‘Moderate’ Face of Republican National Convention Can’t Hide the Truth: Bush Administration ‘the most anti-gay in history’

August 27, 2004

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

NEW YORK CITY, August 27, 2004 — With Republicans planning to present a moderate and compassionate face during the Republican National Convention, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force today released a summary of the Bush Administration's record on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, calling the Bush-Cheney team "the most anti-gay administration in the history of the gay rights movement." The Task Force, the oldest national gay rights organization in the U.S., issued three reports on presidential candidates in 2000 and several reports on the Democratic and Republican candidates this election cycle.

"The Bush-Cheney Administration actively opposes every major policy initiative we care about - a federal nondiscrimination law, a hate crimes law, family protections, AIDS prevention, you name it," said Matt Foreman, the Task Force's Executive Director. "Ideology and religious zeal have replaced science as the driving force within the federal health care and research bureaucracy. And worst of all, President Bush has joined forces with the anti-gay industry, who scapegoat gay and lesbian families to promote their broader agenda of intolerance. This, from our perspective, is the true face of George W. Bush's presidency."

Given the Bush-Cheney Administration's across-the-board opposition to any form of legal equality for gay people, and given that, as Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson said recently, the theme of the RNC Convention in New York would be "compassion," the Task Force questioned the timing of Vice President Cheney's recent acknowledgement that he has a lesbian daughter and that he disagrees with President Bush on the need for a constitutional amendment to prohibit marriage for same-sex couples.

"While we welcome the Vice President's words, actions are what count in politics. This administration has attacked equal rights for gay people and gay families on all fronts, including consciously using gay marriage as a wedge issue to divide the nation, win re-election, and fuel anti-gay organizing," Foreman said. "That is the reality behind the face of 'compassion.'"

According to the Task Force, of twelve key policy issues of concern to LGBT people, Bush either opposes equality or has taken no affirmative steps to advance equal treatment. Bush opposes lifting the military ban, has spoken out repeatedly against gay parenting, and has refused to state his position on Social Security survivor benefits for same-sex couples, safe schools initiatives, and other issues. (A chart summarizing these positions appears at the end of this release.)

The Task Force said it was particularly alarmed by the degree to which the Bush Administration policies have been dictated by far right, Christian evangelicals.

"Since Karl Rove decided that the key to the President's re-election would be turning out 4 million evangelicals whom he thinks stayed at home in 2000, this Administration has catered to every demand of the religious right, blurring the cherished line between church and state," Foreman said.

The Task Force cited a range of decisions and policies showing the influence of far right Christian evangelical political pressure, including the "Faith Based Initiative" which allows faith-based service providers using federal tax dollars to ignore state and local nondiscrimination laws, the nomination of rabidly anti-gay individuals to the courts, and imposition of scientifically-unsupported "abstinence only until in a biblical married relationship" policies here at home and abroad. (A summary of some of these issues appears at the end of this release.)



Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Laws - OPPOSES
Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Laws - UNCLEAR
HIV/AIDS Prevention & Treatment - OPPOSES*
Lifting Military Ban - OPPOSES
Inclusive Hate Crimes Laws - OPPOSES
Social Security Survivor & Spousal Benefits - OPPOSES**
Domestic Partnership - OPPOSES***
Civil Unions - OPPOSES
Marriage - OPPOSES
Adoption - OPPOSES
LGBT-Supportive Education Policy - UNCLEAR
Federal Marriage Amendment - SUPPORTS

UNCLEAR = Unfortunately, the White House Press Office ignored repeated requests to complete a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force survey on twelve key issues of concern to LGBT people.

For a comparison of the Bush and Kerry positions on LGBT Issues, go to the Task Force election center at:

*The Bush Administration has a mixed record on HIV/AIDS issues. While the President last year proposed a dramatic increase in funding for international prevention funding for domestic HIV/AIDS prevention has remained level. Bush has aggressively promoted abstinence-only-until-marriage both domestically and in Africa. Congress and the Administration have investigated AIDS service organizations for alleged obscenity violations, and investigated sex research through the National Institutes of Health.

**The Bush Administration has not taken a clear stance on the provision of Social Security survivor and spousal benefits for same-sex couples. However, Bush's support of the Federal Marriage Amendment would preempt any court ruling in favor of equal treatment of same-sex couples under Social Security policy.

*** In 2000 Bush said, "In the private sector [domestic partner benefits] are perfectly fine." On the governmental level, he said, the decision should be left up to cities and states. As governor however, Bush did nothing to advance domestic partner benefits, and in October 2003 he endorsed Marriage Protection Week, which opposed any form of partner recognition for gay couples. Bush has not indicated whether or not he supports domestic partner benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees.

The Influence of Far-Right Christian Evangelical Political Activists on Federal Policies

Through its "Faith Based Initiative" the Bush Administration has extended federal contracts to faith-based service providers that discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion and sexual orientation and had openly called upon Congress to enact legislation allowing faith-based service providers using federal tax dollars to be able to ignore state and local nondiscrimination laws in hiring. Deploying a theme used by the anti-gay movement since the 1980s, the Administration has inaccurately portrayed sexual orientation nondiscrimination laws as a hindrance to serving the needs of African American and Latino urban poor.

The Bush Administration has stifled potentially life-saving scientific inquiry. Last year, under pressure from the Traditional Values Coalition, the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) audited 250 sexuality-related research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), causing researchers to self-censor when submitting federal grant proposals to avoid undue scrutiny. Scientists have been vetted with leading political questions, and as a result appointed to or fired from research advisory councils. Four thousand scientists, including 48 Nobel Prize winners, have signed a declaration condemning the administration's abuse of science.

Under pressure from the religious right, President Bush has nominated individuals with extreme anti-gay views to the federal bench and other federal positions, including nominating Christian evangelical Jerry Thacker, who has called AIDS the "gay plague," and homosexuality a "deathstyle" to the Presidential Advisory Commission on HIV and AIDS. (The nomination was withdrawn.) Similarly, William H. Pryor Jr., who was put on 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in a recess appointment, has said, "God has chosen, through his son Jesus Christ, this time and this place for all Christians... to save our country and save our courts" and in a brief in a brief before the Supreme Court compared homosexual acts with "necrophilia, bestiality, child porn, incest, and pedophilia."

The U.S. remains the only industrialized nation that has failed to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, (CEDAW), acceding to the Christian right's characterization of CEDAW as promoting "lesbianism."

The Bush Administration opposes comprehensive sex education, has aggressively promoted "abstinence-only-until-marriage" policies, and has defunded AIDS service providers for advocating safe sex. Bush has said young people should delay having sex until they are in a "biblical married relationship." Studies have shown that "abstinence only" programs do not work in preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Coupled with the administrations opposition to same-sex marriage, they implicitly promote lifelong celibacy to young LGBT people.

The just-adopted platform of the Republican Party moved even further to the right and now contains, in the words of the Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Patrick Guerriero, "radically extreme language that goes even further than calling for a ban on same-sex marriage" that seeks "to marginalize part of the American family by barring not just marriage but also civil unions, domestic partnerships, and indeed any benefits or protections for gay and lesbian families."


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.