Press

Gays And The Clinton Re-Election

Date: 
November 05, 1996

Statement by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on the 1996 Presidential and Other Races

The first portion of this statement is attributable to Melinda Paras, NGLTF executive director. NGLTF is the oldest national organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights.

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"We welcome the opportunity to work with the Clinton Administration for another four years to advance an agenda of equality and fairness. The relationship between the Clinton Administration and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community has been mixed -- sometimes positive and often strained. There is no doubt that President Clinton has been the most receptive president to gay issues in the history of our country. At the same time gay Americans have felt the sting of betrayal as the President capitulated to Far Right rhetoric and endorsed the Defense of Marriage Act and the "don't ask, don't tell" gays in the military policy.

"We stand ready to engage the White House in ongoing dialogue aimed at creating real change for gay Americans. This means the President, during his second term, must provide aggressive support for enacting comprehensive anti-discrimination protections. He must respect and support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families and our loving relationships. He must weigh in on Supreme Court cases that could affect gay people and appoint justices that stand for fairness for every American. He must vigorously work to end the witch hunts of gay and lesbian service members that have increased since the implementation of "don't ask, don't tell."

"The President must demonstrate stronger leadership in the fight against AIDS and HIV, including increased funding to make the latest life-prolonging drug therapies available to everyone who needs them. He must hold the line against further cuts in Medicaid and Medicare and work to make health care accessible to every American. We call on the President to reaffirm his commitment to providing a safety net to America's poorest families. He must set an example of tolerance, not scapegoating, of disenfranchised communities."

[The following portion of this statement is attributable to Kerry Lobel, NGLTF executive director-designate.]

"The reelection of Bill Clinton caps what has been a roller coaster year of political highs and lows for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Gay issues have figured prominently in the presidential and congressional elections, for good and for bad. For the Republicans, it seemed their main concern was not to appear too "anti-gay." For the Democrats, their main concern was not to appear too "pro-gay."

"Elections count, but they don't count for everything. Regardless of which party controls Congress, gay issues will only move forward to the extent that we have a well-organized, easily mobilized independent movement, with close ties with other constituencies who care about fairness and social justice. Neither party can be fully counted on to support our goals without strong and steady pressure. Our greatest victories during the Clinton Administration -- in particular the defeat of anti-gay ballot measures throughout the country -- were those we won with our coalition partners. During his second term we expect the President to be help lead an agenda for fairness. Presidential fortitude will be imperative."

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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.