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GOP Urged by Strategists to Drop Opposition to Gay Marriage

As the 2014 mid-term elections approach (ahead of the almighty 2016 presidential elections), more and more stories have emerged about Republican attempts to change their party’s stance against gay marriage.

The most recent one from The Hill notes that despite the national platform’s support of “‘traditional marriage’ between a man and a woman” and the “majority of Republicans in Congress [who] remain opposed to same-sex marriage,” there are “now eight Republicans in Congress who support same-sex marriage, split evenly between the House and Senate.”

LehmanThe article also mentions Kathryn Lehman (pictured), “a top GOP lobbyist and partner at Holland & Knight” who helped draft the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” that once served as a major impediment to nationwide marriage equality. Now working with the group Freedom to Marry, she regularly visits the offices of 40 to 50 congressional Republicans in an attempt to change their views on marriage equality.

Carl Thorsen — another GOP strategist working the Human Rights Campaign (pictured below) — encourages Republicans who might want to publicly announce their support for marriage equality by offering advice on how others have done it.

“These are human beings who view these issues on a deeply personal level,” Thorsen told The Hill, “but at the same time, they’re elected officials, and articulating those views may be — understandably — complicated by their political situation.”

CarlthorsenThe political situation includes the fact that most of  Republican party state platforms still oppose same-sex marriage and only 30 percent of Republican voters support same-sex marriage.

The article continues:

Organizations like Log Cabin Republicans and Project Right Side are also pushing Republicans by providing data about changes in public opinion and, like lobbyists, offering lawmakers and their offices a “safe space” to talk about the challenges facing LGBT individuals.

With an increasing number of national polls and court victories in favor of marriage equality, even Gregory Angelo — the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans — has said that many of “the most rock-ribbed social conservatives in Washington… see the writing on the wall, they see the direction the country is headed,” and the political peril that will accompany an entrenched opposition to marriage rights.

Ken Mehlman — the infamous Republican National Committee chairperson turned pro-marriage supporter who orchestrated George W. Bush’s intensely homophobic 2004 re-election campaign — said, “As conservatives, we don’t have to ignore… a strong conservative argument for safe schools, for civil marriage, merit-based decisions at work.”

Nevertheless, a majority of Republicans continue to oppose employment non-discrimination legislations unless they allow religious exemptions allowing Christianist companies to continue firing LGBT people.


Texan GOP Chairman Against Gay Reparative Therapy

Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri has come out condemning 'ex-gay 'therapy’s inclusion as a line item in The Republican Party of Texas’s 2014 platform. Munisteri says he’s not alone.

Munisteri“The Texas Republican Party has millions of people who vote for it and every individual Republican has their own views on issues,” The Chairman said this week.

Munisteri made headlines earlier this year after openly barring the Log Cabin Republicans of Texas from formal participation in the Texas State Republican Convention citing a difference in opinion on gay marriage.

LGBT reparative therapy, anti-vaccination, withdrawal from the UN, and reparations are but a few of the issues highlighted in the Texas GOP Platform that Munisteri says aren’t reflective of the state’s actual delegation. Rather, a platform committee is selected from members of the 31 state senatorial districts and charged with crafting the platform on its own.

“It’s false to represent that each one of those platform planks necessarily represents the view of the majority view of either the majority of the delegates let alone a majority of Republicans,” Munisteri said of the platform. 


Texas GOP Blocks Gay Republican Group from State Convention

Log Cabin Republicans announced yesterday that they have been denied formal participation at the Texas State Republican Convention.

Gop_texasWrote the group in a press release:

“Overall, Log Cabin Republicans of Texas has found incredible support within the Republican party — Texans, like the rest of the country, are evolving on LGBT rights issues,” said Log Cabin Republicans of Texas Chairman Jeffrey Davis. “The Republican Party of Texas has even welcomed many of our members as delegates to the Texas State Republican Convention. However, the party has denied our several attempts to host a booth in the convention exhibit hall, citing archaic language in the party platform to support their actions. We deserve to occupy a booth just like anyone else, and it’s time that the Texas GOP’s hypocritical policies and procedures are replaced by new ones that match the general opinion of Texan Republican voters.”

MunisteriTexas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri (right) told TPM that the group was denied not because they are gay but because "of the association with the promotion for gay marriage" which is not in the party's platform.

The party's platform on homosexuality reads:

We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, in public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.


Tuesday Speed Read: Jared Polis, Annise Parker, South Dakota, Robert Gates, Boy Scouts, Nevada, Kentucky

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

PolisLOG CABIN ADS ATTACK JARED POLIS:

The national gay Republican group Log Cabin Republicans has aired three “attack ads” against openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. According to a report in the Denver Post, the latest ad mocks Polis’ personal wealth to say he’s out of touch with the average Coloradoan when he opposes natural gas development in the state, thus denying thousands of jobs and affordable heating. In retort, Polis teased the group about the perception that it has relatively few members to support such attack ads: “Oh, did all three of them chip in?”

ORDINANCE FOES THREATEN RECALL:

Opponents of a proposed non-discrimination ordinance in Houston have threatened to organize a recall election against Mayor Annise Parker and other supporters of the bill. They have also threatened a referendum on the measure should it pass Wednesday, reports KHOU-TV.

SouthdakotaSOUTH DAKOTA GETS LAWSUIT:

Six same-sex couples in South Dakota filed a lawsuit in federal court in Sioux Falls, reducing to just one (North Dakota) the number of states which still have bans on same-sex couples marrying but no lawsuit challenging that ban. The South Dakota lawsuit is Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard.

NINTH CIRCUIT MOVES ON NEVADA CASE:

In an order issued May 23, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals announced it would hold oral arguments in September for Sevcik v. Sandoval, a Lambda Legal case challenging Nevada’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. The Ninth Circuit will also hear Latta v. Otter, concerning Idaho’s ban, the week of September 8.

GatesAVOIDING BOY SCOUT FRACTURE:

Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates was installed as president of the national Boy Scouts of America organization May 22 and, in an interview the next day with Associated Press, said he would have gone further than the BSA did last fall when it voted to end its policy of barring gay scouts. “"I would have supported having gay Scoutmasters,” said Gates. But Gates said he would not re-open the question with the membership at this time because he believes it would “irreparably fracture” the organization.

McconnellMcCONNELL OPPONENT WALKING A LINE:

In last Tuesday’s primaries, Democrats in Kentucky chose business attorney Alison Lundergan Grimes to go up against Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell in November. McConnell has a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign on LGBT issues. When asked point blank by a group of Kentucky farmers whether she supports same-sex marriage, Grimes clearly tried to find position somewhere between being “for” or “against” them. According to the Herald-Leader, Grimes said: “I want to be honest  … my husband and I have been married seven years, and the Supreme Court has already determined in my view and decided this issue, and … I think that if I’ve been committed then others should be able to have that same commitment. But the Supreme Court --they’ve already ruled on this, it’s a state sovereign issue, and here in the state of Kentucky we already have a constitutional amendment.”

MICHELLE NUNN WALKING THE SAME LINE: U.S.

Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn, daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, is walking that same delicate line on same-sex marriage in Georgia. She has said she supports the right of same-sex couples to marry but believes the decision about who can marry should be left to the states.
© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Democratic Congressional Candidate, Gay Blogger, and Log Cabin Republicans Tangle Over the Term 'Mary'

Letter

After a public request from the Log Cabin Republicans, Democratic Congressman Scott Peters has removed a link to a blog post by gay activist and blogger John Aravosis calling Peters’ gay Republican opponent Carl DeMaio “pejorative gay slurs” like “Mary.”

LogpologyThe LCR added:

The piece originally was posted on AmericaBlog and contained false and grossly-distorted claims about DeMaio’s record on LGBT issues.

“There is no doubt that if the roles were reversed and a straight Republican congressman promoted content on his website calling his gay Democratic opponent a ‘Mary,’ there would be no end to the outrage from the left,” said Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo. “Of course, when a Democrat does it, no one raises an eyebrow—but we’re not going to let this slide.”

The LCR also requested an apology, calling Peters a bully and claiming "wild inaccuracies and untruths" in Aravosis’ article. At this time of writing, Peters has not issued and apology nor has the LCR pointed out any of their alleged “wild inaccuracies and untruths” or other "slurs."

In the blistering critique of Carl DeMaio that started this whole kerfuffle, Aravosis’ wrote:

San Diego’s gay Republican city council member, Carl DeMaio, can’t figure out why the religious right, who he tacitly sides with on the culture wars, is more supportive of him than gays, whose civil rights he refuses to promote in office.

DeMaio is now running for Congress.

“I’ve found more tolerance, acceptance and inclusion from social conservative groups who have to reconcile that I’m a Republican who happens to be gay… versus the intolerance the LGBT leaders see me as a gay man who happens to be a Republican,” DeMaio said.

Oh Mary, it’s so hard to be you.

Aravosis then lambasted DeMaio’s gay-baiting of a pro-gay political opponent and counterproductive work against LGBT rights. Aravosis said, “the Victory Fund, which supports gay GOP candidates, won’t touch DeMaio because, you know, they kind of have this requirement that you actually do something to support your own civil rights,” and added, “DeMaio refused to even speak out against Proposition 8, which took place in his own state.”

In a follow-up post responding to LCR’s public request, Aravosis says:

“Apparently, Lob Cabin isn’t terribly familiar with “the gay lifestyle,” as Carl DeMaio’s friends on the religious right like to call it, if they think calling someone “Mary” is a slur. The only people who ever call gay people “Mary” is other gay people. And it’s not a slur, it’s actually often a term of ironic endearment (note the title).

But then again, we shouldn’t expect anti-gay gays to actually understand, support or defend a culture that their own political party and candidates have long sought to destroy.”

Aravosis continued, “If DeMaio isn’t anti-gay, then let him answer these questions” and then posted 10 yes or no questions about DeMaio’s positions on gay rights.


Tuesday Speed Read: Houston, Log Cabin Republicans, Harvey Milk, Pennsylvania, David Cicilline, Kyrsten Sinema

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

HOUSTON’S PARKER GOES LONG:

ParkerHouston’s openly lesbian Mayor Annise Parker announced Monday that she is introducing a bill to city council that will prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The bill covers housing, city employment and contracts, and private employment for non-religious employers and companies with fewer than 50 employees. Parker had taken some heat recently when LGBT leaders believed she would propose a human rights ordinance that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing and public accommodations but not in private employment.

LOG CABIN GETS MAJOR BOOST:

LogcabinA trade group that represents such consumer technology giants as Google, Apple, and Microsoft announced Monday it will provide “financial support” to the national Log Cabin Republicans. Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President Gary Shapiro said he was “very proud of CEA’s groundbreaking financial support” for Log Cabin. “Our visible announcement,” said Shapiro, “proves that trade associations want lawmakers and policies that recognize the economic value of hiring the best and brightest minds, regardless of sexual orientation.” Shapiro did not disclose how much financial support CEA is giving Log Cabin or for how long. Log Cabin Executive Director Gregory Angelo said it was “great news” for his group, but he declined to discuss the numbers.

MILK STAMP UNVEILED:

MilkThe U.S. Postal Service revealed its design for the “forever” stamp honoring openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk Monday. The stamp includes a familiar close-up photo of Milk with a strip of rainbow colors in the top left-hand corner, along with his name across the top. The stamp will be officially recognized in a first-day-of-issue ceremony at the White House May 22.

PENNSYLVANIA RUSHING ALONG:

Lawyers pressing one of five lawsuits against Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex couples marrying has asked a federal judge in Harrisburg to forego a trial and, instead, make a decision based on briefs. TheACLU organized the lawsuit Whitewood v. Wolf on behalf of 11 couples who want to marry in Pennsylvania or have their marriage licenses from another state accepted by Pennsylvania. The ACLU said a trial became unnecessary after the state indicated it would call no witnesses to defend the ban. The state is not contesting the request for a decision based on the briefs and final briefs are due May 12, says the ACLU.

WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL STEPPING DOWN:

RuemmlerThe White House Monday announced President Obama has hired a new White House counsel: a former Clinton White House attorney, W. Neil Eggleston. Eggleston, whose focus has been primarily on Congressional investigations and corporate issues, will likely be a step down on LGBT issues. A New York Times profile April 6, credited Kathryn Ruemmler, the outgoing White House counsel, with having “helped develop an administration legal analysis about discrimination against gay people that was highly sympathetic to their rights.” The Times said Ruemmler’s analysis “formed the basis for Mr. Obama’s increasingly assertive backing or same-sex marriage rights.”

CicillineCICILLINE MEETS IN UKRAINE:

Openly gay U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.Is.) is one of eight members of the House Foreign Relations Committee in Ukraine to show U.S. support for Ukraine’s effort to remain independent of Russia. Cicilline and the others met with Vice President Joe Biden last night to discuss unrest in the region.

SINEMA FINISHES BOSTON IN 4:32: Openly bisexual U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) finished the Boston Marathon yesterday with a time of 4:32:32.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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