Press

Make No Mistake, There Is No Moderation

Date: 
August 15, 1996

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has come to the Republican National Convention in 1996 to tear the mask of moderation off this convention and the GOP. The Republican Party is more extreme, more anti-democratic, than it was in 1992, despite attempts by Republican leaders to have the American public believe otherwise. Make no mistake, there is no moderation. The party and its platform are embedded with bigotry, hatred and intolerance.

The convention platform is the platform of Pat Buchanan. The Republicans, in their 1996 platform language, advocate continued discrimination against gays and lesbians. They falsely claim that extending anti-discrimination statutes to gays and lesbians would distort these laws. The Right attacks gay and lesbian families. In their platform they oppose the right of same-gender couples to marry and imply that gay families threaten the apparently fragile institution of heterosexual marriage. The Republican Right calls for a purge of gays in the military. Ignoring common sense, actual experience, and the Defense Department's own studied conclusion, they claim homosexuality is incompatible with military service. The Republican Right strives to squash our progress on AIDS and the hope Americans have only recently begun to feel. The party platform re-writes the GOP's checkered record on AIDS and AIDS funding by falsely claiming a history of Republican support for AIDS prevention and research funding. It was this GOP that placed serious limits on the efforts of AIDS educators to speak plainly about sex and sexuality. This is a platform that while it claims to support equal opportunity for all continues to perpetuate discrimination against the gay people. Leadership of the Republican Party is so far to the right it's chilling. We are not fooled by the false face of moderation worn these past two days under the guise of speakers such as Mary Fisher and Susan Molinari. Today, we begin to see the real deal. Today the stage is given to some of the Right's most notorious spokespeople: Defense Of Marriage Act sponsor Representative Steve Largent , anti-gay and AIDS-phobic Congressmember Robert Dornan, and Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed.

Thursday, the true face of the GOP continues to reveal itself. The spotlight will shine on civil rights opponent, Congressman Dick Armey. Armey is best known for calling his openly gay colleague Representative Barney Frank, "Barney Fag." We will also hear from Senator Trent Lott of the secretive and far right Council for National Policy and featured in the anti-gay video Gay Rights Special Rights." And of course we will have vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp, the party's wolf in sheep's clothing. While he appears to be a mainstream conservative who offers the ticket a focus on conservative economic policies, Kemp is, in fact, an extremist out of step with mainstream America. Over the last fifteen years, Kemp has been part of the leadership of the hard Right, whose agenda is antithetical to democracy. His voting record brands him as a right-winger on such issues as abortion, discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders, and people living with HIV and AIDS. Even Kemp's arguably moderate views on affirmative action and immigration can be called moderate only in the context of the Republican extremism that surrounds him.

And finally, we culminate with the nominee himself, Bob Dole. Dole, on issues ranging from civil rights to gays in the military, to gay marriage, to youth issues, has shown himself to be no friend to the gay community. Bob Dole and the right-wing dominated Republican Party is the Trojan Horse and America is Troy. Let's not open the gates of the country for the Trojan Horse to enter. We must keep ourselves defended from the forces of the Right.

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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.