Press

HIV+ Service Members Still Under Attack: New Dornan Bill Requires Discharge Of Service Members, Reopens Gays In Military Issue

Date: 
May 03, 1996

Service members with HIV face yet another effort to oust them from the military. On May 1, the House National Security Committee refused to delete a provision by Rep. Bob Dornan (R-CA), which would require the discharge of these service members. By a vote of 37 to 13, the Committee voted to maintain this new Dornan provision, despite the fact that Congress repealed a very similar provision just last week, when it adopted the final version of the FY 1996 Continuing Resolution. President Clinton signed that bill into law on April 26, the very day Rep. Dornan reintroduced his proposal. Timing for consideration by the full House is not yet clear. H.R. 3230 also includes other objectionable provisions, including one to reinstate the previous ban on gays in the military and a ban on abortions at overseas military hospitals.

The following statement is attributable to Helen Gonzales, NGLTF public policy director:

"It is time for the Republican Leadership to take a stand against right-wing extremists that continue to scapegoat service members with HIV. A quiet approach may have worked to maintain the repeal provision on the FY 1996 Continuing Resolution but has not succeeded in stopping the attacks by Rep. Dornan and his followers."

The Republican leaders in Congress, especially House leaders, must demonstrate that they can stand up against intolerance and display the attitude of fairness that most Americans share on this issue. President Clinton has consistently opposed the blatant bigotry of this provision, and NGLTF applauds his leadership. NGLTF now calls on Congressional leaders to do the same. We urge the bipartisan group of House and Senate members, who led the fight to repeal the previous Dornan proposal attacking service members with HIV, to again take the lead in fighting this unjust proposal. They must insist that their leaders to defeat this provision, and stop other provisions that have nothing to do with national security from becoming law."

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is the oldest national gay and lesbian civil rights organization. NGLTF has supported grassroots organizing and pioneered in national advocacy since 1973. Since its inception, NGLTF has been at the forefront of virtually every major initiative for lesbian and gay rights. In all its efforts, NGLTF helps to strengthen the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender movement at the state level while connecting these activities to a national vision for change.

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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.