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Fred Thompson on Civil Rights

Former Republican Senator (TN)


Dislikes gay marriage, but states allowed to do it

Q: With gay marriage, the Associated Press reports: “Thompson favors a constitutional amendment that bars judges from legalizing gay marriage, but also leaves open the door for state legislatures to approve the practice.” So if a state said, “We want to have gay marriages in our state,” you would be OK with that?

A: Yes. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Nobody ever thought that that was contested until recently, and we’ve had a couple judges in a couple states decide to turn all that on its head. I would support a constitutional amendment that addresses this judge-created problem, and say judges can’t do that. But, at the end of the day, if a state legislature and a governor decide that that’s what they want to do, yes, they should have the freedom to do what Fred Thompson thinks is a very bad idea.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series Nov 4, 2007

Be tolerant of gays, but no special categories or rights

Q: Let’s do a lightning round to see where you stand. Gay rights.

A: I think that we ought to be a tolerant nation. I think we ought to be tolerant people. But we shouldn’t set up special Q: Let’s do a lightning round to see where you stand. Gay rights.

A: I think that we ought to be a tolerant nation. I think we ought to be tolerant people. But we shouldn’t set up special categories for anybody. And I’m for the rights of everybody, including gays, but not any special rights.

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 “Choosing the President” interviews Mar 11, 2007

No gay marriage; leave civil unions to the states

Q: You’re against gay marriage? ?

A: Yes. You know, marriage is between a man and a woman, and I don’t believe judges ought to come along and change that.

Q: What about civil unions?

A: I think that that ought to be left up to the states. I personally do not think that that is a good idea, but I believe in many of these cases where there’s real dispute in the country, these things are not going to be ever resolved. People are going to have different ideas. That’s why we have states. We ought to give great leeway to states and not have the federal government and not have the Supreme Court of the United States making social policy that’s contrary to the traditions of this country and changing that overnight. And that’s what’s happened in a lot of these areas.

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 “Choosing the President” interviews Mar 11, 2007

No end in sight to problems with Indian Trust Funds

The Interior Department’s worst problems include violating the trust of Indians. The Department is legally obligated to ensure that American Indian resources and lands are properly managed, protected, and conserved. As trustee for the tribes, they manage $3 billion on the tribes’ behalf. However, the Department “cannot assure trust account holders that their balances are accurate or that their assets are being properly managed.” As far back as 1993, GAO wrote, “Over the years, countless audit reports and internal studies have cited a litany of serious problems in [the Bureau of Indian Affairs’] oversight of these accounts.“ Among the problems were ”missing lease and accounting records; and the inability to verify that all earned revenues were collected and disbursed to the proper party.“ Unfortunately, there is no end in sight to the problems with the Indian Trust Funds. The Bureau of Indian Affairs wrote in 2001 that ”trust reform is slowly, but surely imploding at this point in time.“
Source: Government at the Brink, by Fred Thompson, Vol.2, p. 62-63 Jun 3, 2001

Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes.

Motion to Invoke Cloture on S. 625; Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act of 2001. The bill would expand the definition of hate crimes to incorporate acts committed because of a victim's sex, sexual orientation or disability and permit the federal government to help states prosecute hate crimes even if no federally protected action was implicated. If the cloture motion is agreed to, debate will be limited and a vote will occur. If the cloture motion is rejected debate could continue indefinitely and instead the bill is usually set aside. Hence a Yes vote supports the expansion of the definition of hate crimes, and a No vote keeps the existing definition. Three-fifths of the Senate, or 60 members, is required to invoke cloture.
Reference: Bill S.625 ; vote number 2002-147 on Jun 11, 2002

Voted NO on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping.

Motion to table (kill) the amendment that would provide that in order to conduct roving surveillance, the person implementing the order must ascertain that the target of the surveillance is present in the house or is using the phone that has been tapped.
Reference: Bill S1510 ; vote number 2001-300 on Oct 11, 2001

Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation.

Vote on an amendment that would expand the definition of hate crimes to include gender, sexual orientation and disability. The previous definition included only racial, religious or ethnic bias.
Reference: Bill S.2549 ; vote number 2000-136 on Jun 20, 2000

Voted NO on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women.

Vote to table, or kill, an amendment to repeal the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise [DBE] Program, which requires no less than 10% of highway construction projects funded by the federal government to be contracted to 'disadvantaged business enterprises'
Reference: Bill S.1173 ; vote number 1998-23 on Mar 6, 1998

Voted NO on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business.

This legislation would have abolished a program that helps businesses owned by women or minorities compete for federally funded transportation.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)48; N)52
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture; Bill S.1173 ; vote number 1997-275 on Oct 23, 1997

Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): Vote to prohibit marriage between members of the same sex in federal law, and provide that no state is required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Define 'marriage' as 'between one man and one woman.'
Reference: Bill HR 3396 ; vote number 1996-280 on Sep 10, 1996

Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation.

Would have prohibited job discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Status: Bill Defeated Y)49; N)50; NV)1
Reference: Employment Non-Discrimination Act; Bill S. 2056 ; vote number 1996-281 on Sep 10, 1996

Voted YES on Amendment to prohibit flag burning.

Approval of a constitutional amendment which would prohibit desecration or burning of the U.S. flag.
Status: Joint Res. Defeated Y)63; N)36
Reference: Flag Desecration Bill; Bill S. J. Res. 31 ; vote number 1995-600 on Dec 12, 1995

Voted NO on banning affirmative action hiring with federal funds.

Vote to disallow any funds in the Legislative Appropriations bill from being used to award, require, or encourage any Federal contract, if the contract is being awarded on the basis of the race, color, national origin, or gender of the contractor.
Reference: Bill HR 1854 ; vote number 1995-317 on Jul 20, 1995

Other candidates on Civil Rights: Fred Thompson on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010