Miers once answered gay rights questionnaire

In a questionnaire provided by a gay political group in Dallas in 1989, President Bush's latest pick for the U.S. Supreme Court provided contradictory answers to gay rights questions.

BY admin

October 03 2005 11:00 PM ET

Harriet Miers,
President Bush's pick to fill the U.S. Supreme Court
vacancy left by the retiring justice Sandra Day O'Connor,
once filled out a questionnaire for a gay rights group
in which she agreed that gay men and lesbians should
have equal rights. But she immediately followed that
answer by stating that she did not support the repeal of the
Texas sodomy law, which was eventually struck down by
the high court.

As part of their
endorsement screening process for city council
candidates, the Lesbian/Gay Political Coalition of Dallas in
1989 asked then-candidate Miers if she would fill out
their standard questionnaire and appear before the
coalition to discuss the answers. Miers agreed. “It
was not uncommon to get vague or contradictory answers [from
candidates],” Louise Young, a member of the coalition
at the time, told Advocate.com. “Hers were
certainly vague.”

Miers, 60, the
current White House council and a former private attorney
who has never served as a judge, answered five questions on
the coalition's form dealing with gay rights and
HIV/AIDS. When asked: “Do you believe that gay
men and lesbians should have the same civil rights as
non-gay men and women?” Miers wrote,
“Yes.” But then when asked: “Do
you, as an individual citizen, support the repeal of section
21.06 of the Texas Penal code, which criminalizes the
private sexual behavior of consenting adult lesbians
and gay men?” Miers wrote, “No.”

Miers said she
did support city funding for AIDS services to the level
that was needed to combat that “serious total
community problem.” When asked if she would
support a city ordinance prohibiting discrimination
against people with AIDS, Miers said she preferred a
“legislative solution” but would be
“willing to discuss the need and make an
appropriate decision when fully advised.”

The fifth and
final question asked of Miers was whether she believed
that qualified gays and lesbians should be denied employment
by the city of Dallas solely because of their sexual
orientation. “I believe that employers should
be able to pick the best qualified person for any
position to be filled considering all relevant
factors,” she wrote.

At the end of the
questionnaire, Miers said she was “not seeking the
endorsement of LGPC.” She did, however, agree to come
to the coalition's “screening session”
at the First Unitarian Church in Dallas. “Her
campaign manager at the time had brought many candidates
before our community screening process, and she wanted
Miers to come before us,” Young said.

“At the
screening we have open questions from the floor,”
Young continued, noting that she couldn't remember
what specific questions were asked of Miers.
“She didn't give good answers to all of our
questions. She didn't seem hostile, but she didn't
give a good screening. As I recall [after she won a
seat] on the city council, she never went after us in
any way. She wasn't what we call a right-wing nut. My
impression was that she was not one to be rabid
against us.”

For continuing
coverage of this breaking story, check back with
Advocate.com.

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