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Public Education Campaign to Build Support for Marriage Equality Launches in Indiana

A public education campaign designed to build support for marriage equality in Indiana has launched today, JConline reports:

HUMThis spring, other campaigns worked in the state legislature to block the constitutional amendment, called HJR-3, but Hoosiers Unite is focusing on public education against Indiana's existing law banning same-sex marriages, Kyle Megrath, the group's marriage coordinator, said.

"We're a public education campaign, so we are geared toward making sure we are highlighting the stories of people," he said. "We feel like we're at a really critical mass locally and nationally with everything that happened with HJR-3. People are having these conversations." […]

Campaign organizers will also ask people to endorse the group. The effort will focus on prominent community members and "folks that might be more unlikely to do that, like Republicans and Libertarians," Megrath said.

Perhaps getting on-the-grounds conservatives to join the cause will be slightly easier now that the state GOP voted to re-insert divisive anti-gay language into its party platform…


The Indiana GOP Platform is (Once Again) Anti-Gay Marriage

Delegates at the Indiana Republican Party Convention in Fort Wayne over the weekend overwhelmingly approved a party platform opposing gay marriage – a mere two years after the state GOP chose to (temporarily) remove the anti-gay language in an attempt to appeal to more moderate voters.

Indiana-GOPThe party platform now states:

We believe that strong families, based on marriage between a man and a woman, are the foundation of society. We also recognize that some families are much more diverse and we support the blended families, grandparents, guardians and loving adults who successfully raise and nurture children to reach their full potential every day.

The AP added that a minority of delegates, mostly from Marion County, fought unsuccessfully to remove the language over concerns that it would limit the party's ability to attract new voters. Supporters, however, saw the language as a compromise. 


Indiana GOP Debating Whether to Bring Back Party Platform Supporting ‘Traditional’ Marriage

Jim boppWell that didn’t last long…

Just two years after Indiana Republicans chose to dial back opposition to same-sex marriage in the party’s platform, state GOP delegates are already considering a reinsertion of the anti-gay plank.

Lafayette Journal & Courier reports:

Jim Bopp [pictured], Terre Haute attorney and a state GOP delegate, said Tuesday he successfully introduced an amendment that says: "We believe that strong families, based on marriage between a man and a woman, are the foundation of society."

While language also was added to recognize "diverse" family structures, some GOP delegates are offended by the traditional marriage language and say they'd rather the platform be silent on this issue that divides them.

"This is bad for the Republican Party," said Megan Robertson [pictured below], a state GOP delegate who directed the Freedom Indiana coalition that worked against the proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the last legislative session.

"We all don't think one way on this, so my stance is we shouldn't put anything in there," she said. "It's (the platform) not supposed to be on issues that divide people but on those that everyone can agree."

The added "diverse" language that vaguely alludes to gay couples states:

Megan robertsonWe also recognize that some families are much more diverse and we commend the many traditional families, blended families, grandparents, guardians, and loving adults who successfully raise and nurture children to reach their full potential every day.

Robertson recognized the additional language as a “nod” to gay couples and other non-traditional families, but worries that social conservatives will also try to eliminate the inclusive language.

"What's the most disappointing thing is there are so many Republican leaders who say behind closed doors that they want this discussion to be over, but they aren't willing to stand up to people like Jim Bopp and Micah Clark (president of American Family Association of Indiana)," said Robertson.

The entire platform will be voted on at the party's state convention on June 6 and 7 in Fort Wayne. 


Friday Speed Read: Darrin Gayles, Indiana Marriage, Mike Michaud, Clay Aiken

GaylesNOMINEE ADVANCES OUT OF COMMITTEE:

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, by voice vote, recommended the confirmation of openly gay federal district court nominee Darrin Gayles. A vote on the nomination had been scheduled for last week, but Republicans on the committee held over the vote on Gayles’ nomination and that of three others to the district court in southern Florida. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) noted Thursday that both senators from Florida have given their consent to advancing all four nominees. The nomination of a previous openly gay African American man to the federal bench in Miami was killed when Senator Marco Rubio raised objections. If cleared by the full Senate, Gayles will be the first openly gay African American male to be confirmed to a federal bench seat.

INDIANA PRELIMINARY VICTORY: Sandler

A federal district court judge ruled Thursday that Indiana’s ban on recognizing same-sex marriages harms a same-sex couple “in numerous tangible and intangible ways.” In doing so, Judge Richard Young ordered the state to recognize the marriage license obtained out of state by Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler to protect Sandler’s rights to care Quasney, who is near death from ovarian cancer. The order also requires Indiana, upon Quasney’s death, to list Sandler as her spouse on the death certificate. Young ruled that he doubts Indiana’s ban “will suffer a different fate than those around the country,” where other federal district courts have consistently found them unconstitutional. Last month, Judge Young granted a temporary restraining order requiring Indiana to recognize the Quasney-Sandler marriage license obtained in Massachusetts. Lambda Legal brought the case, Baskin v. Bogan, on behalf of several couples and the court must still consider the merits of the overall challenge to the state’s ban. Lambda staff attorney Paul Castillo, said that, “while this family is experiencing urgent, life-threatening medical circumstances, they’re just one of the thousands of same-sex couples in Indiana enduring real financial and dignitary harm due to the State’s discriminatory marriage ban. Our work in Indiana is not done.  All same-sex couples in Indiana need the security only marriage provides.”

DEM POLL SHOWS MICHAUD BACK IN LEAD: Michaud

Democracy for America, a group founded by former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, announced Thursday that its poll of 754 Maine voters finds openly gay U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud four points ahead of incumbent Republican Governor Paul LePage. Asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, 43 percent said Michaud, 39 percent said LePage, 15 percent said independent candidate Eliot Cutler, and three percent were undecided. Michaud and LePage have been running very close in polls in the past month. A Republican-leaning polling firm, Rasmussen Reports, called the race a tie based on data it gathered between April 23 and 25 from 830 “likely voters.” A Huffington Post analysis of 10 polls (but not the Democracy for America data) estimated Michaud at 40.6 percent, LePage at 37.9 percent, Cutler at 15.9 percent.

C_aikenAIKEN MAY FACE RUN-OFF:

There are 276 uncounted ballots in openly gay U.S. House candidate Clay Aiken’s Democratic primary race against two competitors in North Carolina’s Congressional District 2. That doesn’t give second-place candidate Keith Crisco a chance to catch up to Aiken, who has a 369-vote lead. But it could give him enough to drop Aiken’s vote tally below the 40 percent margin needed to avoid a run-off. And the Raleigh News-Observer reported Thursday that business Keith Crisco has not conceded the race and that, if a run-off is necessary, it will take place in July.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Social Conservatives Defeat Republicans Who Voted Against Gay Marriage Ban in Indiana

Back in January, you may recall a struggle in the Indiana legislature over an amendment that would ban gay marriage in the state. The measure was shelved for all practical purposes after an amendment was added that prevented it from going to the ballot this year.

HeuerTwo Indiana House Republicans lost races last night because of their opposition to the ban, the Indy Star reports:

Two Republican House members — Kathy Heuer (pictured), Columbia City, and Rebecca Kubacki, Syracuse — were defeated by wide margins by Christopher Judy and Curt Nisly, respectively. The incumbents were targeted by social conservative groups after voting against a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

At the same time, conservative groups helped Rep. Eric Turner, the marriage amendment's author, turn back a primary challenge amid an ethics controversy. The Cicero Republican defeated political newcomer Parvin Gillim, an opponent of the gay marriage ban and former president of the Sheridan Chamber of Commerce.

"The overall message is that if you oppose marriage in Indiana, you take huge political risks," said Curt Smith, president of Indiana Family Action. "If you want to thumb your nose at the pro-family groups, you do so at your own risk."


Monday Speed Read: Mary Yu, Gene Robinson, Indiana, Wisconsin, HUD Discrimination, Akie Abe, Russia

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

LESBIAN TO WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT: Yu

Washington State’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee appointed openly lesbian Judge Mary Yu to the state supreme court May 1. In making the announcement, Inslee noted that Yu, 56, a native of Chicago, becomes the first openly gay, the first Asian-American, and the first Latina on the state supreme court. She will be sworn in next month and must run for election this fall in order to serve out the two years remaining in the six-year term of the retiring justice she is replacing. Yu has been reelected four times for her current seat on the King County Superior Court.

RobinsonGAY BISHOP ANNOUNCES DIVORCE:

The Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, announced in an email to his diocese and a column in the DailyBeast.com Sunday that he and his husband, whose civil union automatically became marriage under New Hampshire law in 2010, are divorcing. Robinson offered no details for why the couple is splitting after 25 years together, except to say “gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples.” The Episcopal denomination’s General Convention affirmed Robinson’s election as bishop in 2003.

INDIANA DECISION COMING ‘SOON’:

A federal judge in Indiana heard oral arguments for two hours May 2 in Baskin v. Bogan, a case brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of three lesbian couples in Evansville. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard Young (a Clinton appointee) said he would rule soon on a motion for summary judgment in the case, reports the Indianapolis Star, but both sides intend to appeal if they lose at this level. Such an appeal will be the first marriage ban lawsuit to reach the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The Baskin case is one of five currently pending in federal court in Indiana.

ON WISCONSIN, ON WISCONSIN: Crabb

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb (a Carter appointee) last week denied Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s request to dismiss an ACLU-led lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on marriage licenses. The lawsuit, Wolf v. Walker, also challenges the state’s ban on civil unions and its prohibition against same-sex couples obtaining marriage licenses from other states.

COMMENT ON HOUSING SEARCH:

The Federal Register today announces the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is extending by another 30 days its public comment period on housing discrimination against LGBT people. The notice, originally published in January, says HUD is preparing to do focus group studies and is “interested in the manner in which people identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or transgender when searching for rental housing.”

JAPAN’S FIRST LADY JOINS PRIDE EVENT:

First Lady Akie Abe, wife of conservative Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, participated in the annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade April 27, according to Japan Daily Press. At a speech before the UNAIDS-Lancet Commission in London last February, the First Lady said, “I have made up my mind that throughout the rest of my life, I should work as a self- appointed, public amplifier, amplifying the voice of the voiceless, and the cause that in our life time we must work to end AIDS.”

RUSSIAN LGBT MARCH ALLOWED:

Russian authorities took no action May 1 to stop a contingent of 300 people marching behind a rainbow banner that said “Love is Stronger than Hate.” A report in GayStarNews.com said the march took place in St. Petersburg during a May Day parade in which many groups participated. Laws passed by Russia last year prohibit any public expression of support for LGBT people and authorities stopped similar demonstrations previously.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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