News - September 1996

Task Force unmasks "Stepford Convention"

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) denounced attempts by the GOP to mask itself as a party of moderation at this week's convention. NGLTF, the country's oldest national gay and lesbian civil rights group, pointed to the platform and convention's content versus the veneer of reduced rhetoric.

In a convention analysis, the Task Force pointed to the difference between 1992's GOP convention in Houston and this year's event, especially in terms of overt hostile rhetoric. "Perhaps we should claim victory," stated Task Force executive director Melinda Paras. "Years of organizing and activism have changed the way a majority of Americans feel about gay people. The homophobic, divisive and hateful rhetoric so prominent in Houston in 1992 will not play now. And the Republican leadership knows this. We have made prime-time gay bashing a political liability. We have taught them they cannot win the election if they reveal their true face. It is our job now to tear off their mask," added Paras.

"The American people will see that the true face of the GOP is that of Pat Buchanan and the Christian Coalition. In fact, it's Pat's Platform, lock, stock and barrel," continued Paras. Paras charged the GOP with rewriting its checkered history related to AIDS funding by falsely claiming a record of support for AIDS research and prevention.

"This is nothing but a bold-faced lie," stated Paras. "It was this GOP that placed serious limits on the efforts of AIDS educators to speak plainly about sex and sexuality. This is a platform that, while it claims to support equal opportunity for all, continues to perpetuate discrimination against gay people and inadequate AIDS/HIV funding," added Paras.

Despite speeches by Colin Powell invoking the party of Lincoln and celebrating diversity, Jack Kemp, a conservative with a humane face, and Susan Molinari, a woman of the "post-feminist" generation who combines career and motherhood, it's extremely difficult to find any real moderate voices at the GOP convention

According to Paras, "There is a strange, almost surreal atmosphere presiding over the San Diego. All the delegates, podium speakers, GOP officials, and, for that matter, much of the media, are mouthing the message of moderation. Everyone has fallen in line. All is perfect and harmonious. It's the Stepford Wives Convention."

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