While visitors to the nation's capital celebrate the start of a second term for President Bush this week, a gay rights group is televising a warning about the next four years. The Human Rights Campaign is spending $15,000 to run ads on three cable news channels about the Bush administration's record on gay rights, hate crimes, and same-sex marriage. "The president is about to take an oath, and we've seen a pattern during the first term of a President Bush whose rhetoric doesn't match his record," Human
Rights Campaign spokesman Steven Fisher said.
Fisher said the ads--which will appear on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News--are meant to "reach visitors in town for the inaugural, members of the Administration, and everyone who cares about fairness and equality, to make sure they understand his record." The ad shows Bush expressing support for equal rights and saying he does not hire or fire people based on their sexual orientation. Then an announcer says Bush opposes equal rights for gay couples and that 1,500 military members have been separated from the service for being gay.
Bush campaigned for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage but said in an interview over the weekend that he will not lobby the Senate to pass it this year because the measure lacks sufficient votes. White House counselor Dan Bartlett said later that Bush was talking about legislative reality and would still push for the ban. Efforts to pass such an amendment failed in the House and Senate last year when neither chamber mustered the two-thirds majority vote needed for passage.