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Gore Pushes for Equality, Bush Relies on Bumper Stickers

Bush doesn't want to give "special rights" while Gore is pushing for ENDA. Tell me again which candidate you support?

Questions to Ask Yourself As you Read

  1. What exactly is a special right?
  2. Can you name even one right gays and lesbians are seeking that you would not want for yourself?
  3. Should employers fire for factors other than job performance?
  4. Should an employer be able to fire somebody because of their race, gender or age? If not, why then should an employer be able to fire somebody because of their orientation?
  5. Bonus Question: Would you believe a candidate who knew that a question on GLBT equal rights would be asked if they said that they didn't know the "particulars" of ENDA?

Text of the Debate


LEHRER: New subject, new question, another vice presidential debate follow-up.

Governor, both Senator Lieberman and Secretary Cheney said they were sympathetically rethinking their views on same-sex relationships. What's your position on that?

BUSH: I'm not for gay marriage. I think marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. And I appreciate the way the administration signed the Defense of Marriage Act. I presume the vice president supported it when the president signed that bill and supports it now. But I think, I think marriage is a sacred institution.

I'm going to be respectful for people who may disagree with me. I've had a record of doing so in the state of Texas. I've been a person that would — been called a uniter not divider because I accepted some — I accept other people's points of view. But I feel strongly that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

LEHRER: Vice President Gore?

GORE: I agree with that. And I did support that law. But I think that we should find a way to allow some kind of civic unions. And I basically agree with Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman. And I think the three of us have one view and the governor has another one.

LEHRER: Is that right?

BUSH: I'm not sure what kind of view he's ascribing to me. I can just tell you, I'm a, I'm a person who respects other people. I respect their — I respect — on the one hand, he says he agrees with me and then he says he doesn't. I'm not sure where he's coming from.

But I, I, I will be a tolerant person. I've been a tolerant person all my life. I just happen to believe strongly that marriage is between a man and a woman.

LEHRER: Do you believe in general terms that gays and lesbians should have the same rights as other Americans?

BUSH: Yes. I don't think they ought to have special rights, but I think they ought to have the same rights.

GORE: Well, there's a, there's a law pending called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. I strongly support it. What it says is that gays and lesbians can't be fired from their job because they're gay or lesbian, and it would be a federal law preventing that.

Now, I wonder if the — it's been blocked by the opponents in the majority in the Congress. I wonder if the Governor would lend his support to that law?

LEHRER: Governor?

BUSH: The questioner coming around again?

LEHRER: Yes. It's a logical rebuttal.

BUSH: Well, I have no idea. I mean, you can throw out all kinds — I don't know the particulars of this law.

I will tell you I'm the kind of person — I don't hire or fire somebody based upon their sexual orientation. As a matter of fact, I'd like to take the issue a little further. I don't really think it's any of my, you know, any of my concerns how you conduct your sex life. And I think that's a private matter. And I think that's the way it ought to be.

But I'm going to be respectful for people. I'll tolerate people. And I support equal rights, but not special rights for people.

LEHRER: And special rights, how does that affect gays and lesbians?

BUSH: Well, if they're given, if they're given special protective status. And that doesn't mean we shouldn't fully enforce laws and fully protect people and fully honor people, which I will do as the president of the United States.
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