Press

Vice Presidential Keynote Address to NRA Raises Concerns Among LGBT and Anti-Violence Organizations

Date: 
April 16, 2004

Reflects Administration's Double Standard on Constitutional Freedoms

MEDIA CONTACT:
Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications
media@theTaskForce.org
646.358.1465

Below is a press release issued by our colleagues at GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation:

April 16, 2004 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: John Sonego, Director of Programs and Communications Phone: (323) 634-2020 Email: sonego@glaad.org

LOS ANGELES, April 16, 2004 - The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today urged media to cover the story of the Bush Administration's apparent double standard on constitutional freedoms as several national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and anti-violence organizations expressed concern over Vice President Richard B. Cheney's upcoming keynote address at the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Pittsburgh, PA on Saturday, April 17, 2004.

Below you will find statements by various national LGBT and anti-violence organizations:

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"The Vice President's attendance at the NRA convention is an endorsement of gun-owner's constitutional rights," said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman. "It is ironic that, at the same time, the Bush Administration is attempting to forever limit the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by means of an anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment. This sends a message about this Administration's willingness to sell its stance on our constitutional rights to the highest electoral bidder."

Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD)

"The NRA and its members represent the devaluation of human life on a number of levels. The organization perpetuates a culture of violence that in no small way affects vulnerable communities (i.e. communities of color and the LGBT community) and has demonstrated its insensitivity, ignorance and obliviousness time and again. We at GMAD are saddened by the fact that the current administration would support such a group," said Tokes Osubu, Gay Men of African Descent Executive Director.

Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY)

"How can Dick Cheney give a keynote address that showcases his support of the Constitutional rights of gun owners while simultaneously supporting an amendment to the Constitution that would set limits on LGBT equality?" asked executive director of Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY) Glenn Magpantay. "This is just one more example of this administration's willingness to exploit the constitution for political gain while overlooking vulnerable populations like the Asian Pacific Islander LGBT community."

Mano A Mano

"The NRA lives in political and social vacuum," said Andrés Duque, Director of Mano a Mano. "They refuse to recognize that advocating the removal of a ban on assault weapons in this country does enormous damage to vulnerable populations, particularly in urban environments where many Latinos live and work. It is shameful that Vice President Cheney would court their support by serving as the keynote speaker at their annual meeting . It sends a very clear message to those that would suffer under the policies that the NRA advocates that this administration does not care about us or the issues that daily effect our lives."

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

"Firearms are America's true 'weapons of mass destruction,'" said Acting Executive Director of The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs Clarence Patton. "In 2001, 11,348 Americans were killed and 45,316 were injured by firearms. Firearms are increasingly used in anti-LGBT hate crimes, and have long been the scourge of urban and other communities. It is telling that Vice President Cheney gladly offers his own and the Administration's imprimatur on the NRA's claim that firearms - including America's true weapons of mass destruction, automatic assault weapons - are a matter of constitutional freedom, even while he supports the abridgement of freedoms for LGBT people and surely has done nothing to mitigate the epidemic of anti-LGBT hate, but has in fact tacitly encouraged it."

Al-Fatiha

"Cheney's appearance before the NRA does not mask this administration's willingness to undermine the protections given to all Americans in the constitution. From the problematic aspects of the Patriot Act to the FMA, gay Muslims experience double prejudice and discrimination in this country," said Al-Fatiha Executive Director Faisal Alam. "Since the Sept. 11 attacks on America, there has been a 300% increase in violence against Muslims in the United States, according to the Counsel on American and Islamic Relations. As this administration continues to support policies that single out groups of people for disparate treatment under the law, we call upon it to reaffirm its commitment to the most important task of government - to preserve and defend the basic freedoms granted to all Americans."

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

"We urge media to cover the story of the Bush Administration's apparent double standard on constitutional freedoms," said Director of Programs and Communications for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation John Sonego. "As the Administration appears to support the Second Amendment, on the one hand, it is attempting to deface the Constitution by promoting an anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment on the other hand, forever enshrining second-class citizen status for LGBT people. Gun owners should not take comfort in this Administrations casual treatment of the U.S. Constitution."

Below you will find a list of resources and current information that will be helpful.

RELEVANT LINKS:

Vice President's address to NRA:

The New York Times - April 16, 2004
"N.R.A. Opens an All-Out Drive for Bush and Its Views"
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/16/politics/campaign/16NRA.html

Pittsburg Post-Gazette - April 9, 2004
"Bush, Kerry, Cheney all heading this way"
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04100/298447.stm

National Rifle Association - Institute for Legislative Action - March 31, 2004
NRA 133rd Annual Meetings & Exhibits Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, April 16-20
http://www.nraila.org/News/Read/Releases.aspx?ID=3430

Vice President Cheney on same-sex civil marriage:

Associated Press - March 2, 2004
"Cheney Says He Supports Gay-Marriage Ban" http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040303/D812ILCG0.html

CNN - February 26, 2004
"Marriage amendment: Will it help or hurt Bush?"
http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/02/25/elec04.prez.bush.marriage/

Denver Post - January 11, 2004
"VP would back ban on gay marriage"
http://www.denverpost.com/cda/article/print/0,1674,36%257E11676%257E1881360,00.html

RESOURCES:

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
http://www.thetaskforce.org/

Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD)
http://www.gmad.org

Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY)
http://www.gapimny.org

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
http://www.avp.org/ncavp.htm

Mano A Mano
http://www.latinoaids.org/programs/mano.htm

Al-Fatiha
http://www.al-fatiha.net

GLAAD's Marriage Equality Resource Kit
http://www.glaad.org/media/resource_kit_detail.php?id=3457

GLAAD's Hate Crimes Resource Kit
http://www.glaad.org/media/resource_kit_detail.php?id=3495

This publication of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) can be viewed online:
http://www.glaad.org/media/newspops_detail.php?id=3655

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, access http://www.glaad.org/

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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.