Washington, D.C.-Democratic National Committee (DNC) National Chair Joe Andrew today blasted GOP presidential candidate George W. Bush for promising a group of conservatives that he would not appoint any gay or lesbian individuals to government positions. Bush's vow is the latest in a series of anti-gay stances taken by the Republican.
"George W. Bush's obvious pandering to the most right-wing members of the Republican Party shows his true colors," said Andrew. "Bush talks a great deal about being compassionate, but in the end his anti-gay views show him to be an old-fashioned right-wing conservative."
In a closed-door meeting with conservative Republicans on September 24, Bush told the group he would not "knowingly" appoint a gay official to work in his administration. A campaign spokeswoman explained that she didn't think gay and lesbian Americans could "share [Bush's] conservative philosophy," but she was not certain where Bush stood. [Thomas, Washington Times, 10/6/99; Dallas Morning News, 10/22/99]
"It's sad that Republican candidates for the presidency feel pressured to turn their backs on their gay and lesbian supporters," said Andrew. "I am proud that Democratic candidates can feel free to appoint who they want, nominate who they want, and vote to confirm who they want, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation."
In April, Bush told Texas State Rep. Glen Maxey (D) that he shouldn't take personally Bush's public remarks about gay people. Maxey, the only openly gay Texas legislator, had a conversation with Bush during one of his visits to the Texas House chamber on April 14. Maxey described his conversation with Bush: "He (Bush) put his hands on my shoulders and he pulled me in close. We were nose to nose... He says to me 'Glen, I value you as a person. I value you as a human being. And I want you to know that what I say publicly about gay people does not pertain to you personally." Maxey added, "And of course, my rejoinder to that was when you say a gay person is not fit to be a parent, you're talking about me." Bush also refuses to support hate crime legislation designed to protect gay and lesbian Americans, among other groups, from hate crime. [Associated Press, 8/19/99]