RNC Ad Targets Gay Voters

October 18, 1996

The Republican National Committee (RNC) is airing a radio ad highlighting the contradiction between Bill Clinton's stated support for gay rights and the Clinton campaign's boasting of the President's opposition to gay marriage. The RNC ad is reportedly running on gay-oriented radio stations in Northern California.

The RNC advertisement marks the latest twist in the week-long saga of radio ad revenge. Originally, the Dole campaign launched an ad on Christian radio stations attacking the President's morals. The Clinton campaign responded this Monday with a radio ad, also airing on Christian radio stations, touting the President's support of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Clinton ad created an uproar within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (lgbt) community. The campaign withdrew the ad on Wednesday.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) has asked President Clinton to publicly repudiate the ad. In addition to requesting a statement disavowing the ad, the Task Force asked the campaign to produce an ad highlighting the President's opposition to anti-gay discrimination and violence.

The Task Force called the RNC ad "cynical and ironic" and disagreed with claims by some gay republicans that the ad represented an effort by the GOP to reach out to gay voters. The following is a statement from NGLTF executive director Melinda Paras on the RNC ad:

The RNC ad is as cynical and ironic as the Clinton ad was offensive and hypocritical. Bob Dole was a co-sponsor of DOMA and opposes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. While some gay Republicans interpret the new RNC ad as the GOP extending its hand to gay voters, this is not the case. This ad is an attempt to undermine support for Clinton, not gain gay votes for Bob Dole. Both the Clinton and RNC ads are attempts to exploit issues and manipulate voters. These ads represent politics at its worst.


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.