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FEINGOLD: "Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Ashcroft, I believe Senator Leahy touched on this a few minutes ago, but I know that you have strongly held views on gays and homosexuality. You and I have had discussions about this, and in a 1998 appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," you said, "I believe the Bible calls it a sin, and that's what defines sin for me."
Now, following on Senator Leahy's question, one of the great successes of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s was the enactment of federal law prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of race, national origin, religion or gender. And in 1996, Attorney General Reno implemented a policy at the Justice Department that prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of the employee's sexual orientation, as well as race, gender, religion and disability.
If confirmed as attorney general, would you continue and enforce this policy of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation?
ASHCROFT: As attorney general, I will not make sexual orientation a matter to be considered in hiring or firing, for that matter.
FEINGOLD: So you will continue that policy?
ASHCROFT: Yes, I will. I, as state auditor of Missouri, did not, as attorney general of Missouri, did not. I did not as governor of Missouri, nor did I as a member of the Senate. I would continue the policy, executive order or not.
FEINGOLD: Thank you, Senator.
Will you permit DOJ Pride, a voluntary organization of gay, lesbian and bisexual DOJ employees, to continue to use Justice Department facilities on the same basis as other voluntary employee groups or other minority Justice Department employees?
ASHCROFT: It would be my intention not to discriminate against any group that appropriately constituted in the Department of Justice.
FEINGOLD: Thank you.
Attorney General Reno clarified that sexual orientation should not be a factor for FBI security clearances. As attorney general would you continue and enforce this policy?
ASHCROFT: I have not had a chance to review the basis for the FBI standard and I am not familiar with it. I would evaluate it based upon conferring with the officials in the bureau.
FEINGOLD: Respect that and hope it will be--conclusion will be consistent with your earlier answers.
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