Post-Press Conference Letter from Human Rights Campaign President to Speaker Dennis Hastert

by HRC Staff

Nation's Largest Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Organization Calls on Speaker to Not Allow Anti-Gay Partisans to Hijack Investigation

WASHINGTON - Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights organization, sent the following letter today to Speaker Dennis Hastert after his press conference on the Mark Foley scandal.

The body of the letter is as follows:

The Honorable Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert
235 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker,

Your decision today to accept full responsibility for the inaction of the House to protect the Pages for the United States House of Representatives is long overdue. Mark Foley's actions are inexcusable and everyone involved should be accountable for his or her actions. We have, however, been deeply troubled in recent days to hear voices in the Republican Party publicly scapegoat gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans for this inappropriate and immoral conduct.

This is not a gay or straight issue it is an issue of inappropriate behavior that regardless of one's sexual orientation, political affiliation or any other characteristic is dead wrong.

We whole-heartedly support a full investigation into this matter. However, as this investigation moves forward we call on you to ensure the focus remain on those things important to this matter and not allow extremists within your own party to try and divert attention by furthering their anti-gay agendas.

Gay Americans have watched this scandal unfold like everyone else, but unlike other Americans, we have found ourselves targeted once again by extremists in the Republican Party trying to shift responsibility. Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community are part of the fabric of our country and to demonize them in the name of politics is disgraceful.

Mr. Speaker, when extremists in your party go on national television and assert claims that a person's sexual orientation is responsible for immoral and inappropriate conduct, it sends a clear signal to the American people that they are more interested in pushing their anti-gay agenda than they are in holding our elected officials accountable.

Ultimately, this matter is about responsibility and accountability at the highest levels of our government. The American people expect those two words to continue to resonate in Washington. Attempts to shift blame are a disservice to our democracy.

We watched your announcement today with hope that moving forward we will see focus placed on the real issues at hand. If we are ever going to restore the American people's faith in government and in our elected officials, it falls to you to ensure that this process not be hijacked by anti-gay partisans more interested in their own selfish agendas than doing what is right for our country.


Joe Solmonese
Human Rights Campaign

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