PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE
A Record of Progress for Gay and Lesbian Americans
"Discrimination or violence because of race or religion,
ancestry or gender, disability or sexual orientation, is wrong, and it ought to
be illegal. Therefore, I ask Congress to make the Employment Non-Discrimination
Act and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act the law of the land."
-- President Clinton, State of the
Union Address, January 19, 1999
"The cause we celebrate tonight...is really the cause that has
defined this nation since its founding: to deepen the meaning of fundamental
fairness, to make real the promise of our self-government, to build a good and
just society on this bedrock principle: equal opportunity for all, special
privileges for none."
--Vice President Gore, September 19,
Fighting Discrimination and Hate
Fighting For Passage of Hate Crimes Legislation. President
Clinton and Vice President Gore have repeatedly called on Congress to pass the
Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would strengthen and expand the ability of
the Justice Department to prosecute hate crimes by removing needless
jurisdictional requirements for existing crimes. And for the first time in
history, it would give Federal prosecutors the power to prosecute hate crimes
committed because of the victim's sexual orientation, gender or disability. The
Clinton-Gore Administration's FY 2001 budget includes $20 million to promote
police integrity and for hate crimes training for federal, state, and local law
Enacted Longer Sentences for Hate Crimes. As part of the 1994
Crime Act, President Clinton signed the Hate Crimes Sentencing Enhancement Act,
providing for longer sentences where the offense is determined to be a hate
crime based on sexual orientation.
Preventing Hate Crimes. President Clinton hosted the first White
House Conference on Hate Crimes, which examined laws and remedies that can make
a difference in preventing hate crimes, highlighted solutions that are working
in communities across the country, and continued the frank and open dialogue
needed to build One America. In April 2000, President Clinton held a strategy
session on hate crimes at the White House where he met with state, local, and
federal law enforcement officials to emphasize the need for federal hate crimes
legislation and to highlight successful partnerships between various law
enforcement offices in prosecuting hate crimes. The President also released two
new resources to fight hate crimes -- a local prosecutor's guide to preventing
and responding to hate crimes, and a "promising practices" report that
describes successful anti-hate partnerships.
Ending Discrimination in the Federal Workforce. President Clinton
issued an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual
orientation in the Federal civilian workforce, making the Federal Government
the largest employer in the world with a non-discrimination policy covering
sexual orientation, and he defeated an attempt to overturn that policy.
President Clinton also issued an Executive Order mandating that security
clearances no longer be denied based on sexual orientation.
Endorsing Legislation that Outlaws Discrimination in the Workplace.
President Clinton called for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination
Act (ENDA) in both his 1999 and 2000 State of the Union addresses. ENDA would
outlaw discrimination in hiring, firing and promotions based on sexual
orientation -- extending basic employment protections to gay and lesbian
Working to End Discrimination Against People With AIDS. President
Clinton supports the Supreme Court's decision in Bragdon v. Abbott,
which reinforces the protections offered by the Americans With Disabilities Act
for Americans living with HIV and AIDS. The President directed the Justice
Department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to vigorously
prosecute those who discriminate against people with AIDS, leading to actions
against health care providers and facilities that violate the Americans with
Promoting Tolerance in Our Schools. In April 1999, the President
announced a new public-private partnership to focus attention on issues of
hate, tolerance and diversity in schools. President Clinton also called on the
Departments of Justice and Education to include hate crimes in their annual
report card on school safety and to report on hate crimes and bias on college
campuses. The Education Department has issued a guide for school administrators
and teachers which provides practical help in developing a comprehensive
approach to protecting all students, including gays and lesbians, from
harassment and violence.
Standing Up for Fairness. President Clinton and Vice President
Gore blocked Republican efforts to pass legislation prohibiting unmarried
couples from jointly adopting children in the District of Columbia and
legislation which would have denied certain Federal funds to localities with
domestic partnership laws.
Working to Expand Civil Rights Enforcement. In FY 2000, the
President won a six percent increase in funding for federal civil rights
enforcement agencies including $82 million for the Civil Rights Division at the
Justice Department, a 19 percent increase. And this year, President Clinton has
proposed $698 million for civil rights enforcement -- a 13 percent
increase -- to prosecute criminal civil rights cases (including hate crimes and
police misconduct), enforce the American with Disabilities Act, pursue Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission employment actions and prevent housing
discrimination, and other civil rights enforcement efforts.
Opposing Anti-Gay Ballot Initiatives. President Clinton and Vice
President Gore strongly opposed anti-gay ballot initiatives in Colorado, Oregon
and, most recently, California.
Fighting Discrimination Against People with AIDS in the Military.
President Clinton successfully fought for the repeal of the Dornan amendment,
which required the expulsion of all HIV-positive military service members
regardless of their ability to do their jobs. Prior to its repeal, President
Clinton unilaterally declared the law unconstitutional and instructed the
Justice Department not to defend it in court, becoming the first president
since Franklin Roosevelt to take such action.
Helping Those Fleeing Persecution Because of Sexual Orientation.
The Clinton-Gore Administration is the first ever to grant asylum for gays
and lesbians facing persecution in other countries. The President sent gay
human rights activist Keith Boykin to Zimbabwe as part of an official United
States delegation to investigate human rights abuses of gays and lesbians.
An Administration that Includes All Americans
Most Inclusive Administration in History. Creating the most
diverse Administration in history, the President has appointed openly gay men
and lesbians to all levels of government, including judicial appointments and
top Executive Branch positions requiring Senate confirmation. In fact,
President Clinton is the first President to appoint an openly gay or lesbian
person to an Administration post. The President has nominated more than 150
openly gay and lesbian appointees, including: James Hormel, Ambassador to
Luxembourg and the first openly gay U.S. ambassador; Fred Hochberg, Deputy
Administrator of the Small Business Administration, the first openly gay person
to be appointed Deputy in an U.S. Cabinet-level agency; Bruce Lehman, former
Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the first openly gay man to
be confirmed by the U.S. Senate; Roberta Achtenberg, former Assistant Secretary
of Housing and Urban Development, the first open lesbian confirmed by the U.S.
Senate; and Robert Raben, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs,
Department of Justice. In the White House, the President appointed Virginia
Apuzzo, former Assistant to the President for Management and Administration
(the first openly gay or lesbian Assistant to the President); Karen Tramontano,
Assistant to the President and Counselor to the Chief of Staff; Sean Maloney,
Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary; Daniel C. Montoya, Executive
Director of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS; Todd Summers, former
deputy director of the Office of National AIDS Policy; and David Tseng, Chief
of Staff, National Economic Council. They are the highest-ranking openly gay or
lesbian people ever to serve in the Federal Government.
Reaching Out to All Communities. The Clinton-Gore Administration
is committed to a policy of inclusion. President Clinton named the first
Presidential Liaison to the gay and lesbian community, Marsha Scott.
Later, he named the first openly gay senior policy adviser on civil rights
issues and liaison to the gay and lesbian community, Richard Socarides. Julian
Potter is the first lesbian to serve as a liaison to the gay and lesbian
Appointed the First Openly Gay United States Ambassador. On
October 6, 1997 and again on January 6, 1999, the President nominated James C.
Hormel to be U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg. Although Mr. Hormel's
qualifications were never in question, and it was generally agreed that his
nomination would have easily won a floor vote, a handful of conservative
Senators blocked the nomination. On June 4, 1999, President Clinton announced
the recess appointment of James Hormel, making Mr. Hormel the first openly gay
Issued the First Gay and Lesbian Pride Month Proclamation. In
June 1999, President Clinton issued the first Gay and Lesbian Pride Month
proclamation, marking the Stonewall Uprising and the birth of the modern gay
and lesbian civil rights movement.
The First President and Vice President to Speak before Gay and
Lesbian Organizations. On November 8, 1997, President Clinton became the
first sitting president to speak before a gay and lesbian organization when he
delivered the keynote address to the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner. In
January 1999, President Clinton advocated for gay and lesbian issues in his
State of the Union remarks, the first president ever to do so. In September
1997, Vice President Gore addressed the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force,
the first vice president to speak at a gay rights event. The Vice President
also addressed the Human Rights Campaign in September 1998. The Hetrick-Martin
Institute awarded the Clinton-Gore Administration the Emery S. Hetrick Award
"for outstanding contributions to lesbian and gay youth."
National Leadership in the Fight Against AIDS
Increasing Resources in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS. President
Clinton and Vice President Gore have worked hard to invigorate the response to
HIV and AIDS, providing new national leadership, substantially greater
resources and a closer working relationship with affected communities. Since
1993, the President and Vice President have increased overall funding for major
HIV/AIDS programs by 133 percent (within the Department of Health and Human
Services), funding for the Ryan White CARE programs has increased 338 percent,
assistance for the purchase of AIDS drugs increased by 965 percent, and support
for AIDS-related research has increased by 97 percent. In FY 2000 alone,
President Clinton won a $73 million increase for prevention activities to help
stop the spread of this disease; an increase of $183 million in the Ryan White
CARE Act; and an estimated $300 million in additional funds for AIDS-related
research at the National Institutes of Health. The FY 2001 budget includes $9.2
billion in total HIV/AIDS funding at HHS alone.
Focusing Efforts in Fighting AIDS. President Clinton created a
White House Office of National AIDS Policy to sharpen the focus of its AIDS
programs. The President also created the Presidential Advisory Council on
HIV/AIDS to provide him with expert outside advice on the ways in which the
Federal government should respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Former Congressman
Ron Dellums chairs the Advisory Council. Half of the Council's membership is
gay or lesbian.
Declining Number of AIDS Cases. In 1996, for the first time in
the history of the AIDS epidemic, the number of Americans diagnosed with AIDS
declined. In October 1999, the National Center for Health Statistics announced
that HIV/AIDS mortality has declined more than 70 percent since 1995, and AIDS
cases are no longer among the top 15 causes of death, a fall from
8th place in 1996. There has been a decline in the number of AIDS
cases overall and a sharp decline in new AIDS cases in infants and children.
New treatments have improved care and lengthened the lives of people with
Making Research a Priority. In one of his first acts in office,
President Clinton signed the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act
of 1993, placing full responsibility for planning, budgeting and evaluation of
the AIDS research program at NIH in the Office of AIDS Research. The President
requested and received the first federal plan for biomedical research on AIDS.
The Clinton-Gore Administration has increased AIDS research funds at the
National Institutes of Health by 89 percent to over $2 billion. In 1998, the
President called for an overall increase of almost 50 percent over 5 years in
the NIH budget as part of his Research for America Fund. Since that time, the
NIH budget has increased by over $4.3 billion and with the funding proposed by
the President this year, the Administration will be one year ahead of schedule
in reaching the 50 percent goal. This influx of funding has allowed the NIH to
support the highest levels of research ever on nearly all types of diseases and
health conditions, including HIV/AIDS.
Focusing National Efforts on an AIDS Vaccine. On May 18, 1997,
the President challenged the nation to develop an AIDS vaccine within the next
ten years. He also announced a number of initiatives to help meet that goal,
including high-level international collaboration, a dedicated research center
for AIDS vaccine research at NIH, and outreach to scientists, pharmaceutical
companies, and patient advocates to maximize the involvement of both private
and public sectors in the development of an AIDS vaccine. In June 1999 the
President dedicated the Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center at the
NIH and announced that the primary work of this new center will be HIV vaccine
research. NIH has increased funding for AIDS vaccine research by 100 percent
since the President's challenge.
Progress Toward Finding an AIDS Vaccine. As of June 1998,
researchers supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious
Diseases have evaluated 27 vaccine candidates and 12 adjuvants (substances
incorporated into a vaccine that boost specific immune responses to the
vaccine) in more than 3,000 volunteers in hase I/II clinical trials. On June 3,
1998, the FDA granted permission to VaxGen Inc. for the nation's first phase
III clinical trail for an AIDS prevention vaccine. The trial of the vaccine,
called AIDSVAX, will include at least 5,000 volunteers from the U.S., Canada
and Europe and will last up to five years. A separate phase II trial of AIDSVAX
in Thailand will enroll 2,500 volunteers. And in February 1999, NIH-supported
investigators initiated the first AIDS vaccine trial in Africa.
Increasing Access to AIDS Drugs. Funding for AIDS drug
assistance, which provides new life-prolonging drugs to people with HIV and
AIDS, has increased from $52 million per year to $528 million per year during
the Clinton-Gore Administration. The Administration's FY 2001 budget includes
an additional $26 million, a five percent increase. In addition, President
Clinton and Vice President Gore convened the National Task Force on AIDS Drug
Development, and removed dozens of bureaucratic obstacles to the effective and
decent treatment of people with AIDS. Since 1993, the Food and Drug
Administration has approved 11 AIDS drugs and 22 drugs for AIDS-related
conditions, and accelerated approval to record times. Included in these
approvals are a new class of drugs known as protease inhibitors, and in March
1997 the FDA approved the first protease inhibitor with labeling for use in
Addressing HIV/AIDS in Minority Communities. Racial and ethnic
communities make up the fastest growing portion of HIV/AIDS cases (more than 50
percent of all new HIV cases). In FY 2000, the President builds on the progress
started last year with a $251 million investment in a comprehensive
initiative that will improve prevention efforts in high-risk communities and
expand access to cutting edge HIV therapies and other treatment needed for
HIV/AIDS in minority communities. The President's FY 2001 budget includes $274
million to continue this effort.
Increasing Resources for Prevention Activities. The Clinton-Gore
Administration has increased funds for HIV prevention at the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention by 47 percent since 1993. The Administration's
FY 2001 budget includes an additional $65 million increase. Under the
Administration's leadership, the CDC reorganized its HIV/AIDS prevention
efforts to foster greater overall coordination and enhance efforts to reduce
sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis.
Protecting Local Authority Over Prevention Activities. The
Clinton-Gore Administration helped protect local authority over HIV prevention
activities, successfully removing language from the FY 2000 District of
Columbia Appropriations bill that would have tied the hands of community health
agencies in their ability to use their own money for needle exchange programs
as a part of their overall HIV prevention strategy.
Educating Young People About the Dangers of AIDS. The
Clinton-Gore Administration launched the Prevention Marketing Initiative,
focusing on reducing the risk to young adults (18-25) with frank public service
announcements recommending the correct and consistent use of latex condoms for
those who are sexually active.
Promoting Understanding of AIDS. President Clinton issued a
directive on September 30, 1993 that requires every Federal employee to receive
comprehensive education on HIV/AIDS.
First White House Conference on HIV and AIDS. On December 6,
1995, President Clinton convened the first White House Conference on HIV and
AIDS, bringing together more than 300 experts, activists and citizens from
across the country to discuss key issues.
Ensuring Access to Housing. President Clinton and Vice President
Gore have worked to ensure that people with HIV and AIDS have fair access to
housing. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has established
the National Office of HIV/AIDS Housing to help people with HIV/AIDS pay for
housing. Funding for the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program
has increased by 10 percent. And in December 1998, the Vice President announced
the release of $200 million to help communities prevent people with HIV/AIDS
and their families from becoming homeless. In addition, HUD and HHS have
launched collaborative efforts to combine housing assistance, medical and
social services for people living with HIV/AIDS, including testing outreach
programs and other special efforts for people with multiple diagnosis.
Addressing the Global AIDS Crisis
Vice President Gore Chaired United Nations Meeting on HIV/AIDS.
In January 2000, Vice President Gore chaired a United Nations Security Council
debate on the impact of the AIDS epidemic -- the first time a vice president
ever presided over a Security Council meeting, and the first time the Council
ever focused on a health issue. At the meeting, the Vice President announced
that the Clinton-Gore Administration's FY 2001 budget will include a new $150
million investment to assist efforts to combat the international AIDS pandemic
and contribute to international infectious disease prevention efforts.
Helping Developing Countries Obtain Affordable Medicines. In
December 1999, the President announced that the United States Trade
Representative and the Department of Health and Human Services will develop a
cooperative approach on health-related intellectual property matters consistent
with the goal of helping poor countries gain access to affordable medicines,
including drugs to treat HIV/AIDS.
Delivering Vaccines for Developing Countries. In his 2000 State
of the Union address, the President challenged the private sector to help
develop and deliver vaccines for developing countries. In March, industry
responded to the President's call as CEOs of the four largest vaccines
manufacturers announced that they will donate millions of doses of
state-of-the-art vaccines -- worth more than $150 million -- to those in the
developing world and make a renewed commitment to step up research and
development on vaccines for HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Improving Health Care Quality and Increasing
Fighting to Pass a Strong, Enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights.
Leading by example, the President directed all federal agencies to ensure that
their employees and beneficiaries have the benefits and rights guaranteed under
the proposed Patients' Bill of Rights. 85 million Americans covered by federal
health plans have the security of knowing they will have fair access to health
care thanks to the President's work. President Clinton and Vice President Gore
have called on the Congress to pass a strong, enforceable patients' bill of
rights that assures Americans the quality health care they need. The bill
should include important patient protections such as: assuring direct access to
specialists; real emergency room protections; continuity of care provisions
that protect patients from abrupt changes in treatment; a fair, timely, and
independent appeals process for patient grievances; and enforcement provisions
to make these rights real.
Protecting Medicaid and Social Security Coverage. The President
fought for and won the preservation of the Medicaid guarantee of coverage which
serves more than 50 percent of people living with AIDS -- and 92 percent of
children with AIDS -- who rely on Medicaid for health coverage. He also revised
eligibility rules for Social Security Disability Insurance to increase the
number of HIV positive persons who qualify for benefits.
Banning Insurance Discrimination. President Clinton fought for
and signed the Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act, which prevents people from being denied health coverage due
to pre-existing medical conditions, including HIV/AIDS. In addition, President
Clinton issued a directive that ensures that all providers of Federal health
insurance abide by non-discrimination rules including sexual orientation.
Promoting Lesbian Health Issues. Under President Clinton's
leadership, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention have commissioned scientific panels to study lesbian
health issues and to suggest research methods for scientists who want to study
specific lesbian health issues. This is the first time a U.S. Government agency
has commissioned an examination into this subject.
Workshop on Lesbian Health. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine of
the National Academy of Sciences published a comprehensive review titled
Lesbian Health: Current Assessment and Directions for the Future, which
made eight sweeping recommendations for improving our knowledge about lesbian
health. In March 2000, the HHS Office on Women's Health and the Gay and Lesbian
Health Association teamed up with several HHS agencies as well as national gay
and lesbian organizations to sponsor the first Scientific Workshop on Lesbian
Health in Washington D.C. The workshop outlined the next steps needed to
implement the recommendations of the IOM Report. Over 120 top scientists and
policy experts from academic institutions, government, advocacy organizations,
and foundations participated.
Released Strong New Protections for the Privacy of Electronic Medical
Records. The Clinton-Gore Administration released a new regulation to
protect the privacy of electronic medical records held by health plans, health
care clearinghouses, and health care providers. This rule would limit the use
and release of private health information without consent; restrict the
disclosure of protected health information to the minimum amount of information
necessary; establish new requirements for disclosure of information to
researchers and others seeking access to health records; and establish new
administrative and criminal sanctions for the improper use or disclosure of