Press

NGLTF Applauds President Clinton’s Statement On Atlanta Bombing

Date: 
February 27, 1997

Shaken by the bombing of a lesbian bar in Atlanta last Friday, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people nationwide were eager for Presidential response. Last night, in a speech before the Democratic Business Council, the President condemned the bombing of the nightclub as wrong. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) wrote the President immediately after the incident voicing its concern over the extreme prevalence of anti-gay hate crimes and requesting the President speak out against this latest terrorist incident in Atlanta.

The following is an excerpt from the President's speech:

I think we did the right thing to try to combat in a very aggressive way these church burnings. And I might say, the recent bombing of the gay nightclub in Atlanta reminds us that this work is not over. That was wrong, and we have to stand against those things. We have to go forward together. We don't have anybody to waste.

Today Attorney General Janet Reno also issued a statement condemning the bombing. The Attorney General stated the FBI and ATF are "pursuing all motives, including the possibility that the crime was motivated by the sexual orientation of the patrons at the club."

"The Task Force applauds the President and the Attorney General's statements condemning the bombing of the Otherside Lounge, a bar patronized by lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgenders," stated NGLTF executive director Kerry Lobel. "Let this violent and despicable act serve as a reminder that more leadership and action is needed in ensuring the safety and equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans," added Lobel.

Friday's bombing highlights the lack of civil rights laws in Georgia for its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens. According to NGLTF, Georgia's civil rights and hate crimes laws do not include sexual orientation. The state also has a same-gender sodomy law. "This bombing underscores the vital importance of hate crime laws in every state, including Georgia, and the absolute necessity that crimes based on sexual orientation be included in those laws," stated Lobel, According to NGLTF 19 states and the District of Columbia have hate crimes laws that include sexual orientation, while 19 states have hate crime laws that do not include sexual orientation. Georgia is one of 12 states with no hate crimes law.

NGLTF urges anyone with information about the Atlanta bombings to call FBI and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB.

–30–

The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.