Fra ‘The Advocate’:
Last fall Donald Trump shook up the political world by announcing he was joining the Reform Party, a major step in exploring a run for president.
Recently I put a wide-ranging set of questions to Trump concerning gay issues, to which Trump responded in writing. His answers might surprise some pundits, both for their thoroughness and for their bluntness.
Why should gays and lesbians be interested in you as a presidential candidate?
I grew up in New York City, a town with different races, religions, and peoples. It breeds tolerance. In all truth, I don’t care whether or not a person is gay. I judge people based on their capability, honesty, and merit. Being in the entertainment business — that is, owning casinos and … several large beauty pageants — I’ve worked with many gay people. I have met some tough, talented, capable, terrific people. Their lifestyle is of no interest to me.
Would we see gay people in a Trump administration?
I would want the best and brightest. Sexual orientation would be meaningless. I’m looking for brains and experience. If the best person for the job happens to be gay, I would certainly appoint them. One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace, good people don’t go into government. I’d want to change that.
What would you do to combat antigay prejudice?
I like the idea of amending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include a ban of discrimination based on sexual orientation. It would be simple. It would be straightforward. We don’t need to rewrite the laws currently on the books, although I do think we need to address hate-crimes legislation.
What are your thoughts on gay marriage?
I think the institution of marriage should be between a man and a woman. I do favor a very strong domestic-partnership law that guarantees gay people the same legal protections and rights as married people.
Does that mean you’d support hate-crimes legislation?
Absolutely. This is one of my great disappointments with George W. Bush. He had the opportunity in Texas to show national leadership by passing a hate-crimes bill but didn’t — presumably from pressure form the Christian right. When somebody is victimized because of their ethnicity, the color of their skin, or their sexual orientation, that must carry a harsh penalty.
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