WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Trailing President Clinton by a wide margin in recent polls, likely Republican presidential nominee Robert Dole moved to shore up far right support yesterday by signing on as the first co-sponsor of the Senate version of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The anti-gay legislation bars federal benefits for same-sex couples while allowing states the right to refuse recognition of such marriages that are recognized in other states. "The intolerant wing of the Republican Party is rearing it's ugly head again," said Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "What Dole is missing here is that he already has deep support among religious conservatives. There is a growing perception of the GOP Congress as intolerant, and Dole's action yesterday only enhances such a view."
The anti-gay legislation, scheduled for a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, May 15, has bipartisan support. "The sad thing about this is that Senator Dole is undermining the good things that the GOP Congress has done, such as reauthorization and increased funding for the Ryan White CARE Act," said Tafel. "After Dole returned Log Cabin's contribution last year, we thought he'd learned that pandering to the far right through gay bashing doesn't increase your standing, especially in a general election campaign."
"The Democrats become giddy about their chances of taking back the Congress when they see Republicans ignoring the political center, where the majority of Americans are ." Tafel continued. "Dole is responding to the lack of vision and leadership in our party just like President Bush did in 1992. Going on an anti-gay crusade is no substitute for a vision for the future."
Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay and lesbian Republican organization with 54 chapters in 30 states and more than 10,000 members. Log Cabin Republicans educates the Republican Party on gay and lesbian issues while working to broaden the base of the GOP.