Bush's Homosexual Agenda and Other Civil Rights Lies

"I hope that in this new millennium we will continue to break down the walls of fear and prejudice and work to build a bridge to understanding and tolerance, until gays and lesbians are afforded the same rights and responsibilities as all Americans," signed President William J. Clinton, proclaiming June 2000 as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.

But in this new millennium, a new kid sits in the House, and June's rainbow flag flies no more. Family Research Council's weekly issue "Culture Facts" leads with "Bush Quietly Rejects Gay Pride Month" and reports, "While conservative groups opposed President George W. Bush's appointment of an open homosexual as the new director of the National AIDS Policy Office [for what would a gay man know about AIDS?], they are applauding the president's decision to discontinue former President Clinton's practice of observing 'Gay and Lesbian Pride Month' in June."

Of course, "practicing" such an observation would mean tacit approval of "sodomites'" immoral lifestyle. And we all know the Right's mantra, "love the sinner; hate the sin." White House spokesman Jimmy Orr explains (presumably with a straight face), "The president believes every person should be treated with dignity and respect but, he does not believe in politicizing people's sexual orientation."

Now that's a good one.

Bush is the same poster child for the Religious Right, who with fellow Christian leaders strategized nearly 10 years ago to replace the abortion fight with "the homosexual agenda" as a moral wedge to politically divide and conquer the nation.

This is the same politician who, when governor of Texas, publicly supported the prosecution of two men arrested for having sex in the privacy of their own home. Bush defended upholding the state's sodomy law as "a symbol of traditional values" and threatened to veto any legislative attempt to overturn it. The couple was jailed for more than 24 hours before being released on bond and ultimately found guilty as charged. A Court of Appeals since found the 200-year-old law to be in violation of the Texas Equal Rights Amendment by making the same behavior criminal "for some but not for others, based solely on the sex of the individuals who engage in the behavior."

Governor Bush also aggressively fought and stalled the James Byrd Hate Crimes bill that riled conservatives for including protection of sexual orientation with other minorities. His Republican successor has since signed the legislation.

This is the same GOP leader, whose party has taken gay bashing to an art form. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott has likened gays to alcoholics, sex addicts and kleptomaniacs, and opposed Clinton's executive order to protect federally employed gays and lesbians from job discrimination.

The Republican Party platform, which purportedly stands for individual responsibility and limited government, finds cause to barge into American's bedrooms by opposing the decriminalization of sodomy. It reads: "The practice of sodomy tears at the fabric of society" and "...contributes to the breakdown of the family unit." Broadly defined as any intimate act other than procreative sex, sodomy is something my husband and I practice regularly, as do millions of heterosexual couples, and our family unit is just fine, thank you.

While Bush "quietly" makes political points for not "politicizing people's sexual orientation," thousands of Americans continue to be denied basic human and civil rights for exactly that reason.

In recognizing federal responsibility for observing Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, Clinton said, "Gay and lesbian Americans have made important and lasting contributions to our Nation in every field of endeavor. Too often, however, gays and lesbians face prejudice and discrimination; too many have had to hide or deny their sexual orientation in order to keep their jobs or to live safely in their communities."

His proclamation called for the passage of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, "to strengthen the Department of Justice's ability to prosecute hate crimes committed due to the victim's sexual orientation" and of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, "which would outlaw discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation." Legislation conservatives continue to oppose.

As European countries lead the way in addressing gay and lesbian rights as civil rights, such as extending access to military service and domestic partner benefits, and even marriage, our president pretends that sexual orientation is not a political issue. This despite the Pentagon's announcement this month that the number of personnel discharged for homosexuality under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" peaked since first enacted in 1994.

Not political despite countless related federal, state and local cases involving housing bias, job termination, adoption bans, civil unions and same-sex marriage, domestic partner health benefits, hospital visitation and inheritance, school harassment, parental visitation rights and university discrimination.

Maybe Bush will admit to his party's shameless politicizing of sexual orientation come the day when, as Clinton's proclamation for June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month says, we "finally recognize these Americans for what they are: our colleagues and neighbors, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, friends and partners."

Have feedback for Lara Riscol? Write to sexaware@home.com.

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