“I have always believed in an inclusive policy, in welcoming gays and others into the party,” Ford said. “I think the party has to have an umbrella philosophy if it expects to win elections.”
When asked by Price if gay couples should receive the same economic benefits as married couples, such as Social Security and tax deductions, Ford said, “I don’t see why they shouldn’t. I think that’s a proper goal…I think they ought to be treated equally. Period.”
Ford’s gay-supportive comments in the Price interview prompted the Republican Unity Coalition, a gay-straight alliance that advocated support for gay issues within the Republican Party, to invite Ford to join its advisory board.
To the amazement and delight of the group’s executive director, Charles Francis, Ford accepted the invitation, becoming the first past or current U.S. president to join the ranks of a gay rights advocacy organization.
Francis credited former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), who served as the RUC’s honorary chair, with approaching Ford to join the group.
In a March 2003 letter to Francis, Ford expressed support for the then pending lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court, known as Lawrence v. Texas, which sought to overturn the nation’s sodomy laws.
“I sincerely hope that you prevail in the case of Lawrence v. Texas,” Fold told Francis.
Ford later expressed support for legislation to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace.
It is a little-known fact that Oliver Sipple, a gay man, may have saved Ford's life in 1975 when he grabbed the arm of Sara Jane Moore and wrestled her to the ground as she fired a gun at Ford as he was leaving a hotel in San Francisco. One of the bullets fired from Moore's gun missed Ford's head by a few feet. Moore was one of two women who attempted to assassinate Ford while he was president. The two assassination attempts always struck me as rather odd because women have so rarely in history assassinated political leaders.