Republicans Offer Amendment To Overturn Clinton Administration's Executive Order Banning
Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation
Barrage Of Attacks Against Gay Americans
Intensifies As Extreme Right's Grip On GOP Leadership Tightens
- June 25 - The GOP leadership escalated its crusade
against equality for gay Americans today, with the announcement of the Hefley amendment to
the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill, which seeks to overturn President Clinton's May
28th executive order banning workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation,
according to the Human Rights Campaign.
"This blatant attempt on the part of the GOP leadership to keep discrimination
against gay Americans legal is against the spirit of freedom and tolerance on which this
nation was founded. Clinton's executive order made it clear that discrimination against
gay people in government is wrong and will not be tolerated, " says HRC Political
Director Winnie Stachelberg.
A "Dear Colleague" letter, written by four Republican members of the House, is
being circulated around Capitol Hill today, asking members to support the Hefley
amendment. The letter contains a panoply of untruths like the Clinton administration's
executive order would force private contractors who service the federal government to be
in compliance and that it would also grant "special protected status" based on
sexual orientation. The four Republican Congressmen who signed the "Dear
Colleague" letter are House Majority Whip, Tom Delay (TX), Joel Hefley (CO), Joe
Aderholt (AL), John Hostettler (IN).
In response to the Hefley Amendment, Christopher Shays (R-CT) will join other Republican
members of Congress and the Human Rights Campaign at an 11:30 AM press conference at the
House Triangle, to speak out against this amendment.
"Enough is enough. This unprecedented wave of attacks against gay Americans must
stop. Will it take an incident where someone is hurt or killed for the GOP leadership to
realize their incendiary rhetoric leads to discrimination and other severe
consequences?" said Stachelberg at the press conference.
Before this executive order was issued, many federal agencies had their own separate
policies banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. This often led to confusion
amongst government workers as to whether or not they were protected. Contrary to the
claims of the GOP leadership, this executive order did helps clarify the rules for
government workers by bringing uniformity to existing anti-discrimination policies across
the federal government.
The GOP leadership's push to keep discrimination legal is not in line with public opinion.
An April, 1997 poll conducted for the Human Rights Campaign by the Tarrance Group, shows
that eighty percent of the American public says that homosexuals should have equal rights
in terms of job opportunities.
The order adds sexual orientation to the list of protected categories for which
discrimination is already prohibited, i.e., race, color, religion, sex, national origin,
handicap and age. In issuing the order, Clinton noted that this policy does not add any
new enforcement rights, such as the ability of a civilian federal worker to appeal an
anti-gay job discrimination case before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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