GOP Platform Attacks Gays And Lesbians

August 07, 1996

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Responds in San diego, Calls on Dole to Reject Intolerance of the Right

On the eve of the opening of the 1996 Republican Convention, activists were outraged at the attacks on gays and lesbians in the GOP's convention platform and concerned about the "tenor of intolerance" that is emerging from the platform hearings.

The platform supports discrimination based on sexual orientation and opposes gay marriage and gays in the military. It also attacks immigrants and the reproductive rights of women.

Language in the platform reads:

-- "We opposes discrimination on account of sex, race, creed, or national origin and will vigorously enforce anti-discrimination statutes. We reject the distortion of those laws to cover sexual preference..."

-- "(We) endorse the Defense of Marriage Act to prevent judicial recognition of same-sex unions."

-- "We oppose bill Clinton's assault on the culture and traditions of the Armed Forces, especially his attempt to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military. We affirm that homosexuality isn incompatible with military service."

The Platform also mentions AIDS in terms of supporting a cure, but does not advocate for federal funding aimed at effective prevention, research, care and life-prolonging drugs.

"The main message of the Platform is that despite Bob Dole's attempts to mainstream and make more palatable the 1996 Republican Convention, at this points it is still firmly in the hands and control of the Religious Right," said Robert Bray, NGLTF spokesperson. "There is a definite tenor of intolerance emerging that, if unchecked by MNr. dole, will dominate the convention. I was in Houston at the GOP Convention in 1992, and this is starting to feel like deja vu."

Although a majority of Americans believe gays should not be discriminated against in the workplace, Republican extremists have opposed anti-discrimination protections for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people. "By exempting us form anti-discrimination protections, the GOP says it's okay to fire gay people from their jobs just for being gay. They want to discriminate against our loving relationships and deny us basic human rights by banning same-gender marriage. They denigrate the contributions gay and lesbian servicemembers have made to our Armed Forces.

"At the same time, right when we have therapies that prolong the lives of people with AIDS and are getting closer to a possible cure, the Republicans have stepped back from the plate and have remained silent on AIDS funding for prevention , care and research," said Bray.

The platform also advocated a complete ban on abortion, proposes harsh and unfair treatment of new immigrants, and prohibits the full participation in the military by women.

"Today we are concerned about the dominance of the Right in the platform hearings where they have once again persuaded the delegates to adopt their extremist positions," said Suzanne Pharr, author, long-time lesbian activist and noted authority on the Right. "We are concerned about the two faces of the Republican Party. While telling the public they are moderates, they continue to the same attack that Patrick Buchanan set for them in 1992. No matter what the GOP says about its new face, we see it surrounded by the Christian Coalition, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the arch-conservative Council for National Policy, which is meeting here at the same time."

NGLTF is working with the Human Rights Campaign, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender VOICES '96 (a San Diego based ad hoc group), and other organizations at the GOP Convention. For more information contact the Gay and Lesbian GOP Convention Media Center at (619)595-7949.


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.