Senator Kirsten Gillibrand couldn’t make it to the Stonewall Democratic Club’s candidate forum last night, so she called on Council Speaker Christine Quinn to sub for her. Which meant fielding the inevitable, awkward questions about whether the senator had shifted her position on gay issues.
Ms. Quinn, who endorsed Ms. Gillibrand in January, defended the Gillibrand narrative that the senator hasn’t changed her positions since ascending to statewide office.
“I think truly she held these positions through her entire career and her entire working life,” Ms. Quinn said last night. “There was misinformation out there at points about her positions that indicated she had different positions than what she actually had. And I think it’s important for all of us to know that. I took the time and learned that when she was first appointed to the Senate.”
Ms. Gillibrand came to her Senate seat with a less-than-stellar rating from the Human Rights Campaign, but after phone calls to Ms. Quinn and others on the eve of her appointment–pledging her commitment to the cause and soliticiting their support–has been an award-winning champion of gay issues.
“There was inaccurate information out there,” Ms. Quinn said. “Some would say her positions have switched. I don’t think that’s true at all.”
How did Ms. Quinn come to stand in for the senator? “They just asked and I was happy to do it,” she told me afterward.