Despite being a Republican, he was pro-gay rights, including the right of non-heterosexual people to marry.
As this is the Blend, you know I’ll include a relevant gay rights angle to the story. The former president was a member of the Republican Unity Coalition (RUC), a gay-straight board of heavy hitters, including former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, which advocates “making homosexuality a ‘non-issue’ for the Republican Party.” (An FYI: Mary Cheney, of all people, served on RUC’s board in 2002-2003). Clearly there are very few Gerald Fords in either party today.
In Gerald Ford’s case, in October 2001 he notably went on the record in support of gay rights issues, including full marriage equality at the federal level, in an interview with Deb Price of the Detroit News. (PNO):
“I think they (same-sex couples) should be treated equally. Period,” he said. In addition, he stated support for a federal law banning workplace discrimination against gays: “That is a step in the right direction. I have a longstanding record in favor of legislation to do away with discrimination.”
Ford was the highest ranking Republican ever to make such a statement about civil equality, and it earned him the wrath of the homobigots like James Hartline, who said that Ford and his fellow members of the RUC would “turn the party into pacifists when it comes to dealing with the gay agenda,” and “these are liberal Republicans who are not strong advocates of Christian conservatism.” The San Diego “Christian” activist and “former homosexual,” as usual, went off the deep end in 2005, alleging that RUC was some sort of gay cabal.
Why can’t we hear such unequivocal support from either major political party today? I mean, I understand that the Republicans have been taken over by fundy whack-jobs, but even the Democrats won’t reach down and grab their cojones and stand up for what’s right.
I believe we’ve just lost a member of that all-to-rare species politicus vertebratum (politician with a spine), and I’m rather shocked that I’m saying such a thing about a Republican.