DEARBORN, Mich. — Emphasizing his support of gay rights, Bill Bradley said if he becomes the Democratic presidential nominee he will make supporting an anti-hate crime bill a key campaign issue.
Speaking during the Human Rights Campaign's anniversary dinner Saturday night, Bradley said he "would be breaking faith with himself" if he didn't.
Bradley said people must begin to pay attention to what is happening around them. He cited the shootings at a Jewish day-care center in Granada Hills, the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. in Texas by white supremacists and the beating death of a gay University of Wyoming student.
"We have to oppose any manifestations of hatred with undiminished fervor whenever and wherever it occurs," he said to members of the Washington-based lesbian and gay political organization.
The former New Jersey senator and professional basketball player also said that benefits given to others also must be given to gays.
Bradley said that using the word marriage for same-sex unions between gay couples would be a mistake that would keep it from being approved by states.
"I will not call gay union marriage, but I will respect them and I will work to see that same-sex couples receive the property, insurance, immigration, tax and rights enjoyed by various others," he said.
Meanwhile in Wyoming, presidential contenders' demands for drastic tax reform drew applause and cheers during the Western States Republican Leadership Conference on Saturday.
Although all the Republican presidential hopefuls were invited, only three--Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Steve Forbes and Alan Keyes--attended the conference at Jackson Lake Lodge.