Press Room

January 31, 2006

Category: HIV & AIDS

State of the Union: Bush’s Comparisons Between Marriage Fairness and Dirty Politicians off the Mark

WASHINGTON - President Bush delivered his fifth State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress tonight, outlining many challenges facing our country but not forgetting the need to appease extremist groups.

"The president outlined many challenges facing this country that are of concern to the American people but unfortunately felt the need to throw his base an unnecessary and divisive crumb," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Trying to draw comparisons between the reprehensible acts of unethical politicians with fair and independent judges is both ridiculous and wrong."

The president also spent a portion of his speech speaking about the domestic HIV/AIDS pandemic saying, "More than a million Americans live with HIV, and half of all AIDS cases occur among African Americans. I ask Congress to reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act οΎƒ and provide new funding to states, so we end the waiting lists for AIDS medicine in America."

"It is a positive sign the president's acknowledged the crisis however, we continue to be troubled by this administration's policies that continually leave our nation's health programs underfunded and allow ideology, and not science, to determine HIV/AIDS policy," continued Solmonese.

Additionally, in tonight's speech President Bush spoke a lot about cutting taxes for Americans and providing health care insurance alternatives to working families.

"If the president is truly interested in cutting taxes and providing health care coverage for working families then he would support an end to the tax inequity on health care benefits for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans," said Solmonese. "Our community is being taxed at a much higher rate than our neighbors and the president and Congress should act on this disparity."

Before Congress is a bipartisan piece of legislation, the Domestic Partners Health Benefits Equity Act, which would stop the federal government's taxation of health benefits provided by employers to any beneficiary covered under an employee's benefits plan, including domestic partners.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.