HIV Repeal Demonstrates Broad Bipartisan Support, while Proving Necessity of GOP Moderates
(Washington, D.C) Last night, White House and Republican conferees agreed to drop the pernicious HIV ban on military personnel when they accepted Senator William Cohen's (R-MA) amendment, which stripped the ban from the Defense appropriations act, as part of the entire omnibus appropriations legislation. The agreement between the White House and Congressional Republicans ended the threat of government shutdowns, as the 1996 federal budget was finally approved. "Last night's agreement between the White House and Congressional Republicans reaffirms the necessity of Republican moderates to the Republican majority," said Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans. "The courageous efforts led by Congressman Peter Torkildsen (R-MA), Senator Bill Cohen (R-ME) nad Senator Mark Hatfield (R-OR)to stop this draconian measure remind us all of the importance of Republican moderates in the 104th Congress."
"The inclusion of the HIV repeal amendment is a victory for those soldiers who are proudly serving their country day in and day out. The success of this effort belongs to many, including national organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and AIDS Action Council. And the effort was supported on both sides of the aisle with particular leadership from Congresswoman Harman (D-CA) and Sen. Kennedy (D-MA)." said Tafel.
Congressman Robert Dornan (R-CA) introduced the ban and President Clinton signed the bill into law, which would have affected more than 1040 people who are currently serving in the military and have tested positive for the HIV virus. Rated in the lowest category possible, Antagonistic, by the Log Cabin Republicans, Dornan plans to reintroduce the ban in the 1997 appropriations. "Republican moderates showed important leadership in pushing Congressional Republicans in dropping this ban. Now the American people can see that Robert Dornan does not represent the majority of opinion in the party on this subject," said Tafel.