Presidential Candidate Bob Dole Selects Jack Kemp As His Running Mate

August 10, 1996

The Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force issued the following statements today in response to news reports naming Jack Kemp as Bob Dole's pick for his running mate. HRC and NGLTF are working together in coalition with other groups at the GOP Convention, and are organizing media events, rallies and other events.

"Since gay marriage is polling better than Bob Dole he had to do something dramatic," said David M. Smith, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian political organization. "Jack Kemp, while not as acerbic as some of his colleagues, has a solid anti-gay record nonetheless. Though the move will be seen by many as a move to the political center, Kemp's record indicates a continued trend to the hard right with the party firmly in the hands of religious political extremists."

"Former Senator Dole's reported selection of Jack Kemp as his running mate is one more attempt to provide cover for a party and a presidential campaign that are dominated by the Christian Coalition and the ultra right wing Council for National Policy," said Melinda Paras, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the nation's oldest gay and lesbian civil rights organization. "Kemp carries outstanding right wing credentials as a Fellow of the Heritage Foundation. No matter how thick the application of cosmetics, nothing will cover up the overwhelming presence of the hard right at this convention, whether they are speaking on stage or working behind the scenes."


OPPOSED the Supreme Court decision overturing Colorado's Amendment Two, a state ballot initiative that outlawed civil rights protection for gay people. "Clearly in my opinion however, I'm not as clear as I would like it to be -- I think Justice Kennedy was wrong in suggesting that the people of Colorado had an animosity toward gay people. What they were basically saying, they shouldn't get special rights." May 25, 1996 - Capital Gang Saturday - CNN
OPPOSED a union-negotiated non-discrimination policy and limited family benefits for gay couples at HUD in 1992. After the contract was negotiated with the American Federation of Government Employees, HUD Secretary Jack Kemp wrote the union in March 1990 saying he would not approve the contract "because the clause has been widely viewed as extending domestic partnership benefits to gay and lesbian employees." Kemp also objected to the anti-discrimination provision on the grounds that it went beyond existing federal law. September 18., 1992 - The Washington Post
FAVORS firing teachers who are gay. "I would suggest that we want all Americans to enjoy civil liberties and the right to privacy, and we have to at the same time recognize that there have to be public standards. I think a school board should have the right to choose what type of example we have for our children in public schools." December 20, 1987 - Interview with David Frost as reported by the Washington Post
CREATES AND SUPPORTS arch-conservative, right wing policy as a Distinguished Fellow of the Heritage Foundation, the preeminent think tank of the Right.
DID NOT SUPPORT expansion of civil rights protections, including those for people with contagious diseases such as HIV, by voting to sustain President Reagan's veto of the 1988 Civil Rights Restoration Act in the 100th Congress. Jerry Falwell had launched a disinformation campaign around the vote termed "unmatched by any other in recent memory" by Members of Congress. (S.557, 1988)
SIDED WITH NOTORIOUS ANTI-GAY Congressman William Dannemeyer's attempts to repeal the D.C. AIDS Insurance Bill and an amendment that would have provided a religious exemption to the D.C. Human Rights Ordinance against discrimination based on sexual orientation (H.R. 4776, 1988).
SUPPORTED REP. DANNEMEYER'S attempts to pass legislation that mandated the reporting of names of individuals who tested positive for HIV/AIDS (H.R.5142, 1988).
SUPPORTED MEASURE REQUIRING PHYSICIANS and counselors to notify spouses of HIV infected individuals (H.R. 5142, 1988) . SAT OUT historic votes on Hate Crime Statistics Act (H.R. 3192) and Fair Housing Amendments Act (H.R. 1158). PLAYED INTO GAY BAITING by overreacting to rumors about his sexual orientation stemming from a 1967 New York Times article by Drew Pearson exposing a "homosexual ring" in California Governor Ronald Reagan's administration. "Rep. Jack Kemp's political handlers, in a state of shock since he was asked last week on NBC's "Today" whether he had ever had a homosexual experience, will screen future interviews and bar any that go into the old slanders against him." March 17, 1986 - San Diego Union - Tribune


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.