A potential Democratic U.S. Senate candidate who came under fire for his opposition to same-sex marriage is now in support of marriage rights for gay couples.
Harold Ford. Jr., a former U.S. House member who represented Tennessee in Congress from 1997 to 2007, announced his support for same-sex marriage — as well as civil unions — in an appearance Monday on NBC’s “Today Show.”
When host Matt Lauer asked Ford whether he supports same-sex marriage, Ford replied, “Civil unions and same-sex marriage, yes.”
Ford represented Tennessee when he served as a House member, but has reportedly been living in New York for three years, and is considering a primary challenge to oust Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) as the Democratic nominee before the November election.
When his potential candidacy was first reported, LGBT activists criticized Ford for his previous opposition to same-sex marriage and for taking on Gillibrand, who is known for having been a proponent of LGBT issues since she took office in the Senate.
According to the New York Post, Ford said on “The Today Show” he now supports gay nuptials because they’re the best way to keep benefits flowing to same-sex couples.
Saying he supported civil unions when he first ran for Congress in 1996, Ford said, “My support for fairness and equality existed long before I moved to New York.”
Prior to Ford’s appearance on the Today Show, the Post reported earlier on Monday about the potential candidate’s new support for same-sex marriage.
“He supports gay marriage, in the interest of fairness and equality,” Ford spokesperson Davidson Goldin reportedly told the Post.