MIERS ON GAYS

Here’s an interesting story. Back in 1989, Harriet Miers gave answers to a questionnaire on gay rights when she was running for the Dallas city council. She didn’t favor repeal of anti-sodomy laws, but she did say yes to the question:

“Do you believe that gay men and lesbians should have the same civil rights as non-gay men and women?”
She was noncommittal on several other questions, saying, for example, that she would be willing to discuss the need for a law prohibiting discrimination in housing or public accommodations against people who had AIDS or were HIV-positive.
Asked whether qualified candidates should be denied city employment because they are gay or lesbian, she said, “I believe that employers should be able to pick the best qualified person for any position to be filled considering all relevant factors.”

I’m not sure what to make of this, except to say that this was 1989, and that her refusal to endorse discrimination against gays and lesbians on those grounds alone speaks well of her. (Hey, this was Texas in 1989.) Her view that people could be arrested for private consensual sex, however, was and is alarming. But a whole lot of people have changed their minds on that in the last decade or so. Maybe Miers is one of them. I think it’s a fair question to ask of her at the Senate hearings: “Do you believe that gay men and lesbians should have the same civil rights as non-gay men and women?” And: “What do you understand by the term ‘civil rights’?”

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