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JUNE 18, 1998
3:31 PM
CONTACT:  Human Rights Campaign
202 628 4160
Senator Alfonse D'Amato Implores Trent Lott To Schedule Vote For Ambassadorial Nominee James Hormel In Strongly Worded Letter
D'Amato Attributes Anti-Gay Bias As Reason Lott Is Blocking Full Senate Vote

WASHINGTON - June 18 - Bias against gay Americans is the sole reason Senate Majority  Leader Trent Lott has not scheduled a vote on James Hormel's nomination to be the ambassador of Luxembourg, said   Senator Alfonse D'Amato today in an emphatic letter he sent to Senator Lott.  Senator D'Amato urged the majority leader to schedule an up or down vote on the nomination.

"I fear Mr. Hormel's nomination is being obstructed for one reason, and one reason only: the fact he is gay.  In this day and age, when people ably serve our country in so many capacities without regard ro sexual orientation, for the United States Senate to deny an appointment on that basis is simply wrong," stated Senator D'Amato in his letter.

"Senator D'Amato's letter places the Hormel nomination in a whole new light.  Momentum is building within the GOP caucus to bring this nomination to the floor," says HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg.

Senator D'Amato also called for the Republican party to return to its core values of moderation and fairness.

"On a personal level, I am embarrassed that our Republican Party, the Party of Lincoln, is seen to be the force behind this injustice," said Senator D'Amato.

The views Lott expressed earlier this week on a conservative cable television show put into question Lott's assertion that he was not holding up the Hormel nomination simply because Hormel is gay.  When asked whether or not homosexuality was a sin, Lott replied, "Yeah, it is.  You should still love that person.  You should try not to mistreat them as outcasts.  You should show them a way to deal with that problem, just like alcohol or sex.  There are all kinds of problems, addictions, difficulties, experiences of things that are wrong, but you should try to work with that person to learn how to control that problem."

Hormel, a San Francisco businessman,  is a prominent civic leader and former diplomat. He has served as alternate U.S. representative to the United Nations General Assembly and as a member of the U.S. delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission.  Based on his superb qualifications, he has amassed a diverse array of supporters including senators Joe Biden (D-DE), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Gordon Smith (R-OR), as well as secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former Reagan administration secretary of state George Shultz.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay political organization, with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support, and educates the public to ensure that lesbian and gay Americans can be open, honest, and safe at home, at work, and in the community.


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