Report: Clinton's Gay Rights Record "Decidedly Mixed"

January 14, 1999 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON — In the first-ever report on lesbian and gay rights to be included in a leading report on civil rights, ACLU Legislative Counsel Christopher Anders has termed President Clinton’s gay rights record “decidedly mixed.”

“President Clinton has advanced gay and lesbian rights further and given the issues more visibility than all of his predecessors combined,” Anders said in his contribution to the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights Third Biennial Report on the Civil Rights Record of the Clinton Administration.

“However,” Anders added, “Clinton has also dropped the ball in many big ways.”

Clinton has increased public awareness of gay rights issues by including them in broader, civil rights discussions; nominated openly gay candidates to fill government posts; and strongly lobbied for legislation to address employment discrimination and hate crimes, Anders said. He also banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in federal workplaces and used veto threats against anti-gay legislation.

“But Clinton’s overall support of gay and lesbian rights made his anti-gay blows even more stinging to the movement,” Anders said. Two prime examples: Clinton’s support of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which stops lesbians and gay men from openly serving in the military, and his support of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act,” which bans same-sex couples from having the right to marry.

“Whether Clinton’s legacy on gay and lesbian rights is sparkling or simply better than the poor examples who came before him will be determined by his actions throughout the remainder of his term,” Anders wrote.

Anders’ chapter on lesbian and gay rights will be included in the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights Third Biennial Report on the Civil Rights Record of the Clinton Administration to be released next month.

The report also covers, race, poverty, federal resources and funding, justice and census issues, voting rights, immigration, welfare reform, employment, affirmative action, housing, hate crimes and religious discrimination.

The Anders chapter can be found at:

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