NGLTF Warns RNC About ‘DADT’ 

New Republican National Committee (RNC) TV ads on the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy are a continuation of the Republican Party's efforts to portray gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people as unworthy of equal rights, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said Monday. 

The RNC has aired TV spots on the issue in Iowa, New Hampshire, and other key primary states. The NGLTF has stated that "Don't ask, don't tell" is a flawed policy that has resulted in increased discharges of servicemen and women and, contrary to its stated goal, has led to well-publicized witchhunts against gay, lesbian and bisexual people. 

A report recently released by the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force shows overwhelming opposition to sexual orientation-based discrimination in the military, even among conservatives. The report, From Wrongs to Rights: Public Opinion on Gay and Lesbian Americans Moves Toward Equality 1973-1999, authored by Columbia University political scientist Alan Yang, reveals that American public opinion is more supportive of equality than are most lawmakers and politicians. 

Both Vice President Gore and Bill Bradley have stated their intention to end "Don't ask, don't tell" if elected. Republican candidates, on the other hand, have expressed varying degrees of support for the policy. On Sunday, Senator John McCain said comments by the two Democratic candidates disqualified both of them from the presidency. Both McCain and George W. Bush have expressed support for the policy. 

Rebecca Isaacs, NGLTF political director, noted that polls show both the Republican presidential candidates and the RNC to be clearly out of touch on the issue of ending discrimination. For example, a 1999 Gallup survey showed 70 percent of respondents favor the right of gays and lesbians to serve in the military. And a 1999 National Elections Studies survey showed 57 percent of conservatives, 70 percent of moderates and 91 percent of liberals support ending discrimination. 

"The anti-gay conservatives have not heard that it's a new millennium," Isaacs said. "These ads pander to the extreme right wing and risk alienating mainstream voters who will decide this election." 

(The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has worked to eliminate prejudice, violence and injustice against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people at the local, state and national level since its inception in 1973 )

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