BY Julie Bolcer

February 23 2010 8:05 PM ET

The Stonewall Democrats do not endorse the position of the Power. In
fact, club board members include people who pushed to give Ford the
hearing. The invitation stemmed from former Stonewall president Chris
Lynn, who said he met Ford “fortuitously” on an Amtrak train a few days
after he announced his interest in the seat. Lynn, a longtime gay
activist, most recently worked as senior counsel to state senator
Rubén Diaz Sr., a Bronx Democrat who voted against the marriage
equality bill.

“He seemed extremely comfortable in engaging,”
says Lynn, who declined to discuss the specifics of their conversation
but conceded that he mistook the telegenic Ford for Yankee shortstop
Derek Jeter. “We talked about a number of things and when I questioned
him about the gay issues, I liked what I heard and I said, ‘To whom
have you reached out?’”

Lynn, who calls himself a Ford
supporter, says he views the Wednesday meeting as an opportunity for
the potential candidate to begin to build support among gay Democrats.
He adds that he knows other gay New Yorkers who are supporting Ford.

“It’s
not like we’re offering a public forum for Fred Phelps,” says Lynn, in
reference to the founder of the notoriously antigay Westboro Baptist
Church.

Regardless of the outcome for Ford, the commotion over
his could-be candidacy appears to represent a win-win for LGBT New Yorkers.

“We were not a large enough constituency here
for him to be bothered with,” says Maynard of Memphis. “He cannot win
in New York without the support of the gay community. He could ignore
us here in Tennessee.”









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