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President holds first meeting with homosexual officeholders

WASHINGTON (BP)–President Clinton became the first American president to hold a White House meeting with a group of openly homosexual officeholders when he met with 11 elected officials July 28, according to The Washington Post.
The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a political action committee that works for the election of open homosexuals, said the state and local officeholders came to Washington to support two pieces of legislation Clinton has endorsed, The Post reported. They are the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would add “sexual orientation,” including homosexuality, to the list of classifications protected under federal hate-crimes legislation, and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would include “sexual orientation” among categories covered by antidiscrimination laws in the workplace.
The meeting with the president “represents a milestone on the long road to full inclusion of gay and lesbian Americans in the civic life of our nation,” said Brian Bond, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, The Post reported.
Clinton has met before in the White House with homosexual activists, but it was his first time to meet with homosexual officeholders, said presidential press secretary Joe Lockhart, according to The Post.
On July 22, the U.S. Senate approved the Hate Crimes Prevention Act as an amendment to an appropriations bill. The House of Representatives is not expected to pass the measure. If it does not, the legislation’s fate will be in the hands of a conference committee consisting of members of both houses. Congress has not acted on ENDA in this session.
In a new survey, meanwhile, 98 percent of Americans said the murders of a homosexual and heterosexual are equally serious and should be prosecuted equally. The Family Research Council commissioned the poll, which was conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide and released July 28. Ninety-two percent of respondents said offenders should be punished based solely on their actions, not their beliefs, FRC said in its Culturefacts newsletter.
The survey also reported 80 percent believe homosexuals “have not suffered the same as blacks.” Respondents were almost evenly split on whether homosexuals are “born that way,” 41 percent, or “not born that way and can change,” 45 percent.
The ground-breaking White House meeting is the latest accomplishment for an administration that has done far more than any previous one to advance homosexual rights. Clinton sought and received the support of homosexuals in both presidential election campaigns. Only days after taking office in 1993, he announced an attempt to overturn the ban on homosexuals in the military, but his effort was thwarted. He appointed a liaison to the homosexual community and has named several open homosexuals to posts in his administration. In 1997, he became the first president to speak at a homosexual rights event, when he addressed HRC’s national dinner.
In May 1998, Clinton issued a barrier-breaking executive order adding “sexual orientation” to the list of categories, such as race, gender and age, already protected against discrimination in the federal civilian workforce.
During this year’s Memorial Day recess, Clinton appointed James Hormel as the country’s first openly homosexual ambassador, naming him the U.S. envoy to Luxembourg. He proclaimed June of this year as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, establishing another precedent.
Clinton is a member of a Southern Baptist Church, Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark.
The Southern Baptist Convention has repeatedly spoken in opposition to homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle through resolutions adopted at its annual meetings. At this year’s convention, messengers adopted a resolution calling on the president to rescind his Gay and Lesbian Pride Month proclamation. It also proclaimed “forgiveness of and freedom from homosexuality” is to be found in Jesus.
In 1993, the convention, responding to Clinton’s support of homosexual and abortion rights, passed a resolution separating itself from his policies. At the 1998 meeting in Salt Lake City, messengers approved a resolution decrying Clinton’s executive order issued the month before. The resolution opposed attempts to “provide government endorsement, sanction, recognition, acceptance or civil rights advantage on the basis of homosexuality.”