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Religious Tolerance logo

Year 2000 Presidential race: Candidates' stand on gay/lesbian rights

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Statements by Democratic candidates

During an interview with the Advocate, a gay/lesbian magazine, Al Gore said:

bulletHe would instruct the U.S. armed forces to implement the "don't ask, don't tell" policy with  "more compassion.." This is the policy by which a gay person can remain in the armed forces as long as they keep their sexual orientation secret.
bulletHe opposes all anti-gay harassment and discrimination.
bulletHe supports the rights of gay men and women to adopt children. He said that the ultimate decision should be made by adoption agencies on a case-by-case basis.

He commented: "I believe that God makes us in different ways. I don't believe that having made us, God intends us to suffer discrimination and prejudice." 1

On 1999-JUN-17, Bill Bradley visited a gay and lesbian center in California. He said: "You are an integral part of America." Al Gore visited the same center on JUN-24.

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Statements by Republican candidates

More than a dozen Christian groups who oppose equal rights (including the right to marry) for gays and lesbians circulated a pledge among the current candidates for President of the U.S. In signing the pledge a candidate promises to:

bulletoppose the right of gay and lesbian couples to adopt.
bulletopposing same-sex marriage.
bulletpromote the rights of groups such as the Boy Scouts of America to discriminate against gays and lesbians in membership and employment.
bulletoppose the discussion of homosexuality in schools
bulletoppose any federal laws that protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.

The Human Rights Campaign said that Gary Bauer, Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes,  Orrin Hatch, Alan Keys, and Dan Quayle signed the pledge before the Iowa straw poll. HRC also said that George Bush and John McCain did not sign. The two Democratic candidates, Bill Bradley and Al Gore declined to sign the pledge. 2

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Statements by other candidates

Larry Hines, a candidate for the Libertarian Party is openly gay and HIV positive. Commenting on same-sex marriage, he said on 1999-JUL-14 that "A government that sanctions marriage and then turns around and dictates who can and cannot marry is a government in desperate need of change." 3


  1. Reuters news item, 1999-AUG-31
  2. "GOP candidates sign anti-gay pledge," Associated Press news item, 1999-AUG-20 
  3. "Larry Hines in 2000: Press Releases," at: http://www.gaywired.com/larryhinesin2000/releases.html 

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