The seven Democratic presidential candidates support federal legislation protecting the civil rights of homosexuals, but none of the six Republican candidates has taken a similar stand, according to a survey of the presidential candidates by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the task force, which conducts educational and lobbying activities on issues of concern to the gay community, said that none of the GOP candidates was "willing to go on record in favor of civil rights protections of any kind." Only Vice President Bush responded to a question about civil rights on the group's survey, saying, "No one group should have special privileges granted by government."
Among the Democrats, Jesse L. Jackson voiced the strongest support, saying he would favor a law granting full civil rights to gay men and lesbians, including allowing gay partners to win child custody.
But all of the candidates in both parties have commented on AIDS. "The Democrats are unanimous in supporting increased funding for AIDS research and prevention," Levi said. "The Republicans have been less willing to commit to specific levels of funding or policies."
Sen. Robert J. Dole (Kan.) "has been the most thoughtful on AIDS issues, supporting several billion dollars for AIDS funding and opposing some forms of mandatory testing," Levi added.