The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan is reporting that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), a former client of the DC Madam, “is the only Senator opposing the removal of the HIV travel and immigration ban” from the Senate version of a bill extending PEPFAR, the international health initiative dedicated to combating HIV/AIDS around the world. On Wednesday, in an editorial in the Washington times, Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) penned an editorial underlining the importance of lifting the travel restriction:
Today, HIV is the only medical condition that renders people inadmissible to the United States. In fact, we are just one of 12 countries that prohibit, almost without exception, HIV-positive non-citizens from entering the country (China has recently overturned its ban). This policy places the United States in the same company as Sudan, Russia, Libya and Saudi Arabia.
Vitter is happy to keep such company. In fact, the Senator, who himself engaged in behavior that could have placed him and his wife in danger of contracting HIV, has promoted policies that increase the likelihood that people will become infected with HIV:
– Voted in support of the “prostitution pledge” in PEPFAR which creates obstacles to reaching and serving sex workers.
– Attempted to amend PEPFAR “to reinsert the 33 percent abstinence-only earmark.”
Vitter has a long history of promoting failed abstinence-only policies and supporting legislation that undermines people’s sexual health and equal rights. Recently, Vitter, along with fellow disgraced Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), signed up to co-sponsor S.J. Res. 43, the Marriage Protection Amendment. If passed, the bill would amend the Constitution to declare that marriage “shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.”