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December 13, 2000
Michael Romanello, Executive Director

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA -- The message below was sent today to the NationalGayLobby.Org (NGL) national membership and others. Although written as a personal message from NGL Executive Director Michael Romanello, the message contents reflect the views of the NGL board of directors.


Dear Friends and Fellow NGL Members:

I am writing to you at this sad moment in our nation's history to explain why George W. Bush will never be my president and shouldn't be yours.

So far during my life, I have been eligible to vote in nine U.S. presidential elections spanning slightly more than three decades. Each time, I took advantage the opportunity afforded me to express my opinion by casting my vote for the candidate who I thought was best able to lead our country at that time. Five times my choice was a Democrat. Four times I voted for a Republican. Regardless of my personal preference, however, on eight occasions when the votes were counted and the winning candidate sworn in, I did my best to think of and support our new president not as a Republican or a Democrat, but as President of the United States of America.

This time I cannot do that.

I cannot and will not recognize or support George W. Bush as the legitimate president of the United States. I will not do so because I suspect that in an effort to ensure a Bush presidency, the candidate, and/or others on his behalf, participated in a successful conspiracy to illegally influence the outcome of the 2000 presidential election by depriving Americans of their right to vote, or to have their vote counted.

My concerns are based on the following: the position held by George W. Bush's brother, Governor Jeb Bush, as chief executive, chief election officer, and leader of the Republican Party in the State of Florida; proven irregularities in the issuance of absentee ballots to Republican residents of the State of Florida; proven mechanical errors -- in advertent or intentional -- in the operation of voting machinery in Florida counties with a large Democratic Party voter registration; substantiated reports of missing and uncounted ballots; widespread and currently under federal investigation allegations of traditionally Democratic voters (African-American voters) being turned away from polling places in rural Florida panhandle counties; and other widespread and questionable voting practices in the State of Florida during the 2000 presidential election.

As long as these concern remain, any oath by George W. Bush to as president "protect and defend the Constitution" would be, in my opinion, obscene, meaningless and perhaps even traitorous.

There is, however, little doubt but that George W. Bush will be sworn in as president. He will be.

The important issue now is not whether George W. Bush or Al Gore, or a Republican or a Democrat, becomes our next president. For the first time in our nation's history that I am aware of, not only the outcome, the basic honesty of a presidential election is in question. This is the issue upon which our collective attention should be riveted. The important questions now are how will Americans deal with an individual whose right to assume the presidency is shadowed with even a hint of doubt, and what will we do to ensure that such a situation never happens again.

We are beginning to hear a lot from partisan political leaders, particularly Republican leaders, and from political pundits and the national media, that it is time for the nation to put the presidential election behind us, and "come together." Doing so would certainly be the nice thing, the "American" thing to do. I'm afraid, though, that affording an individual whose election is clouded with even a shadow of doubt the respect and dignity due the holder of the highest office in the land would set a very frightening precedent -- one of, go ahead, do whatever you must to get yourself elected; no one really cares, so there will be no price to pay.

Well, I care, and so should you.

State courts may rule on points of state law and the U.S. Supreme Court may hand down decisions on the constitutional validity of laws and court actions, but in the end it is the American people who will decide if George W. Bush is our president. As long as he isn't yours or mine, he will never be ours. And, if we are steadfast in our resolve to deny this pretender all but the outward trappings of the presidency, neither will anyone who in the future, through his or her actions or as a result of actions undertaken on his or her behalf, places the legitimacy of their election in doubt.

Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, at noon on January 20, 2001 and until the lawful election of or the appointment of a constitutionally identified successor to William Jefferson Clinton, the office of President of the United States of America will for the first time in history become vacant.

I urge you to adopt a similar position, and to inform your family, friends, associates and elected representatives of your decision.

Best regards,
Michael Romanello

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