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Gay Republicans Object To Demands Of March on Washington With AM-Gay Rights

April 20, 1993

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The president of a national gay Republican group criticized organizers of a gay rights march for including ″non-gay related demands″ in their platform, such as repeal of ″English-only″ laws.

″We will not endorse their platform, period,″ Richard Tafel said Tuesday, with the march only five days away.

Tafel is president of the Log Cabin Federation, which represents 30 local gay Republican clubs in 20 states.

Tafel issued a news release objecting to some provisions in the 54-plank platform for the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.

He particularly objected to three demands - free substance abuse treatment on demand, a repeal of all ″English only″ laws, and the ″restoration of the self-determination of all indigenous people of the world,″ among other non- gay related demands.

″The whole community is not marching under that particular list of ’-isms,‴ Tafel said in an interview. ″That’s not the battle that we’re fighting. I think in the future this platform will be hung around the gay community’s neck by the religious right.″

But Billy Hileman, one of the march’s co-chairs, said the Log Cabin Federation had decided at its convention last July that it would not endorse the march because of disagreement over the platform.

″Their own dissatisfaction of not having the perfect document ... has somehow motivated them to kick and scream at this late hour,″ Hileman said.

The 54-plank platform was put together at a national meeting in May 1992, which members of the Log Cabin Federation attended, Hileman said.

″There were Republicans and Democrats and independents in the room and it was an agreed-upon document by an elected democratic grass roots,″ Hileman said.

Asked what these issues had to do with gay rights, Hileman said, ″There are people in our community that wanted a forum for issues that are of interest to them.″

Tafel also rebuked Hileman for wearing a T-shirt and leather vest to a meeting last week between President Clinton and gay leaders at the White House.

″I would have told him to go home and put on a jacket and tie,″ Tafel said.

Hileman said he meant no disrespect to the president by his attire.

″I wore a T-shirt that said ‘Teacher Empowerment’ on it,″ Hileman said. ″Clinton said to me he approved of and thought it was a very good thing that I was an openly gay teacher.″

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