Bush's 2nd Term Gay Agenda
Thu. November 4, 2004 12:00 AM by 365gay.com
Buoyed by a decisive win and a Congress more firmly in GOP control, Bush is prepared to further advance social conservatism. On the Hill Republicans were warning Democrats it would be unhealthy to oppose them, pointing to the crushing defeat suffered by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota.
In particular, Republican leaders warned not to think of any more filibusters of Bush nominations, especially for the bench. Democrats managed talk down several Bush judicial nominations of extreme conservative judges during the President's first term.
The warning comes as speculation mounts that William Rehnquist is preparing to resign as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. At least three other justices are also said to be considering retirement.
Court watchers say that Rehnquist is unlikely to finish the year on the bench following complications from cancer surgery.
With the possibility of as many as four justices to replace Bush could pack the court with ultra conservatives who would serve for a generation.
Such a conservative court would never hear arguments on same-sex marriage or any other gay rights issue.
Then there is the matter of the federal constitutional amendment to prevent gays from marrying. Bush began pushing for the amendment shortly after the Massachusetts Supreme Court approved gay marriage, but the legislation failed this year partly because Republicans could not agree on whether it should include a ban on civil unions.
The amendment's author, Marilyn Musgrave won reelection to the House from Colorado. On Wednesday she said she intends to reintroduce the measure in the next session of Congress. This time, she predicts, Republicans will be unified.
Matt Daniels of the conservative Alliance for Marriage agrees. Daniels says only the Federal Marriage Amendment will protect marriage. The Alliance helped win voter approval for constitutional amendments in 11 states Tuesday. He said that the high voter support for the amendments will serve as a warning for Congress that voters want a federal amendment.
Hate crimes and job protection bills that would protect the LGBT community from discrimination are expected to be reintroduced by Democrats. But, don't hold your breath waiting for them to come to a vote. Republicans today called both measures "dead in the water".
The Bush administration is also expected to launch a new attack on gays working for the federal government. The Office of the Special Counsel, which was set up to protect civil servants from discrimination, earlier this year said that despite an executive order signed by then president Bill Clinton gay workers were not protected from harassment or dismissal on the grounds of sexual orientation.
After protests from Democratic members of Congress the White House gay workers were covered, but only a few months later began efforts to dismantle job protections for LGBT workers in government contracts.
When the scheme was exposed the Administration again backed down but many gay government employees believe the Bush Administration will renew those efforts.
In the area of AIDS, expect federal funding to the Ryan White Act to be frozen again, and it is likely Republicans will demand federal money only go to organizations that emphasize abstinence.
by Doreen Brandt
365Gay.com Washington Bureau
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