- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 28, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) Bit by bit, the evidence accumulates, and some conservatives are dismayed at what they see: a Republican administration sending low-key but clear signals that homosexuals are welcomed in its ranks and respected as a voting bloc.
To many homosexual activists, the Bush administration's overtures are encouraging, though timid. Among staunch social conservatives the pro-family lobby there is frustration and a sense of betrayal.
"You'd almost think they were Democrats trying to infiltrate what makes the Republican Party distinctive," said Robert Knight, executive director of the Culture and Family Institute. "The record so far has been pretty bad shockingly so, given the support Bush received from evangelical Christians."
The grievances date back to Mr. Bush's cautious openings toward homosexuals during last year's campaign. Since taking office, his administration has:
Appointed openly homosexual men as head of the Office of National AIDS Policy and as ambassador to Romania, the highest appointments ever for uncloseted homosexuals in a Republican administration.
Retained executive orders Bill Clinton issued to ensure equal treatment for homosexuals in the federal work force.
Decided not to lobby against an amendment approved by the House of Representatives last month that permits domestic partnership benefits for homosexual employees of the District of Columbia.
Some conservatives were particularly angry that the partner of Ambassador to Romania Michael Guest was acknowledged by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell during last month's swearing-in ceremony.
Conservative ire also was directed at Scott Evertz, the new AIDS policy director. A former homosexual activist in Wisconsin, Mr. Evertz is also a conservative Roman Catholic opposed to abortion.
"If the president is being battered by the right and the left, it probably means the vast majority of the electorate likes what he's doing," Mr. Evertz said in a telephone interview.
"The average American isn't at a point where they can endorse gay marriage or domestic partnerships the president isn't endorsing those concepts at this point. But does he believe gays and lesbians ought to be treated with dignity and respect? Yes."
Mr. Evertz predicted the Republicans' share of the national homosexual vote estimated at 25 percent for Bush last year would grow.

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