Lesbian And Gay Leaders Meet With Vice President Gore
Just days prior to the 53rd Presidential inauguration, Vice President Al Gore pledged to continue to advocate on behalf of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (lgbt) community in the Administration's second term. The commitment occurred in a meeting with gay and lesbian leaders at the Vice President's office
Attending the meeting was Roberta Achtenberg, Department of Housing and Urban Development; Elizabeth Birch, Human Rights Campaign; Keith Boykin, Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum; Kerry Lobel, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Martin Ornelas-Quintero, Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization; Jeff Soref, gay democratic activist; and Jeff Trammell, Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.
Kerry Lobel, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) executive director, characterized the meeting as "important, positive and promising." Medicaid, needle exchange programs, expected attacks on lgbt families by anti-gay legislators were the main topics of discussion. The appointment of openly lgbt staff to the Administration was also discussed. The group thanked Gore, who lobbied Senators last year to vote for the pro-gay Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Medicaid was a big issue at the meeting. Lobel told Gore that proposed per capita caps "could be devastating to people with AIDS." She strongly urged the Vice-President to support increased funding of Medicaid, emphasizing to the Vice President that 90 percent of children and 50 percent of adults with AIDS depend on Medicaid for life-prolonging treatment. Lobel reminded the Vice President that without Medicaid funding, the new generation of promising AIDS drugs are out of reach for most people. The group also urged Gore to support needle exchange programs as a way to prevent HIV infection.
Concerned about increased attacks on lgbt families, the group also told the Vice President to expect gay and lesbian family issues to be a hot button issue during the Administration's second term. Leaders explained to Gore that along with anti-gay marriage bills, lgbt families are being attacked by the Far Right in the form of bills banning adoption and foster parenting by gays and the prohibition of schools from providing factual, positive information on homosexuality. "Vice President Gore was warm and receptive to us and our issues," stated Lobel. "He made a commitment to monitor both the Medicaid and needle exchange issues. Our job during this next term is to ensure not only that the Clinton/Gore Administration keeps informed about these critical issues, but that they proactively work to save the lives of people with AIDS and stop the vicious and hate-filled attacks against our community," added Lobel.
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.
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