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    Clinton becomes first sitting president to address homosexual advocacy group

    President Bill Clinton made history Nov. 8 when he addressed a fund-raiser for the nation’s largest homosexual advocacy organization. No sitting president had ever addressed such a group.

    “We have to broaden the imagination of America,” he told the audience of 1,500 at the sold-out $500-per-couple dinner for the Human Rights Campaign. Clinton called on Congress to pass gay rights legislation.

    Clinton said that being a homosexual “seemed to have nothing to do with the ability to read a balance book, set a broken bone or change a spark plug.”

    He added, “What counts is energy and honesty and talent. No arbitrary distinction should bar the way. When we deny opportunity because of ancestry or religion, race or gender, disability or sexual orientation, we break the compact. It is wrong and it should be illegal.”

    Clinton said that people who “aren’t comfortable yet” with homosexuals need to be shown a new image of homosexuality. “Should we change the law? You bet. Should we keep fighting discrimination? Absolutely,” Clinton remarked. “But we have to broaden the imagination of America. We are redefining in practical terms the immutable ideals that have guided us from the beginning.”

    Clinton compared his appearance to a 1947 speech by Harry Truman to the NAACP, and equated the gay rights movement with the struggle for racial equality.

    Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, said, “President Clinton’s appearance here tonight is a powerful affirmation of the shared dream of equality for all Americans.” Birch claimed that self-identified homosexual voters made up seven percent of Clinton’s total support in 1996, and gave $3.2 million in independent donations to Democrats, plus another $1.1 million through the Human Rights Campaign’s political action committee.

    The other featured guest at the dinner was television’s Ellen DeGeneres, a lesbian who also plays a lesbian in the TV show that bears her name. Clinton left the dinner before the portion of the program honoring DeGeneres, but met with her backstage. Clinton did not follow Vice President Al Gore’s lead in endorsing the pro-homosexual plot line of “Ellen.”

    The dinner drew a mixed bag of protesters, ranging from AIDS activists who feel Clinton has not done enough, to conservative protesters who oppose his endorsement of homosexual advocacy. The Rev. Louis Sheldon, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, said, “If the American people are shocked by all of the same-sex smooching that is on television, wait until they see an American president kissing up to the wealthiest extremists of the amoral left.”

    Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council said that despite the high-profile endorsement by Clinton, the homosexual lobby still faces a fundamental problem: “What they want, most Americans will reject.”

    – E.P. News

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