Press Room

December 12, 2007

Category: HIV & AIDS

Advocacy Groups Work to Facilitate Meeting with Gov. Huckabee and Ryan White’s Mother

Human Rights Campaign and The AIDS Institute send follow-up letter to Gov. Huckabee to arrange meeting with Jeanne White-Ginder

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign and The AIDS Institute sent a second letter to Republican presidential candidate Governor Mike Huckabee today to open a dialogue and facilitate a meeting between Jeanne White-Ginder, the mother of Ryan White Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign and A. Gene Copello, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute. The meeting is in response to Gov. Huckabee's 1992 remarks, that he refused to repudiate, when he said people living with HIV and AIDS should have been "isolated" even after it was determined the virus was not spread through casual contact.

"We look forward to discussing our experiences and personal insight with you and your campaign," the letter said. "This was not and is not an issue of 'political correctness,' as you have stated previously. Rather, this is an issue of valuing science-based evidence over unfounded fear or prejudice."

Jeanne White-Ginder is the mother of Ryan White, who was diagnosed with AIDS on December 17, 1984, and captivated the attention of millions as he battled the disease and ultimately succumbed to it. As reported by the Associated Press, "Huckabee once advocated isolating AIDS patients from the general public, opposed increased federal funding in the search for a cure and said homosexuality could 'pose a dangerous public health risk.'" In a FOX News interview on Sunday, December 9, Huckabee stood by his remarks. To view the FOX News interview visit the HRC blog, HRC Back Story: http://www.hrcbackstory.org/2007/12/hrc-and-the-aid.html.

As a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in 1992, Huckabee answered 229 questions submitted to him by The Associated Press. The Senate candidate wrote: "It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents."

As the Associated Press recently reported, "When Huckabee wrote his answers in 1992, it was common knowledge that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact." For the complete Associated Press story and the latest updates visit: http://www.hrcbackstory.org/




December 12th, 2007

Dear Governor Huckabee:

We wanted to follow-up from our initial letter sent to you Monday evening addressing your comments made in 1992 on the isolation of AIDS patients from the general public - comments that you have refused to recant.

According to media reports published Tuesday, you said: "I would be very willing to meet with them. οΎƒ I would tell them we've come a long way in research, in treatment."

We are writing to open a dialogue with your campaign to facilitate a meeting between yourself, Jeanne White-Ginder, the mother of Ryan White Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign and A. Gene Copello, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute.

As explained in our first letter, Ms. White-Ginder continues to be active in AIDS advocacy as a member of the board of The AIDS Institute. Her son, Ryan, was diagnosed with AIDS on December 17, 1984 at the age of 13, and captivated the attention of millions as he fought to attend school after being expelled due to ignorance of how HIV is transmitted. As you may know, the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, was named is his honor. The act is the United States' largest federally funded program for people living with HIV/AIDS. Congress voted to reauthorize the Act in 1996, 2000 and again in 2006. We hope that, even in 2007, Ryan's story can continue to open hearts and minds.

We look forward to discussing our experiences and personal insight with you and your campaign. This was not and is not an issue of "political correctness," as you have stated previously. Rather, this is an issue of valuing science-based evidence over unfounded fear or prejudice.

To facilitate the logistics of a meeting between Ms. White-Ginder, Mr. Solmonese and Mr. Copello, please contact Brad Luna, Communications Director for the Human Rights Campaign, at (202) 216-1514.

Sincerely,

Joe Solmonese
President
Human Rights Campaign

A. Gene Copello
Executive Director
The AIDS Institute

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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