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Republican Gay-Bashing
'Appalls' The White House

Public Displays of the "10 Commandments" Demanded

GOP's Religious Bigotry Subjected to Criticism Nationwide
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By Jack Nichols

An attempt by Republican congressmen to cancel a recently promulgated executive order by President Clinton that disallows anti-gay discrimination in federal employment practices has been called "appalling" by White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry.

"I think the president and the White House find it appalling that Congress would give serious consideration and do something that would, in effect, legalize discrimination against American citizens simply because of their sexual orientation," said McCurry.

The discriminatory move was initiated by Colorado Republican Joel Hefley, who says he thinks that current laws adequately protect people from discrimination and that an executive order from the president is unnecessary. Hefley's attempt to roll back federal job protections has already been joined by other House Republicans and follows upon recent signals by the G.O.P.'s leadership that the party intends to demonize gay men and lesbians as its principal political strategy as the 1998 November election season approaches. hefley.gif - 58.54 K
Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO)

The anti-job protection amendment will be offered to a 1999 Treasury, Postal Service and General Government Appropriations bill, managed by subcommittee Chairman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), who is openly gay and is opposed to it. Log Cabin Republicans' executive director, Rich Tafel, has called the measure "a slap in the face" for Chairman Kolbe. Even so, conservative House Republicans, including House Majority White Tom DeLay (Texas) indicate they hope to prohibit the spending of any government moneys to implement the President's order.

The White House Press Secretary observed: "There are a number of Republicans who, apparently, think that it's great politics for them to go out an gay bash. And that's appalling." delay.gif - 18.51 K
Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas):
Newt Says He Can Whip It Good

Gay Republicans too are angry. "We will fight the Hefley Amendment, and we will be watching every Republican vote when it comes to the floor," promised Log Cabin's Tafel. "There will not be a vote like this one in the House before the 1998 elections, and our entire membership will mobilize to fight its passage."

The President's Press Secretary says that the proposed amendment will probably die. Republicans in the House and Senate, he believes, "are going to stand up to their leaders and say 'knock it off.' "

The Republican party—in the face of public scolding by 700-Club Pat Robertson and Focus on the Family director James Dobson-- is eager to show it is committed to those social issues that fundamentalist religious groups consider primary, the groups being pro-school prayer, anti-free choice and anti-gay rights.

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Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.)
As a result, Alabama Republican Robert Aderholt, has introduced another bill to allow the posting of the Ten Commandments in public places. As with the Hefley amendment, however, it is expected that this bill—even if it makes it out of the House, will die quickly in the Senate.

As with the anti-gay bill, the Ten Commandments controversy is also being stirred by Tom DeLay and by Gary Bauer, president of the Family Research Council and an unofficial candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000.

This bill has Alabama roots, where a Etowah County judge, Roy Moore, hung the Ten Commandments on his courtroom wall, in violation of the principle of the separation of church and state.

Although he claimed his right to do so, Judge Moore's behavior was adjudged illegal by his superiors. Republican Governor Fob James announced in February 1997 that he was ready to call out National Guard troops to keep the Commandments stationed in Moore's courtroom.

Newspaper editorials from coast to coast are condemning anti-gay Republican initiatives. Friday's lead editorial in The New York Times said:

"Senator Trent Lott's recent condemnation of homosexuality and a variety of anti-gay initiatives in Southern communities point up an important trend in American politics, and a threatening one for advocates of inclusive democracy….

"Starting about 20 years ago, evangelical Christians began shedding their traditional aversion to political activism. In the South especially, they have flooded into the electoral process, settling mainly in the Republican Party. In doing it, they have charged and changed American politics as has no other force….. They have transformed the Republicans, bringing to the party a potent bloc vote, boundless energy and an unwillingness to compromise on certain domestic social issues…..

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Pat Robertson
"For the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who first brought evangelicals back to politics, and for James Dobson, their newest spokesman, Bible values are absolute. If homosexuals are condemned in scripture, as the fundamentalists say they are, then they must be condemned in society as well. The leaders of conservative religious organizations have been pressing the case with Republicans on Capitol Hill lately, and the effect has been plain to see."

After describing the torture-treatment meted out to Regan Wolf, a South Carolina woman twice suspended spread-eagled on her front porch with a sign that said "Jesus weren't born for you, faggot," the Times continued:

"American history is replete with examples of the connection between the politics of bias and violence. Republican leaders ought to take stock of what is happening in their party leaders' press conferences and in its new areas of grass-roots primacy. The party of Lincoln, which freed the slaves so long ago, should not be sowing the seeds of a new hatred on Southern ground."

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