Gay Rights Group Embraces Clark; Ex-General Supports Civil Unions

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 19, 2003 | Go to article overview

Gay Rights Group Embraces Clark; Ex-General Supports Civil Unions


Byline: Cheryl Wetzstein, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Wesley Clark, the retired Army general who is the latest candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has been embraced as "another pro-gay moderate" by a national homosexual rights group.

"Wesley Clark has been an inspiring, effective leader and a voice of reason on the national scene for quite some time," says Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

"Like most Americans, he supports basic fairness for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people," Mr. Foreman says. "We welcome his entry into this already crowded and pro-gay field of Democratic candidates, and look forward to his contribution to the debate on the critical issues facing our nation and our world."

Evidence of Mr. Clark's homosexual-friendly views are his support for a review of the military's decade-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy, the task force says. In June, Mr. Clark told NBC "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert the policy "absolutely" should be changed.

"I don't think it works," said the former supreme allied commander in Europe who led the NATO forces in the war in Kosovo. "Essentially, we've got a lot of gay people in the armed forces - we always have had, always will. And I think that ... we should welcome people that want to serve."

Mr. Clark, a Catholic who was raised a Southern Baptist, also came out in support of "gay civil unions" and doesn't "believe gays to be inherently sinful," the task force says.

David Smith of the Human Rights Campaign, another major homosexual rights group, says he has heard Mr. Clark make several favorable statements, as well as a few that seemed "slightly problematic. …

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