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Former GOP Senator Alan Simpson Pushes for Marriage Equality in New Nationwide Ad: VIDEO

Simpson

Former Senator Alan Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming, stars in a new ad from Freedom to Marry urging voters and lawmakers to "live and let live" and allow gays and lesbians to marry.

Says Simpson in the spot:

“I’m a Republican. The party’s basic core is, government out of your life and the right to be left alone. Whether you’re gay or lesbian or straight, if you love someone and you want to marry them, marry them. I've had a wonderful married life. Why shouldn't someone else have the joy of marriage? Live and let live."

The ad, backed with a six-figure buy, will be aired nationally on Fox, MSNBC and CNN and locally in Wyoming, Oklahoma and Colorado, according to Politico.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Westboro Baptist Church (Literally) Run Out of Moore, OK After Crowds Threaten Violence: VIDEO

Moore

The Westboro Baptist Church  came to Moore, Oklahoma on Sunday afternoon to picket in front of Plaza Towers Elementary School, saying that God sent a deadly tornado last year in retribution for America's tolerance of gay people. The 2013 tornado killed 24 people.

Hundreds of people came to counterprotest the church, and, as you can see from the video, things almost turned violent as several residents tried to cross the street and were challenged by police officers before the WBC church members turned tail and ran.

WBC had a permit for a 30 minute picket, but it lasted 8, according to local media.

After Westboro fled, a woman leading the counterprotest reprimanded several members of the crowd for threatening to take matters into their own hands, asserting that the purpose of the counterprotest was to raise money for the school so that the kids could buy computers.

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Oklahoma City FOX Affiliate 'Accidentally' Cuts Human Evolution from 'Cosmos' Broadcast: VIDEO

Comingup

An Oklahoma City FOX affiliate cut 15 seconds from the broadcast of Cosmos with Neil deGrasse Tyson on Sunday night when an 'operator error' (according to its explanation on Twitter) interrupted it with a local news promotion.

The 15 seconds that were cut were the only part of the series that mentions human evolution:

"Three and a half million years ago our ancestors, yours and mine, left these traces. We stood up, and parted ways from them. Once we stood on two feet, our eyes were no longer fixated on the ground. Now we were free to look up, and wonder."

Watch the broadcast, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via crooks and liars)

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Amicus Briefs Pile in for Federal Appeals Court Challenges to Gay Marriage Bans in Oklahoma and Utah

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering cases challenging gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah and midnight on Tuesday was a deadline for groups to submit amicus briefs in the case.

OklahomaThe court has been overwhelmed, the AP reports:

More than 50 groups, organizations and coalitions have weighed in on gay marriage cases in Utah and Oklahoma (plaintiffs Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, pictured right) with supporting court briefs – giving a Denver-based federal appeals court thousands of pages of arguments to consider.

A total of 27 friend of the court briefs urging the court to make gay marriage legal in the two states were submitted before the Tuesday midnight deadline. In addition to a group of Western Republicans and national associations of sociologists and psychologists, a brief was sent in by a conglomerate of 46 companies including Starbucks, Pfizer, eBay, Facebook, Google and Levi Strauss.

SchneidermanAlso among those filing amicus briefs - 14 state attorneys general. Among them was NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who sent this press release:

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has joined 14 other state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in an appeal of the successful challenges to laws prohibiting same-sex marriage in Utah and Oklahoma. The multi-state brief, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, counters arguments made by those states in defense of their restrictive marriage laws, and presents the experiences of states where same-sex marriage is legal or will soon be legal.

The brief presents arguments in support of the right of same-sex couples to marry and observes that the institution of marriage remains strong and thriving in states where marriage equality is the law. The brief was filed in connection with two cases: Kitchen v. Herbert and Bishop v. Smith. The filing is consistent with Attorney General Schneiderman’s long commitment to ensuring marriage equality. The filing also follows an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court last year in United States v. Windsor, in which Attorney General Schneiderman successfully argued that the Defense of Marriage Act violated the U.S. Constitution.

You can read the brief from the attorneys general here.

KaplanIn related news, Equality on Trial reports that a request to intervene in the Utah case has been rejected:

Three same-sex couples who had previously filed a request to intervene in Kitchen v. Herbert, the Tenth Circuit appeal of the challenge to Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, recently asked the Tenth Circuit for the opportunity to participate in the oral arguments on April 10.

Their earlier request was filed by Roberta Kaplan, who argued at the Supreme Court on behalf of Edith Windsor that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This follow-up request was also filed by Kaplan, who’s representing these couples pro bono.

But the Tenth Circuit has rejected this new request, just as it did the previous one, with no comment.

Oral arguments in the Utah case are scheduled to go before the court on April 10.


Freedom to Marry Launching $1 million Campaign to Build Southern Support for Gay Marriage: VIDEO

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At a press conference on Monday, Freedom to Marry is expected to announce a new $1 million television ad campaign in Southern states in the hopes of swaying public opinion and the judges who will decide the fate of state bans on gay unions. As it stands, there are about two dozen lawsuits challenging bans on gay marriage that are pending before state and federal courts in Southern states. The Washington Post reports:

“Freedom to Marry’s national strategy has always been to build a critical mass of states and support to create the climate for the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution. We don’t have to win within every state, but we have to win enough states,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 11.13.09 AMAtlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will join the group at its Monday press conference. The group will also try to tie same-sex marriage to the civil rights movement, by featuring Rep. John Lewis [right], the longtime Georgia Democrat who ran the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, in a testimonial.

“I see the right to marriage as a civil rights issue. You cannot have rights for one segment of the population and one group of people and not for everybody,” Lewis says in the video.

Watch Lewis' video for the new campaign, AFTER THE JUMP...

Co-chairs of the new initiative will include Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Reps. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), as well as Mark McKinnon, a former senior adviser to George W. Bush and Lance Bass, the ‘N Sync singer.

Continue reading "Freedom to Marry Launching $1 million Campaign to Build Southern Support for Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


First Openly Gay Oklahoma State Senator To Run For Congress

Al McAffrey, the Oklahoma state senator for District 46, announced Sunday that he would be running for a fifth district congressional seat. McAffrey, who owns a cremation and mortuary service, was an Oklahoma City police officer, and is a Navy veteran, was the first openly gay member of the Sooner State's legislature. 

Mcaffrey_bioKRMG.com reports:

At the news conference announcing the run, McAffrey said, “it’s not about political parties or bipartisanship, rather about our friends and neighbors."

He continued "but to do it, we have to send different people to Congress. I’m running because I believe there is a better way. As a father of three wonderful women and a grandfather, I know my daughters deserve better.” 

...

McAffrey went on to say, “right now, Washington is stuck in gridlock. Folks on both sides of the aisle are so stuck they can't manage to get anywhere on anything. And while they're playing politics, the folks back here at home are paying the price.”

... 

He continued “we have commitments from a lot of people here in Oklahoma and outside of Oklahoma helping us raise money.” 

McAffrey reportedly told The Gayly that he has "been looking at this race for about a year." 


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