President Bush Speaks Out Against HIV/AIDS Discrimination in the Workplace (March 29, 1990)
On March 29, 1990 President George H. W. Bush addressed the National Leadership Coalition on AIDS and advised businesses not to discriminate against employees with HIV/AIDS. (However, he never mentioned the word "homosexuals".) To drive home this message he threw his support behind passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. ADA was signed into law four months later (pictured) and took effect in 1992. Specifically, here is what the president said that morning about AIDS discrimination:
"Today I call on the House of Representatives to get on with the job of passing a law, as embodied in the Americans With Disability Act, that prohibits discrimination against those with HIV and AIDS. We're in a fight against a disease, not a fight against people. And we will not, and must not, in America tolerate discrimination."
Of course, in the eyes of the burgeoning community of AIDS activists the federal government's response was due to its realization that AIDS was also aflicting the general public (personfied by high school student Ryan White who died a few weeks after Bush's address) - and not because it cared for the plight of AIDS sufferers who were gay or minoirty intravenous drug users.