncomfortable with the word. But they don't feel uncomfortable with the rights and privileges.

I think the way you win this issue is you focus on getting the rights and privileges protected throughout the entire country, and then you do the state-by-state advocacy for having the title.
FWIW, I don't agree with that strategy, particularly, but I will note that she appears to recognize that the "title" is not incidental, that the conferring of rights is not de facto the same as equality.

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