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Major Gay Organizations React to Initial Vote Count

Recount Puts HRC's First 'Note of Dismay' in Limbo

NGLTF to George W Bush: 'Be a Uniter, not a Divider'

Compiled By GayToday

gwspeak175.jpg - 8.51 K Gov. George W. Bush was awarded the presidency late last night by the networks, but that call was withdrawn with Florida too close to call Washington,D.C.--An early press release sent out Wednesday and then later recalled by The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) expressed disappointment at the results of Tuesday's national elections in which Republicans seem to have seized control of both the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government.

HRC had initially expressed its “disappointment” with the outcome of the elections, “including the election of George W. Bush as president.”

“While the outcome of today's vote will test our community as never before,” said the cancelled HRC release, the organization promised, nevertheless, to continue to working for progress on gay and lesbian issues.

Vice-president Al Gore, apparently, has won the nation's popular vote, while—if reports of Florida's initial vote are eventually upheld following a recount—George W. Bush will have won the electoral vote.

The margin of victory for pro-Bush voters in Florida appears to have been so small, that the votes of a thousand Ralph Nader enthusiasts in that state may possibly have tipped the presidential election to the advantage of the GOP.

A second HRC release, in the wake of the demand for a Florida voter's recount, cancelled that organization's first statement of dismay, while The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called upon the presumed President-elect Bush to demonstrate to the nation that he indeed is a "uniter, not a divider" by using the power of the presidential pulpit to reject a climate of hostility in the Republican Party toward issues affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Prior to announcements that Florida's Democrats would demand recounts, ElizabethToledo, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called upon the President-elect in his own words, to be "a uniter, not a divider.'

"We have a new President-elect and George W. Bush has a new opportunity to prove his words that he is a uniter, not a divider," she said.

"Speaking out strongly against discrimination would send a welcome message to our community that we will not be shut out of one branch of federal government for the next four years. As a first step, we call on President-elect Bush to maintain his predecessor's executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in federal civilian employment."

At the same time, Toledo cautioned that the election results bear out the importance of organizing in local towns, cities, counties and states --the very places where the GLBT community has enjoyed the most advances during the past eight years.

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:

America or Amerika? What If the Republicans Win?

The Scary Case against George W. Bush, GOP Candidate

Al Gore's Record is Speaking for Itself on Gay Issues

Related Sites:
Al Gore for President

George W. Bush for President

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force

Human Rights Campaign

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"We must be active and engaged on the local level because it is here where we are winning battles in every region of the United States," Toledo said.

"On issues such as hate violence, non-discrimination laws, recognition of GLBT families, safe-schools guidelines, domestic partner benefits and so much more, we are making significant advances. These advances--and our momentum— will not be erased by Tuesday night's presidential election results."

Toledo said the election results also put renewed emphasis on Congress as a continuing battleground over GLBT issues.

"We must continue to push in Congress for strong hate crimes laws and nondiscrimination laws in the areas of employment, housing, education and public accommodations that cover sexual orientation and gender identity," Toledo said. "But we must not stop there. We must push for justice and full recognition for GLBT families and we must push for equal benefits in the workplace."

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