Task Force Urges President To Veto Military HIV/AIDS Bill

February 07, 1996

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has urged President Clinton to veto the Defense Authorization Act, saying signing of the bill into law sends "the wrong message and feeds irrational beliefs and actions" against Americans with HIV and AIDS.

In a letter to the President sent today, Melinda Paras, NGLTF executive director, urged the President to veto the measure. News reports and statements from The White House have indicated the President may sign it as early as this weekend. The "unfair and discriminatory" measure, sponsored by Republicans Rep. Bob Dornan and Sen. Trent Lott, was attached to the DOD's authorization act. It will require the Defense Department to discharge all HIV positive service members, regardless of their health, within six months of the bill's enactment or of discovering their HIV status.

"We recognize the difficult position you've been placed in, Mr. President, as the Radical Right's action threatens to shut down the defense of the country so it can impose its own extreme agenda," said Paras in the letter. "Allowing this policy to stand, however, sends the wrong message to this country and feeds the irrational beliefs and actions by Dornan, Lott and other Congressional leaders who were not willing to stop this provision from being adopted by Congress."


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.