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The Scary Case against George W. Bush, GOP Candidate

NGLTF Exposes Bush's Record on Sex, Hate, Jobs, AIDS

'Compassionate' Conservative's Anti-Gay Bias Unmasked


Compiled By GayToday
Courtesy of the NGLTF

gwbushsmile.jpg - 7.00 K Washington, D.C.—The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) has released an abysmal account of the record of George W. Bush, Governor of Texas, Republican Candidate for President as it relates to lesbian, gay, and bisexual and transgender issues:

Hate Violence
Bush opposes hate crimes laws that prescribe harsher penalties for bias-motivated violence. The existing Texas hate crimes law does not specify what kinds of hatred warrant stiffer penalties by judges. The James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Bill would have defined a hate crime as "one motivated by the victim's race, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, or sexual preference," thus facilitating enforcement of the law. (Paul Burka, "James Byrd, Jr.: Law's latest symbol," Texas Monthly, September 1999.)

Bush's failure to back the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Bill is blamed for its demise in the Texas Senate last spring. According to Texas Monthly, Bush specifically objected to the inclusion of sexual orientation in the bill. (Paul Burka, "James Byrd, Jr.: Law's latest symbol," Texas Monthly, September 1999.) The Advocate reports that "in a closed door session last year Bush personally appealed to Republican legislators to defeat the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act on the ground that in its list of protected categories it included sexual orientation¾anathema to the religious right. It is one of the few anti-crime measures the governor has ever opposed." (Chris Bull, "Who is George W. Bush? The Republican presidential candidate's Texas past offers a glimpse into our future if he wins the White House," The Advocate, July 4, 2000.)

Bush's refusal to back hate crimes legislation inclusive of sexual orientation is out of sync with the majority of Texans, according to a 1999 Scripps Howard Texas Poll. According to the poll, 76 percent of respondents said that gay men and lesbians should be covered if a new hate crimes law were enacted. (Clay Robinson, "Texans support hate crimes law by a wide margin, poll indicates," Houston Chronicle, April 26, 1999.)

Employment Discrimination
Bush said he opposed a sexual orientation nondiscrimination statute for the state of Texas in a 1998 Project Vote Smart candidate questionnaire. "The next president must fight against discrimination, but I think we can do so without special treatment of people," Bush said. (Wayne Slater, "In first TV interview, Bush says his politics of inclusion don't include gays," Dallas Morning News, November 22, 1999.)

Bush supported the Boy Scouts in their decision to expel assistant scoutmaster James Dale for being gay. "I believe the Boy Scouts is a private organization and they should be able to set the standards that they choose to set," he told USA Today. (Wayne Besen, "Bush backs Boy Scouts," USA Today, August 19, 1999.)

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In 1997, two employees of the Texas Attorney General's Criminal Justice Division filed a lawsuit alleging they were fired after complaining about hostile language and attitudes towards gay men and lesbians in their office. The women, neither of whom were lesbian, claimed that their director, Nancy Hugon, referred to crime victim organizations for gay men and lesbians as "homo projects." ("Two ex-workers sue state, allege hostile remarks," Houston Chronicle, November 25, 1997.)

Appointments of openly GLBT people
According to the Lesbian and Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, Governor Bush has not appointed any openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people to serve in his administration during his six years as governor.

On the South Carolina Christian radio station WMHK, Bush said, "An openly known homosexual is somebody who probably wouldn't share my philosophy." (Deborah Orin, "Bush draws the line at hiring gays," New York Post, February 18, 2000.)

Michael Farris, chairman of the Madison Project, a conservative political action committee, said Bush assured him he would not "appoint people who are open advocates of the homosexual lifestyle because their policies aren't likely to be [his] policies." (Scott Greenberger, "Bush's record on gays unclear," Austin-American Statesman, January 17, 2000.)

After meeting with a small group of gay Republicans in April 2000, Bush said that being openly gay would not disqualify a person from serving in his administration. "It's not a factor," he said. "What's important is, can the person do the job and do we share a philosophy?" (Terry Neal, "Bush says he won't hesitate to appoint gays to jobs," Washington Post, April 14, 2000.)

Bush's ambivalence on appointing gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people dates back to his first campaign for governor in 1994. Six years ago, Bush said he wouldn't ask a potential appointee about his or her sexual orientation, but would not appoint anyone who supported the gay and lesbian "agenda." "If there is a political agenda that I am uncomfortable with and do not agree with, they're not going to get appointed…that would include an agenda pushed by the gay and lesbian lobby. It tends to be a left-wing agenda. I am a conservative." When a reporter asked if Bush would appoint someone who was openly gay but not politically active, Bush said, "I don't know what that means." (R. G. Ratcliffe, "Bush makes first appointment; Garza tapped as secretary of state," Houston Chronicle, November 15, 1994, p. A13.)

Also that year, his campaign was accused of "fostering a whisper campaign" in East Texas about Governor Ann Richard's willingness to appoint openly gay and lesbian people. In fact, the campaign went on the record when Bush's regional political chairman, Republican Senator Bill Ratliff of Mount Pleasant, criticized Richards for "appointing avowed and activist homosexuals to state boards and commissions." Bush said the senator was speaking for himself and not for the campaign. (Wayne Slater, "Rivals again fault Bush over rumors; Governor and aides deny starting, spreading rumors," Dallas Morning News, December 2, 1999)

White House Liaison to the Gay and Lesbian Community
Bush has said he will abolish the White House liaison post to the gay and lesbian community established by President Clinton. (Jim Hoagland, "Some sure answers from Bush," Washington Post, December 21, 1999; the official title is Liaison to the Gay and Lesbian Community, www.whitehouse.gov/WH/Accomplishments/ac399.html.)

Policies Toward GLBT People
Texas GOP Party leaders refused to allow Texas Log Cabin Republican Club members to participate in the state Republican convention in 1998 and 2000. In 1998 Texas gay Republicans say Bush urged the state's Republican Party to allow the gay Log Cabin Republicans to set up a booth at the state GOP convention, but party leaders refused. Bush spokesperson Karen Hughes denounced the "name calling" of Texas GOP spokesman Robert Black, who repeatedly compared the Log Cabin Republicans to the Ku Klux Klan and pedophiles and said the organization was a "hate group." ("Bush criticizes Texas GOP; 'Does not condone name calling' of state party spokesman," Log Cabin press release, June 9, 1998, www.lcrga.com/archive/98060902.shtml; Scott Greenberger, "Bush's record on gays unclear," Austin American- Statesman, January 17, 2000, p. A1.)

In 1978, during his unsuccessful run for Congress, George W. Bush reassured conservatives that he had "done nothing to promote homosexuality in our society." (Lubbock Avalanche Journal, June 2, 1978, quoted in "Bush on the issues in 1978," Washington Post, Thursday July 29, 1999, p. A21.)

Adoption and Foster Care
Bush is against adoptions by same-sex couples or gay or lesbian individuals. "I believe children ought to be adopted in families with a woman and a man who are married," he said. (Wayne Slater, "Bush opposes adoption by gays," Dallas Morning News, March 23, 1999.) But he maintains that in holding this position, "That has nothing to do with whether or not I don't respect somebody." (Richard Berke, "High in the polls and close to home, Bush navigates by the center line," New York Times, April 9, 1999, p. A14.)

When a 1999 bill barring lesbians and gay men from adopting children or providing foster care was proposed in Texas, Bush would not say whether he supported it, but expressed his opposition to gay men and lesbians serving as adoptive or foster parents. (Wayne Slater, March 23, 1999.) The bill, which would have not only banned new adoptions but removed children who were already in gay and lesbian homes, was not passed into law. (Scott Greenberger, "Bush's record on gays unclear," Austin American-Statesman, January 17, 2000.)

Asked about whether children who are already being raised by gay or lesbian parents should be removed from those homes, Bush said, "I have no idea whether the children ought to be removed or not removed … The question is whether I'm for gay adoption. And the answer is, I'm not." (Susan Estrich, "Bush's slogan just a fig leaf for intolerance?" The Houston Chronicle, April 5, 1999.) Later, Bush appeared to moderate this a bit: "I understand that sometimes a gay person, for example, will adopt a child, an individual. And I fully recognize that government, in a private way, and I fully recognize that government should not be a policeman knocking on doors, you know, demanding some kind of, you know, credential as to their sexual orientation." ("Meet the Press," NBC-TV, November 21, 1999.)

In 1997 Texas Child Protective Services (CPS), the state's foster care system, removed a child from the foster home of a lesbian couple because "homosexual conduct is against the law in Texas," according to CPS Supervisor Rebecca Bledsoe. Until May 2000, when a Texas court struck down the law, the state's "homosexual conduct" statute criminalized homosexual sex as a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine. Bledsoe's lawyer explained, "Just as you wouldn't put a child into a family where there were known shoplifters or worse, you shouldn't put them into a place where they are expressly violating the law…The idea of having homosexual conduct modeled for a boy as he grows up, she didn't think was the best thing." Eventually CPS returned the boy to his foster home, and demoted Bledsoe. (Associated Press, "Texans riled over lesbian foster parents," Bay Windows, November 13, 1997, p. 9.)

AIDS and Other Health Issues
Bush opposes HIV/AIDS prevention efforts which involve safe sex education or contraception distribution. During his 1998 re-election campaign, he wanted to exclude condoms and other forms of birth control from a bill that would eliminate sales tax on health products. Conservative groups feared that eliminating tax on condoms might "promote promiscuity." (John Mortitz, "Some health items tax-free as of today," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 1, 2000.) Bush spokesman Mike Jones said, "The governor has stated before that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent pregnancy and disease." (Russell Gold and Cindy Tumiel, "Condoms creating uproar: Some believe law backs promiscuity," San Antonio Express-News, March 26, 2000.)

When asked, "Do you support sex education programs that stress safe sexual practices?" Bush responded, "No." (Project Vote Smart questionnaire, 1998.) Bush told the Washington Times in July 1999 that he supports abstinence-only education, arguing that teaching safer sex and abstinence together "sends a contradictory message that tends to undermine the message of abstinence." (AIDS Action, "Election 2000 Presidential Candidate Report," August 1999, www.aidsaction.org.)

Bush has told young people that they should avoid sex until they are in a "a biblical marriage relationship." (David Broder, "Bush defends gun record, pushes teen abstinence," Washington Post, June 22, 1999.) Bush also supports using federal funds for abstinence education in equal amounts to that given for teenage contraception education, and supports educational grants for churches and faith-based groups from this pool of funds. (Associated Press, "Bush promotes abstinence for teenagers," June 22, 1999.)

Texas cities have reported AIDS rates above the national average for the past few years. Between January 1996 and December 1999, Houston, Austin, and Dallas all had AIDS rates exceeding the national average per 100,000 population. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report, 1996 and 1999 editions.) AIDS was the leading cause of death in Texas prisons in 1997. (Brenda Rodriquez, "AIDS in prison placing society in double jeopardy," San Antonio Express-News, September 14, 1997.) The Texas Department of Health implemented a statewide names reporting system for all people with HIV starting in January 1999. (AIDS Action, "Election 2000 presidential candidate report," August 1999, www.aidsaction.org.)

The teen pregnancy rate in Texas is also among the highest in the nation, at 113 teen pregnancies per 1,000 women in 1996. Nationwide the teen pregnancy rate was 97 per 1,000 women in 1996. (Adam Clymer, "Bush and Texas have not set high priority on health care," New York Times, April 11, 2000.)

A review of Bush's health care record in Texas reveals that more than a quarter of all Texas residents have no health insurance: in 1998 27.5% of Texan adults age 19 to 65 lacked health insurance, compared with 19.5% of all adults in the US. (Adam Clymer, "Bush and Texas have not set high priority on health care," New York Times, April 11, 2000.) "The state ranks near the top in the nation in rates of AIDS, diabetes, tuberculosis and teenage pregnancy, and near the bottom in immunizations, mammograms and access to physicians," the New York Times's Clymer reported.

As of 1998, 39% of low-income children in Texas lacked health insurance, compared with 26% of low-income children nationwide. (Adam Clymer, New York Times, April 11, 2000; low-income is defined as living at less than 200% of the official poverty level.) A Bush spokesperson points to Bush's support of the Children's Health Insurance Program, which was passed last year, as evidence of the governor's commitment on the issue. However, before the program was passed, Bush was criticized for wanting to limit eligibility to only the poorest families, with incomes of no more than 150 percent of the poverty level, thus eliminating 200,000 children from potential coverage. (George Lardner Jr. and Edward Walsh, "George W. Bush: The Texas record; Compassion collides with the bottom line," Washington Post, October 24, 1999.)

Bush was also criticized for stalling on the children's health insurance legislation while moving quickly on a tax-relief bill for oil producers. (Peggy Fikac, "Committee OKs 'middle-ground' bill to give youngsters health insurance," Associated Press, March 4, 1999.) Bush vows to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance "by making health insurance affordable for hard-working, low-income families" by providing them "with a $2,000 refundable health credit so that they can purchase their own insurance. He will also make it easier for small businesses, which employ 60% of the uninsured, to obtain lower cost insurance through associations." (www.georgewbush.com/issues.asp.)

On Medicare, his website reads: "Governor Bush will reform Medicare on a bipartisan basis so that seniors have access to prescription drugs and modern medicine. Not only is medicare headed toward financial collapse, but its 'one-size-fits-all' benefits package is outdated, covering neither prescription drugs nor other routine services, such as annual physicals, vision tests and hearing aids. Governor Bush will reform Medicare itself by providing seniors with a prescription drug benefit, plus a choice of modern, comprehensive health plans. Governor Bush's plan will also cover all expenses for low-income seniors." (www.georgewbush.com/issues.asp.)

Domestic Partnership and Same-Sex Marriage
Bush is opposed to same-sex marriages: "I am against gay marriage because I believe that marriage is for men and women." ("Meet the Press," NBC-TV, November 21, 1999.) Concerning domestic partnership benefits, Bush said, "in the private sector that's perfectly fine." On the governmental level, he said, the decision should be left up to cities and states. (Alison Mitchell, "Bush talks to gays and calls it beneficial," New York Times, April 14, 2000.) Texas has no domestic partner benefits or registry at the state level.

Laws Criminalizing Homosexual Sex
Bush supports Texas's anti-sodomy law, which criminalizes same-sex consensual sexual activity, and when running against Governor Ann Richards in 1994 vowed to veto legislation seeking the law's repeal. Richards said she would not veto the repeal legislation. Bush said of the sodomy statute, "I think it's a symbolic gesture of traditional values." (David Elliot, "Bush promises to veto attempts to remove sodomy law," Austin American-Statesman, January 22, 1994.) The Texas sodomy law was held unconstitutional by a mid-level Texas appellate court in June, 2000. Texas has had a sodomy law since 1860 but dropped criminal penalties for partners of the opposite sex in 1974. (Juan Lozano, "Sodomy law ruled unconstitutional," Associated Press, June 8, 2000.)

Military Service
Bush supports the current "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which allows the military to expel personnel for being openly lesbian, gay, or bisexual. (Associated Press, "Campaign 2000, a user's guide: Gore vs. Bush," March 19, 2000.) Under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, more gay, lesbian and bisexual people are being discharged than ever before. (Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, Conduct Unbecoming: The Fifth Annual Report on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue," Washington: SLDN, 1999.)

Affirmative Action
When asked about affirmative action at a conference of journalists of color, Bush responded, "I'm against quotas and I'm against special treatment and I'm for breaking down barriers as we did in Texas." (Felicity Barringer, "GOP rivals surprise journalists' conference," New York Times, July 9, 1999.) "I want to end quotas, racial preferences, policies that tend to pit one group of people against another," Bush said. ("Evans, Novak, Hunt, & Shields," CNN, August 14, 1999.)

Racial Justice
Two of Bush's appointees have been publicly criticized this year for making racist remarks. Texas Health Commissioner Reyn Archer was publicly censored for suggesting that Latino culture was partly to blame for Texas's high teen pregnancy rate. (Scott Greenberger, "State health official apologizes for remarks about Hispanics," Austin American-Statesman, April 12, 2000.) Another Bush appointee, Marshall Police Chief Charles Williams, who oversees the state's law enforcement training, came under fire after testifying that such terms as "porch monkey" were not racial slurs. (Laura Meckler, "Bush appointee says remarks weren't racial slurs," Associated Press, April 7, 2000.)

Bush was criticized for delivering a speech earlier this year at Bob Jones University, a Baptist institution known for its racist and anti-Catholic rhetoric and policies. The university forbids interracial dating and attacks Catholics.

In his speech at Bob Jones University, Bush said, "We are conservatives because we believe in freedom and its possibilities, family and its duties, faith and its mercies. We believe in opportunity for all Americans: rich and poor, black and white…" ("Boy George's running mate," New York Daily News, February 24, 2000.)

In the wake of the firestorm of controversy over Bush's speech at Bob Jones University, the university rescinded its ban on interracial dating, but announced that it would require a parental note of permission for interracial dating. ("Dating and racism at Bob Jones University," editorial, San Francisco Chronicle, March 10, 2000, p. A22.)

As a Congressional candidate in 1978, George W. Bush said, "I would vote against the implementation of sanctions against either Rhodesia or the Republic of South Africa. It is contrary to the best interests of the United States to allow Marxist-backed guerrillas to take over any free country, especially in a strife-ridden continent like Africa." ("In his own words," The Washington Post, July 29, 1999, p. A21.)

Reproductive Choice
Bush opposes abortion except in the case of rape, incest or risk of life to the mother. As governor of Texas, he has signed 18 anti-abortion provisions. He has also said, "I will do everything in my power to restrict abortions." (Patricia Ireland, "Taking a whack at Bush," Austin American-Statesman, May 8, 2000.)

Bush would support a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. He said he believes Roe v. Wade "stepped across its bounds and usurped the right of legislatures." When asked if the decision should be overturned, he responded, "It should be up to each legislature." (Louise Dubose, "Running on empty," The Nation, April 26, 1999; Frank Bruni and Leslie Wayne, "Bush firms up 'soft' anti-abortion stance," The Austin-Stateman, Jan. 22, 2000, pp. A1-A10.)

Bush says he will not select Supreme Court nominees based on their abortion views: "There will be no litmus tests, except for whether or not the judges strictly interpret the Constitution." (Associated Press, "Bush, in New Hampshire, states presidential aims," June 14, 1999.) However, he has publicly praised Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, the two most conservative and anti-abortion members of the US Supreme Court, as model justices. ("Meet the Press," NBC-TV, November 21, 1999.) With the justices currently divided 5-4 on abortion, justices appointed by Bush could have a profound impact on women's reproductive rights. (Patricia Ireland, "Taking a whack at Bush," Austin American-Statesman, May 8, 2000.)

In addition, Bush has backed and signed legislation requiring that parents be notified of a minor's abortion. (Jay Root, "Bush record as governor creates contrasting impressions," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 30, 2000.) He supports laws requiring a waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion and opposes laws restricting protests at reproductive health clinics, which would protect women and doctors from harassment and violence. (National Abortion Rights Action League, www.naral.org/choice2000/candidate_positions.html; "Bush signs law requiring notice to parents on minors' abortions," New York Times, June 8, 1999.)

Welfare and Poverty Issues
A quarter of all Texas children live at or below the federal poverty level, according to the most recent study by the advocacy group Kids Count. (Connie Mabin, "Study: Texas children second poorest in nation," Associated Press, June 20, 2000.)

Last year, Bush also backed a package of welfare reforms that some termed "draconian," including a "one strike and you're out" penalty for failing to report sources of extra income or committing welfare fraud. (Polly Ross Hughes, "Get-tough part of platform supported by governor fails to gain momentum," Houston Chronicle, May 30, 1999.)

However, Bush has pledged if elected president to allot $2.3 billion to help foster children, by giving parents bigger tax breaks and states more money for child welfare. (Karen Gullo, "Bush proposes $2.3 billion program to help foster children," Associated Press, July 11, 2000.)

As Governor of Texas, Bush sought to grant defense contractor Lockheed Martin control of the state's $8 billion welfare system. Although the federal government blocked this move in 1997, Lockheed Martin does manage a welfare-to-work contract in Dallas and established a partnership with the public Texas Workforce Commission to oversee state job training programs. (William Hartung and Jennifer Washburn, "Lockheed Martin: From warfare to welfare," The Nation, March 2, 1998.)

Bush signed an executive order in December 1996 "allowing religious organizations to compete for state contracts to provide welfare services while maintaining their 'unique ecclesiastical nature.'" The next year he signed laws expanding the ability of religious groups to offer child care, job training, and other social services. In 1998, Bush joined the Texas Department of Human Services and Lutheran Social Services of the South to announce their new partnership "to recruit volunteers from area Lutheran churches to serve as mentors to former welfare clients." (George W. Bush Presidential Exploratory Committee, Inc. www.georgewbush.com.)

"Compassionate Conservatism"
Governor Bush's main campaign theme has been "compassionate conservatism." He calls his friend and advisor Marvin Olasky "compassionate conservatism's leading thinker" in a forward to Olasky's newest book, Compassionate Conservatism: What It Is, What It Does, and How It Can Save America. (Alison Mitchell, "Bush draws campaign theme from more than 'the heart,'" New York Times, June 12, 2000, p. A1; Philip Seib, "'Compassionate conservative' makes case for faith-based renewal," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 2, 2000, p. 8E.)

"We must place in the hands of state officials all decisions about welfare and the financing of it, and then press them to put welfare entirely into the hands of church and community-based organizations," Olasky wrote. He quoted Bush as saying, "We will never ask an organization to compromise its core values and spiritual missions to get the help it needs" to provide social services, although Olasky insisted this state funding would not support worship services or direct proselytizing. (Mitchell, Seib, op. cited.)

In 1998 Olasky told the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, "God does not forbid women to be leaders in society, but generally speaking, when that occurs, it's generally because of the abdication of men…I would vote for a woman for the presidency, in some situations, but again, there's a certain shame attached. Why don't you have a man who's able to step forward?" (Patricia Kilday Hart, "Conservative. Compassionate? What Bush policy wonk Marvin Olasky really believes," Texas Monthly, July 2000, p. 99.)

Earlier this year Olasky came under fire from New York Times columnists William Safire and Frank Rich for editing World magazine, which ran a cover story written by Bob Jones IV just before the South Carolina primary attacking Senator John McCain's family. Conservative columnist Safire called it "religio-political sleaze in action." (Kilday Hart, op. cited.)

Olasky also came under fire for a piece in the Austin American-Statesman implying that "East Coast journalists" critical of Bush have "holes in their souls" and practice "the religion of Zeus." The three journalists Olasky named (the liberal Frank Rich and conservatives Bill Kristol and David Brooks of the Weekly Standard) are all Jewish. "New York Times columnist Frank Rich is also a case study in running away from the Bible," Olasky wrote. "Rich's paranoia about Christians is extreme." He concluded, "[I]t's sad that leading journalists are acting as proselytes in the religion of Zeus rather than tough reporters." (Marvin Olasky, "McCain and the religion of Zeus," Austin American-Statesman, February 16, 2000, p. A13.) Olasky, a former Jew who converted to Christianity more than 20 years ago, says he meant no anti-Semitism: "I didn't know those folks were Jewish," he said. (Kilday Hart, op. cited.)

Social Security
Bush has proposed to privatize a portion of the Social Security system. Specifically, he wants to take a portion of younger people's Social Security taxes and allow them to invest it in the stock market. This would be the biggest change to the system since its implementation. (Richard Stevenson, "Social Security, that risky issue, is on the table," New York Times, June 22, 2000.) The plan would be voluntary and aimed at workers 45 and younger. (Editorial, "Face the Tough Choices," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 22, 2000.)

Death Penalty
Bush has presided over 136 executions, more than any other governor in the history of the United States. (T. Christian Miller, "Texas executes Latino after Bush refuses to grant stay," Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2000; for more information on Bush's record and the death penalty in general, see the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, www.ncadp.org.)

Separation of Church and State
This year the United States Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the Santa Fe, Texas School District's prayer policy by a 6-3 margin. Governor Bush supported the school district's policy of having a student lead prayers before school-sponsored sporting events. The policy was also defended by the American Center for Law and Justice, a right-wing, anti-gay legal group which has also litigated against domestic partner registries and benefits across the US. (Santa Fe School District v. Doe; Tony Mauro, "Texas Schools Lose Fight," The Recorder, American Lawyer Media, L.P., June 20, 2000, p. 3; Charles W. Gossett, "Dillon goes to court: Legal challenges to local ordinances providing domestic partnership benefits, paper presented at annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Atlanta, GA, September 4, 1999, pp. 6-8.)

Bush endorsed a nonbinding referendum supporting school prayer that the state Republican Party placed on its March 2000 primary ballot. The measure garnered 94 percent of the vote. (Mary Leonard, "Court bans prayers at school field; Student-led invocations at games cited," Boston Globe, June 20, 2000, p. A1.)


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