Gillibrand, 42, represents a conservative and, until she won the seat in 2006, Republican district that meanders from the Hudson Valley to north of Albany. She has been labeled a "Blue Dog" Democrat, especially because of her 100% rating from the NRA. Although she has a passion for hunting in common with Sarah Palin, her candidacy was strongly supported by the senior senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, an outspoken liberal and anti-gun advocate.
She is also quite liberal on women's and gay rights, consistently supporting a women's right to choose and advocating Federal recognition of civil unions on par with marriage rights as a precursor to full gay marriage recognition in the States.
In a recent interview with the Hudson Valley InsideOut magazine, she said:
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.
(So, Gillibrand sounds pretty good--pro-choice and pro-gay--although I'm still wondering what happened with Carolyn Kennedy. And, hey, don't I have a great, liberal dad?)