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Mike Michaud Could Become Nation's Only Out Gay Governor Despite Lack of Support From Top LGBT Donors: VIDEO

Mike

According to recent polling, openly gay Democratic congressman Michael Michaud leads the pack in the race for the governor's mansion in Maine. Michaud came out last November. At the time, Michaud commented that he wanted to avoid a "whisper campaign" that he claimed was being waged against him. With Michaud now so close to victory, perhaps the most surprising fact of Michaud's campaign has been, as Politico reports, that his success has come without the help of the nation's most prominent, powerful and moneyed LGBT donors:

For all the formal endorsements he has collected in his quest for the governorship, Michaud has been conspicuously shortchanged by many of the wealthiest and most influential gay donors in Democratic politics. Far from becoming a pathbreaking cause célèbre, he has plainly not enjoyed the overpowering financial support of the community that helped fuel President Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012 and made Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin the first openly gay senator in history.

Dozens of prominent gay bundlers for Obama’s campaign, including Evercore Partners’ Charles Myers and Newsweb’s Fred Eychaner, have given nothing to the Maine lawmaker, according to the most recent state finance records. Gay and straight Hollywood kingpins who have bankrolled marriage equality lawsuits, including producers Bruce Cohen and Rob Reiner, have kept their checkbooks closed.

Of the 32 activists and donors who sit on the board of the Human Rights Campaign, only one has donated to the man currently positioned to become America’s only gay governor. Wealthy Colorado gay rights activist Tim Gill has maxed out to Michaud, but he is an exception that helps prove the rule.

Watch an interview Michaud gave to Rachel Maddow after coming out last year, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "Mike Michaud Could Become Nation's Only Out Gay Governor Despite Lack of Support From Top LGBT Donors: VIDEO" »


Susan Collins Becomes 4th GOP Senator to Support Marriage Equality

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said on Wednesday that she supports same-sex marriage, the Bangor Daily News reports:

Collins“A number of states, including my home state of Maine, have now legalized same-sex marriage, and I agree with that decision,” Collins said in response to a question from the BDN.

Collins' spokesman Lance Dutson confirmed to the paper that she was announcing her support for same-sex marriage for the first time:

He said the senator hasn’t spoken publicly on the issue previously because she believes it is the voters of each state — not U.S. senators — who should make the decision on marriage equality.

“What she has consistently said is she doesn’t want to get involved in state-level referendum issues. She’s a U.S. senator, and she stays within the purview of her office,” Dutson said. “But when asked [Wednesday] about her personal stance on this issue, she’s said she supports it.”

Collins, long thought to personally support marriage equality, was silent at times when Maine needed her voice the most - during the tough campaigns to legalize it in the state.

Collins support came several hours after her reelection campaign was endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, and her lack of a position on the issue was pointed out by her opponent, Shenna Bellows, the former ACLU of Maine director.

Said Bellows to the Bangor Daily News:

“My opponent’s voice on marriage equality could have made a real difference in 2012, when this was up for a vote in Maine,” she said. “At that time, I was organizing Republicans for the Freedom to Marry, and we invited Susan Collins to endorse the campaign. She declined.”

Log Cabin Republicans released a statement reacting to Collins' announcement:

“On the eve of the anniversary of the United States Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in favor of federal civil marriage recognition for committed same-sex couples and the day after Congressman Richard Hanna’s victory over a GOP primary opponent who challenged him because of his support for marriage equality, it seems the dam has finally broken: from local legislators to United States Senators, Republicans around the country are coming to the common-sense conservative conclusion that marriage equality strengthens society and is no threat to religious liberty,” Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo said. ”As a longtime ally of Log Cabin Republicans who championed repeal of the flawed ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy and most recently the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Senator Collins’ declaration of support for civil marriage equality is the latest milestone in a career that has exhibited bold and unwavering support for the LGBT community.”


Wednesday Speed Read: Wisconsin, Eric Cantor, Adam Ebbin, Ryan Fecteau, Alabama, Obama

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

WisconsinSEVENTH CIRCUIT CONSIDERS WISCONSIN:

State officials and attorneys representing same-sex plaintiff couples have been given until 5 p.m. today to file briefs concerning the state’s request for an emergency stay of a federal district court decision last Friday, striking down Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the state office of vital records is not processing marriage licenses for same-sex couples until it gets a go-ahead from the state attorney general.

CantorERIC CANTOR LOSES PRIMARY:

In a surprise upset, U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lost his primary Tuesday for an eighth term. According to various media in Virginia, winner Dave Brat, an economics professor at a small college, hammered Cantor on his willingness to raise the debt ceiling, end the government shutdown, and support some reform of immigration laws. Brat has rebuffed characterizations of himself as either a liberal or as a Tea Party member. His campaign website states that he believes “all individuals are entitled to equal rights,” but it also says, in bold letting, that Brat will “protect the rights of the unborn and the sanctity of marriage, and will oppose any governmental intrusion upon the conscience of people of faith.”

EbbinGAY CANDIDATE LOSES IN VIRGINIA:

Openly gay Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin placed third in a 10-candidate field in the Democratic primary to replace U.S. House Rep. Jim Moran from northern Virginia. Ebbin garnered almost 14 percent of the vote compared to winner former Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer’s 46 percent. A former aide to Barney Frank, Mark Levine, took seven percent. Beyer is considered generally support of equal rights for LGBT people. His campaign website expresses support for “full equality.” Oddly, it also promises that Beyer would “work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.”

GAY CANDIDATE WINS IN MAINE:

Openly gay Maine State Rep. Ryan Fecteau breezed to victory in his Democratic primary Tuesday, winning 65 percent of the vote to represent his district in the middle of the state.

Aaron-brushACLU FILES LAWSUIT IN ALABAMA:

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court in Alabama Tuesday, challenging the state’s refusal to recognize marriage licenses obtained by same-sex couples in other states. The lawsuit, Aaron-Brush v. Bentley, is the third lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying.

FUMBLING FOR AN ANSWER:

ObamaDuring a student-oriented Q & A on Tumblr Tuesday, President Obama seemed to struggle with a question about securing equal rights for transsexual students. The question posed to him –through the moderator, Tumblr President David Karp -- noted that, just last month, the U.S. Department of Education released guidelines to clarify for schools receiving federal aid that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against sex discrimination “extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.”

“What do you see as the next steps to ensure equal treatment of trans people in schools in America?”

The president began with a rambling recollection of his meeting Monday with the men’s and women’s basketball teams from the University of Connecticut, noting that Title IX has helped make college women athletes competitive and mentioning that the First Lady puts him to shame when they work out together, before eventually landing on one sentence: “The fact that we are applying [Title IX] to transgender students means that they are going to be in a position to assert their rights if and when they see that they are being discriminated on their college campuses, and that could manifest itself in a whole variety of ways.”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Thursday Speed Read: Houston, Anthony Kennedy, NOM, Maine, Orrin Hatch, Caitlin Cahow

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

A_parkerHOUSTON COUNCIL APPROVES LAW:

The Houston City Council heard more than eight hours of public comment Wednesday before voting 11 to 6 in favor of Mayor Annise Parker’s comprehensive law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and other categories. The Houston Chronicle said more than 250 people signed up to offer comments on the bill.

KennedyNOM SEEKS SUPREME INTERVENTION:

Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday asked attorneys for Oregon and same-sex plaintiff couples to respond to a motion from the National Organization for Marriage. NOM filed a motion Tuesday seeking a stay of a May 19 federal district court ruling that allowed the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Prior to that ruling, NOM sought the right to defend the state ban after the governor and attorney general made clear they would not. U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane, an openly gay Obama appointee, ruled the ban unconstitutional on May 19 and couples began obtaining licenses right away. McShane and the Ninth Circuit then denied NOM’s request for a temporary stay in order to appeal the decision concerning intervenor status.

Eastman_brownMAINE IMPOSES RECORD FINE ON NOM: 

The Maine commission for campaign ethics voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a recommendation imposing a record $50,250 fine on the National Organization for Marriage. The staff of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices recommended the fine against NOM because of its failure to register as a ballot question committee and file campaign finance reports that disclosed its donors. The Kennebec Journal reported Commission Chairman Walter McKee as saying NOM’s defense –that it was protecting its donors from harassment— made a “mockery of Maine’s election laws.” NOM says it will appeal the ruling and file its own complaints against the Human Rights Campaign.

HatchHATCH ON INEVITABILITY OF MARRIAGE:

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) had this to say about the inevitability of same-sex couples being able to marry nationwide: "Let’s face it, anybody who does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land just hasn’t been observing what’s going on. There is a question whether [the courts] should be able to tell the states what they can or cannot do with something as important as marriage, but the trend right now in the courts is to permit gay marriage and anybody who doesn’t admit that just isn’t living in the real world….I think it’s a portent of the future that sooner or later gay marriage is probably going to be approved by the Supreme Court of the United States, certainly as the people in this country move towards it, especially young people." Hatch made his remarks on KSL-Radio and they were widely reported, including in the Salt Lake City Tribune.

AngelouMAYA ANGELOUS PASSES:

Acclaimed poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou died Wednesday at the age of 86. Angelou served as an important ally to the LGBT community, lobbying legislators in New York to support marriage equality. She was perhaps best known for her autobiographical I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and writing and delivering a poem, “On the Pulse of the Morning,” at President Clinton’s first inauguration. President Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Freedom on her in 2011.

CAITLIN CAHOW NAMED TO COUNCIL:

President Obama this month named lesbian hockey player Caitlin Cahow to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Cahow most recently served on the Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremony at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Maine Ethics Panel Fines NOM $50,250, Orders It to Disclose Donors in Anti-Gay Marriage Campaign

Committee

The Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices has found the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) guilty of money laundering and failure to file campaign reports in a unanimous vote, the Kennebec Journal reports:

Eastman_brownThe vote follows an investigation by the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices that found the National Organization for Marriage concealed its operations and donors during its successful bid to repeal Maine’s same-sex marriage law in 2009.

The vote also means that the state will require the National Organization for Marriage to register as a ballot question committee and disclose its donors from the campaign over five years ago.

...In 2009, NOM poured more than $2 million into the $3 million referendum campaign to repeal the law. Brian Brown, the executive director of NOM, was an operating officer on Stand for Marriage Maine, the Maine-based ballot question committee that registered with the state. Prior to the vote, ethics commission members argued that Brown’s dual roles on the Maine committee and NOM allowed the organization to shield its donors and skirt Maine’s donor disclosure law.

The ethics investigation used bank statements and campaign literature to show that NOM used its nonprofit status to draw donations earmarked for the Maine referendum – a violation of Maine election law.

Images via Fred Karger on Facebook here and here.

Karger, a 2012 Republican presidential candidate and activist who filed the complaint against NOM in Maine, has been doggedly pursuing NOM's illegal tactics in Maine and other states.

The Journal adds:

“NOM definitely picked the wrong state to break the law,” Karger said.

Karger said the ruling could assist an investigation that he filed in Iowa in 2013. He is also considering filing another complaint in New Hampshire, where NOM attempted to repeal that state’s same-sex marriage law.

Both Iowa and New Hampshire are mentioned in the 37-page report by the commission’s staff.

NOM is already saying it will not comply with the ruling, according to Karger:


Wednesday Speed Read: Houston, Maine and NOM, Wisconsin, Pope Francis, World LGBT Rights

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

ParkerHOUSTON COUNCIL VOTES TODAY:

The Houston City Council is scheduled to vote today on an ordinance proposed by lesbian Mayor Annise Parker, to adopt a policy that prohibits discrimination based on a number of categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

MAINE LIKELY TO PENALIZE NOM:

A Maine election ethics commission will vote today on whether to fine the National Organization for Marriage for failing to register as a ballot question committee in a 2009 anti-gay referendum. The staff of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices issued a 37-page report April 9, recommending the commission fine NOM more than $50,000 for its failure to register as a committee and file campaign finance reports that disclosed its donors. The report notes that NOM spent $3 million in Maine in 2009 to encourage voter passage of a repeal a law allowing same-sex couples to marry, most of it funneled into a group called Stand for Marriage Maine. “NOM intentionally set up its fundraising strategy to avoid donor disclosure,” states the staff letter. In a May 6 letter responding to the recommendation, a legal group called “Act Right” asserts that NOM “made no expenditures”’ under Maine law.

WalkerWISCONSIN BRACING FOR THE FALL:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, through his attorney general, filed a motion Friday asking U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to stay her decision in a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban if that decision finds the ban unconstitutional. Crabb (a Carter appointee) last month denied Walker’s request to dismiss an ACLU-led lawsuit, Wolf v. Walker. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also reported Friday that Walker has begun to express his own doubts about the ban’s constitutionality. “I'm not going to pretend to tell a federal judge in that regard what he or she should do about it," Walker told the paper. "...I don't know what (allowing gay marriage) means. Voters don't talk to me about that.” But the Sentinel noted that Republican Attorney General  J.B. Van Hollen has made clear he intends to appeal a losing ruling to the Seventh Circuit.

FrancisHRC ASKS POPE TO MEET WITH TEACHERS:

The Human Rights Campaign announced Tuesday that it has sent a letter to Pope Francis on behalf of nine teachers who have lost their jobs at Catholic schools either because they are gay or because they support a gay family member. The letter states that the teachers hope the pope’s "messages of acceptance” and “pastoral leadership” will enable him to “correct these hurtful injustices.” The letter was prompted in part by new policies being adopted by some dioceses, including Cincinnati, that call for firing any employee who even speaks in favor of the “homosexual lifestyle.” “We ask for a Papal audience with our families,” states the letter, “so that you may hear our personal stories firsthand and see the impact the Church's actions have had on us all."

RollercoasterGLOBAL ‘ROLLER COASTER’:

The Human Rights Campaign on May 15 released its inaugural issue of a report monitoring LGBT equal rights globally, and it characterized 2013 as a “proverbial roller coaster.” Six nations began allowing same-sex couples to marry, but Russia passed its harsh laws against “promoting” anything gay. Activism emerged in such countries as Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Iran, and yet Uganda and Nigeria cracked down with new laws criminalizing same-sex relations and imposing draconian penalties. Equality Rising notes: “Change is happening at a rapid rate. As some LGBT people are nearing legal equality, we must work together to ensure that others are not left behind.”

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


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