Compassionate Conservatism: The Cheneys
A True Conservative: Barry Goldwater
Election 2000: GLBT News & Issues
But let's just look at Dad's record:
When Dick Cheney was a congressman in the 80s he consistently voted for anti-gay bills. Time Magazine notes that, "he has never smeared gays in personal terms."
However, I believe that this is one of those instances where actions truly do speak louder than words.
But... perhaps Dick Cheney isn't all bad. When he was the Secretary of Defense he did order the witch hunts for gay and lesbian service personnel to cease. [It should be noted however, that when the military ignored his order he did not take a more firm or formal stance]
Further to his credit, when his press secretary, Pete Williams, was outed in The Advocate, Cheney was adamant in his belief that Williams' homosexuality did not make him a security risk. While on Meet the Press [December 6, 19992] Cheney said that the claim that gay or lesbian people represented a higher security risk than heterosexuals was "a bit of an old chestnut."
Yet, Dick Cheney opposed President Clinton's effort to lift the military ban on openly gay, lesbian and bisexual service members.
And during the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" debates of the early 90s, Cheney believed that gays and lesbians are somehow responsible for declining enlistment and morale in the armed services stating, "the whole reduction in defense spending, the controversy over gays in the military, has led to an unwillingness to serve and low morale."
He further warned that defense cuts and the proposal to lift the ban "have led to a decline in the quality of military recruits."
Others Have Done Far Better
When Sen. Barry Goldwater, dubbed "Mr. Conservative," learned that his grandson and grandniece were gay, he actively worked for new laws that would protect their civil rights and lashed out against the ban on gays in the military stating, "You don't need to be 'straight' to fight and die for your country, you just need to shoot straight."
When Newt Gingrich became speaker of the House, and his lesbian half-sister, Candace, became a gay activist, he dialed back on the anti-gay rhetoric, taking a more neutral stance. "It's a free country," he told the press.
Perhaps the biggest unreported story was the recent statement by Republican William Saltonstall, former Massachusetts state senator, who turned his back on the party his family has supported for generations, refusing to vote for a ticket he considers antagonistic to the "well-being and human rights of his lesbian daughter."
Saltonstall's father, Leverett, served three terms as the governor of Massachusetts and 22 years in the United States senate.
In a letter to the Boston Globe Saltonstall wrote: "I have a lesbian daughter who, with her partner, has adopted three children into a loving family. The national leadership of the Republican party takes the position that no gay people should adopt children, and if they do, the child might be taken away from them to be placed elsewhere. I regard this as a direct attack on my family. While I continue to support local Republicans, as long as the Republican national leadership feels this way, I cannot support it."
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