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GAY RIGHTS

Candidate offered a mixed message

WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers went on record favoring equal civil rights for gays when she ran for the Dallas City Council, and she said the city had a responsibility to pay for AIDS education and patient services.

But Miers opposed repeal of the Texas sodomy statute -- a law overturned in 2003 by the court on which she will sit if confirmed -- in a survey she filled out for a gay rights group during her successful 1989 campaign.

The survey by the Lesbian/Gay Coalition of Dallas provides a hint of Miers's thinking on homosexual rights issues that could come before the court. Although she came to a coalition meeting to answer questions during the campaign, she said at the time that she was not seeking its endorsement.

The Supreme Court struck down the prohibition on consensual homosexual sex on a 6-to-3 vote. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whom Miers is nominated to replace, voted with the majority.

Miers answered ''Yes" to the survey question ''Do you believe that gay men and lesbians should have the same civil rights as nongay men and women?"

She answered ''No" when asked whether she believed, both as a citizen and a legislator, that criminalization of the private sexual behavior of consenting adult lesbians and gays should be taken out of the Texas criminal code.

She said Dallas had a responsibility in AIDS education and treatment and that she favored more money being spent in that area ''assuming need and resources."

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