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San Francisco
mayor pulls support for antigay Democrat

San Francisco
mayor pulls support for antigay Democrat

Pro-gay San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom backs out of a fund-raiser for a Senate candidate opposed to marriage equality.

Democratic state representative Harold Ford Jr. didn't think twice about voting for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in his home state of Tennessee. But now that he is trying to raise money for a 2006 run for the U.S. Senate, that vote appears to be costing him much-needed support outside the state. A December 3 fund-raiser for Ford in San Francisco was postponed after San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom backed out as a cochair of the event, citing Ford's support for the marriage ban.

Newsom, who made headlines for conducting same-sex marriages at San Francisco City Hall in 2004, reportedly urged Ford to cancel the event after he learned that Ford had voted for the state constitutional amendment. Ford was one of 36 house Democrats to vote for the amendment, which gained a majority but failed to win the two-thirds majority necessary to pass. "It came to my attention that there were a few people in San Francisco concerned about my opposition to gay marriages," Ford told the Memphis-based Commercial Appeal newspaper. "Out of concern for local politicians, we decided to push the event back to mid January."

The fund-raiser is one of dozens Ford has been holding around the country for his U.S. Senate bid. Newsom was billed as an honorary cochairman of the event, as were former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown and District Attorney Kamala Harris. Ford said he doubts his vote will hamper his fund-raising in more liberal states. "I haven't, to date, had any problem raising money in red states or blue states," he told the Appeal. Ford has raised about $3 million for his Senate race, with a stated goal of $12 million. (

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