HRC Issues Report On Cheney Record On Gay And AIDS Issues

Former Defense Secretary and Congressman Has Conservative Record But Is Not New To Gay Issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Human Rights Campaign issued a report on the record on gay and AIDS issues of Richard B. Cheney to whom Texas Gov. George W. Bush formally offered the Republican vice presidential nomination.

Cheney, a former defense secretary in the administration of Bush's father, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1978-1989, has an extremely conservative record, HRC noted. Like Gov. Bush, however, Cheney seeks to package a conservative record with a moderate image, the organization said.

"The choice of Secretary Cheney is in keeping with Governor Bush's strategy of staking out conservative positions and wrapping them in a moderate package," said Winnie Stachelberg, HRC's political director.

As a Wyoming congressman, Cheney opposed early efforts to address the HIV/AIDS crisis. Most notably, he was one of 13 House members who voted against the AIDS Federal Policy Act of 1988, the first major bill to provide funding for HIV/AIDS counseling and testing. Cheney also supported an effort to reduce funding for HIV/AIDS research.

In addition, Cheney voted against the Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1988 and supported an amendment that added anti-gay language to the bill.

As defense secretary, Cheney supported Pete Williams, the department's chief spokesman, when The Advocate magazine revealed his homosexuality. "I have operated on the basis over the years with respect to my personal staff that I don't ask them about their private lives," said Cheney. "As long as they perform their professional responsibilities in a responsible manner, their private lives are their business."

Cheney opposed President Clinton's effort to lift the ban on gays serving openly in the military. Cheney told CNN in 1993, "I am one of those people who believes that people's sexual preference and orientation are a private matter. It's something that is a personal matter for them, and no one else's business. And that's the way I ran the civilian side of the Pentagon...On the military side, though, you can't pursue that policy." Later in the interview, Cheney said: "I basically don't believe in discrimination, but I did conclude, as secretary of defense, that the ban on gays in uniform was appropriate."

HRC has endorsed Vice President Al Gore for president. He has yet to name a running mate.

Cheney is currently the chief executive officer of the Halliburton Co., a publicly traded company that supplies equipment to the oil industry.

Halliburton does not have a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation nor a domestic partner program for gay employees.

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