When the White House invited homosexuals to a ceremony several weeks ago, some conservatives hit the roof. The event was a signing ceremony for legislation aimed at attacking the problem of "hate crimes" -- crimes against people because of their race, gender, religion or sexual preference. The gay community had been active in pushing for the legislation.

Some administration officials, trying to soothe conservatives, hinted that the decision to invite gays to the White House had been made at low levels and that White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu had been angry to learn of it and ordered that it not happen again.

Yesterday's signing of the disabilities act at the White House seems to indicate the talk about the first invitation being a mistake was wrong. Among the guests at the South Lawn event were at least five representatives of gay organizations.

Robert Bray of the Gay and Lesbian Task Force saluted Bush for "his committment to diversity not withstanding the John Sununus and other conservatives" who have complained that homosexuals should not be invited to the White House. Under the legislation, victims of AIDS and HIV are considered disabled, so discrimination against them would be barred.