Unprecedented Attacks On Gay And Lesbian Americans Continue

Washington, DC -- The far right wing of the GOP intensified its attacks on gays and lesbians today as they threatened to nullify an Executive Order signed by President Clinton prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal civilian workforce.

The Executive Order, issued last month, added sexual orientation to the list of protected categories for which discrimination is already prohibited in the federal civilian workforce. The Order makes uniform previous policy directives already in place in some agencies and departments. The Executive Order does not create any new enforcement rights.

"I am sickened by the determination of the Republican Party to continue bashing gay Americans," said DNC National Chair Steve Grossman, "What they forget is that we are living in an America where 80 percent of the public believes that citizens should not be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation." [Pollster - the Tarrance Group, 1997]

"This Republican Party is getting out of hand. They are unwilling to pass legislation to strengthen public education, to secure a patient's bill of rights, or to keep kids away from cigarettes" said DNC General Chair Roy Romer, "but they are sure willing to deny hard working men and women equal opportunity on the job."

Four Republican Members of Congress are attempting to garner support for an amendment by distorting the meaning and significance of the Executive Order. House Majority Whip Tom Delay (TX), Joel Hefley (CO), Joe Aderholt (AL), and John Hostettler (IN) have begun a campaign of lies to undermine the order.

"The Republicans are not listening to the people. Americans are tired of seeing their neighbors beat up -- on the streets and in the Chambers of Congress." said DNC Executive Committee Member and Chair of DNC Gay and Lesbian American Caucus, Jean O'Leary. "The public wants more from their leaders-safe streets, good schools, affordable health care and a place where all Americans -- including gays and lesbians -- have equal opportunity for success and happiness."

The attempt comes a day after the President called on Congress to pass legislation including broader and more strict enforcement of hate crime laws. The President's proposed legislation would expand existing hate crime laws to include crimes based on sexual orientation.


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