by John in DC - 8/09/2006 06:03:00 PM


Apparently, Rick Santorum was for gay and transgender civil rights before he was against it.

Two weeks ago, Senator Rick Santorum's staff met with gay activists - following that meeting, Santorum had his photo taken with the activists.



Within a few days of that meeting, Santorum signed a statement promising not to discriminate in his hiring practices based on the sexual orientation or gender identity of the job applicant. The Senator's openly gay press secretary confirmed to GenderPAC, the group asking for signatures, that the signature was real and that Santorum was on board. Here is the signature that was faxed from the US Senate.



After Santorum's signature on the statement became public, Santorum's office first said nothing, then reportedly denied the signature was real, and today sent GenderPAC a letter "rescinding" the signature (and here we though the good Senator believed people should take responsibility for their actions).

What was Santorum possibly thinking? Clearly he's worried about his re-election and trying to suck up to moderate Republicans and Democrats who think/know that the good Senator is the religous right's darling in the Senate. But is the man stupid? Does he really think anyone in the middle is going to believe that Rick Santorum has gone suddenly pro-gay and pro-transgender? And did no one in Santorum's office expect the obvious radical right backlash that would, inevitably, force Santorum to flip flop, like he just did?

This is the Republicans' number 3 guy in the Senate, and they wonder why they're having problems.

Here is GenderPAC's statement.

Press Release -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Taneika Taylor
Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC)
www.gpac.org

GPAC Regrets Rescinding of Support for Diversity Statement

WASHINGTON (August 9, 2006) - Less than a week after becoming the 170th Member of Congress to affirm that his office does not discriminate in its employment practices based on an individualís "sexual orientation or gender identity and expression," Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) today rescinded his signature on the Diversity Statement.

"Every person deserves the opportunity to pursue their career and succeed - regardless of whether they are gay, transgender, or fit expectations for masculinity or femininity," said Riki Wilchins, Executive Director of the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC.) "We were surprised but pleased when Senator Santorum affirmed that his office does not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. We are disappointed by the Senator's new decision, and hope he will reconsider in the future."

The Diversity Statement is a joint project initiated in 2003 by GenderPAC and the Human Rights Campaign that has received bipartisan support on Capitol Hill from members of the House and Senate.

Sen. Santorum's signature came after a meeting the week of July 24th with Adrian Shanker - a volunteer field trainer with GenderPAC's youth program and student at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA - and three of his classmates. Shanker had previously lobbied his school administration successfully to add "gender identity and expression" to its own non-discrimination policies.

They also met with Legislative Aide Anna Mitchell. After the meeting, the Senator posed for a picture with the four students. A copy of the Senator's statement was faxed to GenderPAC at 7pm the evening of August 1. The signature was confirmed the following morning by senior aide, Robert Traynham.

At 4:45pm today, August 9th, the Senator again faxed GenderPAC a new statement that read in part, "To be clear, my office has not adopted the proposed 'diversity statement' nor the agenda of your organization...My name should no longer be reported as having adopted the 'diversity statement.'"

"I am very frustrated with my senator's flip-flopped message to his constituents," said Shanker. "Pennsylvanians deserve representatives that have a strong record in supporting equality for all. This latest move doesn't come close."

Currently 24 Senators, 145 Representatives - 19 Republicans and 148 Democrats - have endorsed the statement. For a complete up-to-date listing of congressional signatories by state, please visit www.gpac.org/congress.


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