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Ralph Nader on Civil Rights

2004 Reform nominee; 2000 Green Candidate for President


Get rid of gay discrimination fully, not halfway

DEAN: The Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. States ought to be able to decide for themselves. We decided. Massachusetts has now decided. Let the states do this.. The President should make available every single immigration right, taxation right, inheritance right, and all the other 1,600 rights that are not available now to gay and lesbian Americans because they're not allowed to get married, those rights should be available to every American, every single American without an adjective about what category that American might belong to.

NADER: The gay and lesbian community would prefer our position to the position of John Kerry to what's going on in Massachusetts. Certainly his position is better than Bush, but our position is the best. We've got to get rid of this discrimination, this chilling, this bigotry toward gays and lesbians that are reflected in literally hundreds and hundreds of statutes and regulations in this country.

Source: NPR, "Justice Talking" Dean-Nader Debate Jul 9, 2004

African Americans progress is too slow-we can do better

The civil rights movement of the 1960s raised high hopes among African American citizens that they were at last on the road to true equality with the opportunity to share fully in the nation's prosperity.

Now, nearly a half century later, there are big questions about just how far we have come to meet those high hopes, particularly in the economic arena. Yes, there has been progress, but for many minority citizens the advances have been painfully slow.

Disparities which exist between African

Source: In the Public Interest: "The Equality Index" Mar 26, 2004

Women are still second-class citizens in school athletics

Why are women still second-class citizens in athletics despite a law guaranteeing that we treat our daughters as well as our sons? Because Title IX has never been adequately enforced. In fact, the federal agency responsible for enforcing the law, the DOE's Office for Civil Rights, has never initiated a single proceeding to remove federal funds at any school or college that fails to comply. Instead, OCR has served as a negotiator of settlements that are usually less than what Title IX requires.
Source: In the Public Interest, "Title IX" by Ralph Nader Jan 30, 2003

Truth and reconciliation commission for Native Americans

Q: Winona LaDuke has called for a truth and reconciliation commission to probe crimes against Native Americans.

A: It’s common sense. There have been crimes against Native Americans.

Q: But why a truth and reconciliation commission?

A: Instead of picking at one case at a time, it’s to see the patterns of discrimination. And she thinks there should be a major task force to raise this issue in a big way and ask, How can we improve justice for first Native Americans?

Source: CNN: “Burden of Proof” Aug 9, 2000

Disagrees with ACLU on spending money as free speech

Q: Your position [on campaign spending] is at odds with the ACLU, which does see money as free speech.
A: I think the ACLU has gone off into orbit. They seem to spend a lot of time defending the constitutional rights of tobacco industry advertising, which is a very dubious constitutional position to take in the first place. Commercial speech should not be treated the same as non-commercial speech under the constitution. I disagree with them on the campaign finance issue.
Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian Feb 23, 2000

Supports “impenetrable protection of privacy”

Q: You’ve been criticized for failing to disclose your contributions in not releasing your tax returns. Why haven’t you done that?

A: First of all, tax returns are a matter of privacy between individuals and the U.S. Treasury. They are inappropriate vehicles for political candidates to disclose and breach the -- what I think should be -- impenetrable protection of privacy. For 30 years I have supported the right of privacy -- whether for medical data, credit information, tax information -- and I want to practice what I preach.

Now the only appropriate vehicle for disclosure in my judgment for political candidates is the Government Ethics Act. It has a $ 5,000 threshold. I will spend less than $ 5,000 and not become a candidate under the definition of the Government Ethics Act.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday Interview, p. 3/Z1 Oct 13, 1996

Differentiate discriminatory justice from indiscriminate

There are two categories of injustice in any society: One is discriminatory injustice, against race, color, creed, gender, etc. The other is indiscriminate injustice.

My work deals with indiscriminate injustice. When you work in indiscriminate injustice, everybody wants their defective car to be recalled and fixed. You tend to appeal to a broader spectrum of the American people.

I think we need in our country to put more attention on indiscriminate injustice, because while it is important to focus on discriminatory injustice, if you just do that, you tend to divide the country. So you need a force that not only abolishes gross, discriminatory injustice, but unifies the country against indiscriminate injustice. Anybody can join bank groups, consumer groups. They’re voluntarily funded. It doesn’t cost the taxpayer anything. Everybody is a customer of banks, directly or indirectly. Everybody is a consumer of insurance, electricity, telephone, gas, pollution.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday Interview, p. 3/Z1 Oct 13, 1996

Political discourse narrows when media serves Mammon

Q: [Recent news discussed] the formidable machine to promote the conservative agenda in Washington. What kind of impact is this having on the discourse and politics?

A: Actually, the range of permissible political discourse is far narrower here than it is in Russia at the present time. For example, when there’s a corporate crime epidemic going on, [American news shows] never have any programs. They never even talk about it. You’ve got a corporatization and of almost all of American life. The university research agendas are being set more and more by these corporate contracts and moonlighting consultantships with professors. You know throughout history what happens to a society that only serves mammon, that only serves commercialism? It’s on its way down. And commercialism now is the juggernaut system that’s running roughshod over other important value systems like health, safety, economic opportunity, justice and other values that don’t have a dollar figure on them.

Source: Alternative Radio, interview by David Barsamian Dec 8, 1995


Ralph Nader on Gay Rights

Nader supports gay marriage; but gay groups support Gore

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group, has urged voters to back Gore. The HRC’s director asserts that votes for Nader could tip the election to Bush, saying, “if Nader’s candidacy causes Bush to win, his conservative Supreme Court appointees could put the prospect of gay and lesbian equality in jeopardy.”

The organization made the appeal even though Nader supports legalizing marriage for gays and lesbians while Gore and Bush do not. Gore supports recognizing limited “contractual rights” normally reserved for married couples. Bush has said that he supports allowing states to decide the issue.

Some gay Republicans objected to what one called the HRC’s “scare tactics.” A spokesman for the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP organization, said Bush is supportive of gay rights. “This is the first GOP nominee in history who has reached out to gays and lesbians,” he said. Bush has said he would not discriminate against gays and allow them to serve in his cabinet.

Source: Eric Rosenberg, San Francisco Examiner Nov 2, 2000

Equal gay rights, including civil union

Q: Are you in favor of civil unions for gay couples and should a foreign spouse be given a green card to join his gay partner in the US?

A: My view on this is equal rights, equal responsibilities for gay and lesbian people. That would cover all issues.

Source: Nader-Buchanan debate on ‘Meet the Press’ Oct 1, 2000

Supports Civil Union in Vermont and elsewhere

Q: Does the state have a right to say that only heterosexuals can be married?
A: I think homosexuals have the right of civil union. There are economic reasons for that and there are humanitarian reasons for that, and I think the Vermont decision is a good one, and I think homosexuals should be given equal rights and equal responsibilities.
Source: Interview on ‘Meet the Press’ May 7, 2000

Long history of fighting in sexual politics

Q: In your 1996 campaign, you said you wouldn’t get involved in “gonadal politics.” Is this year going to be any different?

A: The word “gonadal” means that which begets. I could have used the word sexual politics. I fought against the restrictions on women being prohibited from civil juries way back before some of the more prominent issues of homosexual rights and abortion came onto the political scene. The Green Party will be speaking out on these issues as well.

Source: Alternative Radio interview with David Barsamian Feb 23, 2000

Other candidates on Civil Rights: Ralph Nader on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts