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Dick Gephardt on Civil Rights

Former Democratic Representative (MO-3); Former Democratic Candidate for President


Voted for USA Patriot Act, but it's not balanced now

Q: What's your position on the USA Patriot Act?

A: I voted for it, but I do believe that this Attorney General, John Ashcroft, is not administering it in a balanced way. I support some of the changes in the act that have been proposed by various members of Congress. I believe these changes may be helpful.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 3, 2003

Democrats need to earn the vote of African-Americans

Q: Within 50 years America will be a majority of people of color. How will this affect your campaign? How will this affect American democracy? Will you consider choosing a running mate of color?

GEPHARDT: We have to look at every possible person to win this election. I will look at everybody. I'll look at women, I'll look at minorities, I'll look at everybody. We need to beat George Bush.

Bill Clay wrote a book called "Permanent Interest." He said African-Americans don't have permanent friends, they just have permanent interest. I think he's right. This party has to earn the vote of African-Americans. This party can't assume anything. We've got to bring ideas and programs for civil rights, for equal rights, for economic rights, for health care rights -- that's the way we're going to win the election, and that's the way we keep faith with the African-American community in this country.

Source: Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate Sep 9, 2003

We're all in it together

Q: What do you say to Americans about the contributions of Hispanics to this country?

GEPHARDT: This country is a melting pot. It's a fabric. I often quote Martin Luther King, and I say that we're all tied together. I say we are one people. The Hispanic population in this country has defended us. Many, many Hispanic citizens have died in our military without even being citizens of the US. They've won the Congressional Medal of Honor. They work hard. Their families make an enormous contribution to this country.

We're all immigrants unless we're Native Americans. And I'll say it again: We're all tied together. That's my philosophy that I'll bring to the presidency. Martin Luther King said, "I can't be what I ought to be until you can be what you ought to be." That's what I really believe. And when I'm president, we'll have policies that'll make that come true.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Strike a balance between liberty and security

Q: Would you revise or repeal the Patriot Act?

A: Even since 9/11, we have found that it is important to strike a balance between liberty and security. The problem is that John Ashcroft, alone, is making decisions about what the law means, and ignoring civil liberties. Bush has put no check on Ashcroft's power. I oppose Patriot II. Bush needs to show a commitment to striking that balance, rather than over-reaching. We must find a way to protect our people while protecting our freedoms.

Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003

Christian Coalition’s intolerance has no place in politics

There is nothing wrong with heartfelt beliefs in politics or with moral values derived from one’s religion. Many of my political positions grow, ultimately, from my religious convictions. Indeed, there’s a long-standing & honorable American tradition of religious involvement in political movements, from the abolition of slavery to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s.

The problem comes when a group decides that its beliefs are so clearly correct that no disagreement can be tolerated. It’s a short step from intolerance for another’s political views to personal dislike for the person and, ultimately, to bigotry & hatred.

[Groups like the Christian Coalition exemplify intolerance in] political statements about controversial issues like abortion, homosexuality, and school vouchers [when they] identify the Christian Coalition position on those issues as the only “acceptable” position. We should condemn the politicization of their efforts without condemning their basic values and beliefs.

Source: An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p.210-12 Jul 2, 1999

Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Marriage Protection Amendment - Declares that marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Prohibits the Constitution or any State constitution from being construed to require that marital status or its legal incidents be conferred upon any union other than that of a man and a woman.
Reference: Constitutional Amendment sponsored by Rep Musgrave [R, CO-4]; Bill H.J.RES.106 ; vote number 2004-484 on Sep 30, 2004

Voted NO on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pledge Protection Act: Amends the Federal judicial code to deny jurisdiction to any Federal court, and appellate jurisdiction to the Supreme Court, to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance or its validity under the Constitution.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Rep Todd Akin [R, MO-2]; Bill H.R.2028 ; vote number 2004-467 on Sep 23, 2004

Voted NO on banning gay adoptions in DC.

Vote on an amendment banning adoptions in District of Columbia by gays or other individuals who are not related by blood or marriage.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Largent, R-OK; Bill HR 2587 ; vote number 1999-346 on Jul 29, 1999

Voted YES on Amendment to prohibit burning the US flag.

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States authorizing the Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.
Reference: Resolution proposed by Cunningham, R-CA; Bill HJ.Res.33 ; vote number 1999-252 on Jun 24, 1999

Voted NO on ending preferential treatment by race in college admissions.

HR 6, the Higher Education Amendments Act of 1997, would prohibit any post-secondary institution that participates in any program under the Higher Education Act from discriminating or granting any preferential treatment in admission based on race, sex, ethnicity, color or national origin.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Riggs, R-CA.; Bill HR 6 ; vote number 1998-133 on May 6, 1998

Constitutional Amendment for equal rights by gender.

Gephardt sponsored a Constitutional Amendment:

Title: Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to equal rights for men and women. Summary: States that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HJR40 on Mar 22, 2001

Rated 71% by the ACLU, indicating a pro-civil rights voting record.

Gephardt scores 71% by the ACLU on civil rights issues

We work also to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including Native Americans and other people of color; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgendered people; women; mental-health patients; prisoners; people with disabilities; and the poor. If the rights of society’s most vulnerable members are denied, everybody’s rights are imperiled.

Our ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: ACLU website 02n-ACLU on Dec 31, 2002

Other candidates on Civil Rights: Dick Gephardt on other issues:
MO Gubernatorial:
Bob Holden
Matt Blunt
MO Senatorial:
Jean Carnahan
Jim Talent
John Ashcroft
Kit Bond
Mel Carnahan
Nancy Farmer

Presidential:
George W. Bush (GOP)
V.P.Dick Cheney (GOP-V.P.)
Sen.John Kerry (Dem.)
Sen.John Edwards (Dem.V.P.)
Ralph Nader (Reform)
Peter Camejo (Reform V.P.)
David Cobb (Green)
Michael Badnarik (Libertarian)
Michael Peroutka (Constitution)
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Health Care
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