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Friday, May 04, 2007
Thompson fought to have 'anti-gay' language removed from GOP platform in 2000

Thompson apologized Friday for his comments about gay discrimination at the GOP presidential debate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson is taking heat for saying at Thursday night's GOP presidential debate that private employers should be allowed to fire employees because they are gay.

But Thompon's comments contradict his record as head of the GOP party platform committee in 2000 when he, according to several reports including this one, helped fight to remove language he deemed anti-gay.

The language at issue appeared in the civil rights section of the platform and said, "We reject the distortion of those laws that cover sexual preference."

Then Gov. Tommy Thompson called the language "vitriolic rhetoric that has plagued us in the past," and, according to one gay delegate, "made it a point to strike this anti-gay language from the draft platform."

Ultimately, the full platform rejected the proposal to strike the crux of the language, changing the phrase to read, "We do not believe sexual preference should be given special legal protection or standing in law."

In an interview on CNN's American Morning Friday, Thompson said he "misinterpreted the question" at Thursday night's debate and that gay discrimination has "never been my position."

-- CNN's Sasha Johnson and Alexander Mooney

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