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The Virulently Anti-gay, GOP-packed Values Voter Summit Has Begun: WATCH

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Family Research Council's annual Values Voter Summit kicks off in Washington D.C. today and, as always, features a who's who of anti-gay activists, politicians, and media personalities devoting their time and effort towards denying LGBT individuals equal rights.

Confirmed speakers for the 3-day extravaganza include Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Gary Bauer, Glenn Beck, Jason & David Benahm, Gen. William Boykin, Rep. Jim Bridenstien (R-OK), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R-TX), TLC's Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar, Erick Erickson, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Mike Huckabee, Bishop E.W. Jackson, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Sarah Palin, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Tony Perkins, Sandy Rios, Rick Santorum, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Todd Starnes, Mat Staver, Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), and many more. 

SummitThe hate summit is being live-streamed online. You can catch the video feed, AFTER THE JUMP...

And if you missed our exclusive report by People for the American Way's Drew Courtney about the Republican Party's cozy relationship with the hate group-backed summit, check that out HERE. The report details  how the GOP, despite signaling it would "rebrand" after the 2012 election, continues to align itself with extremist fringe groups that "actively seek to put LGBT people back in the closet, quash access to legal abortion, and restrict the free exercise rights of non-Christian religious minorities."

Continue reading "The Virulently Anti-gay, GOP-packed Values Voter Summit Has Begun: WATCH" »


Some Things Never Change: The Values Voter Summit and the Dubious 'Rebranding' of the GOP

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BY DREW COURTNEY

Following the failure of the GOP to recapture the White House in the last presidential election, rebranding was a word that got knocked around a lot within party circles and in the media. In order to shore up the hemorrhaging support of women, ethnic and racial minorities, and young voters, it was agreed that the GOP platform would have to embrace less alienating positions on a variety of policy issues.

Now on the eve of midterm elections almost two years later, it’s become clear that Republican officials aren’t sticking to the plan. This weekend, conservative lawmakers including Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, and Gov. Bobby Jindal are slated to participate in what has become a rite of passage for presidential hopefuls of the GOP: courting the support of the Religious Right at the Family Research Council’s (FRC) annual Values Voter Summit.

VvsLurching in the opposite direction from the rest of the country, Republican officials are aligning themselves with extremist fringe groups that actively seek to put LGBT people back in the closet, quash access to legal abortion, and restrict the free exercise rights of non-Christian religious minorities. The FRC — as well as other primary sponsors of the event including the American Family Association, Liberty Counsel and American Values — has been instrumental in encouraging the GOP’s continued rightward march and carries a great deal of influence over evangelical Tea Party voters who form the core of the far right, a group that presidential contenders in the party increasingly feel the need to cater to.

A look at a few of the speakers scheduled to share the stage with leading Republican figures shows how grievously out of step the party is with the values of the American people AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Some Things Never Change: The Values Voter Summit and the Dubious 'Rebranding' of the GOP" »


Senator Rand Paul Bolts As Anti-Gay Rep. Steve King Insults Immigration Activists: VIDEOS

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In a video which has since gone viral, Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas — two immigration activists advocating for the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act — confronted Iowa Republican Representative Steve King about his anti-immigration racism.

The video has partly become viral because it also shows Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul choking down the first bite of his hotdog and then running away with his beer the instant he hears that Andiola and Vargas are immigration activists. Paul supports increasing fortifications along the U.S./Mexico border but does not “think any type of immigration reform will get out of Washington that includes a path to citizenship.”

In the video, Andiola hands her DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) card to King and offers him the chance to tear it up. The DACA card basically gives undocumented people like Andiola the ability to stay in the U.S. for two years at a time without the threat of deportation, something the Secretary of Homeland Security put into place on June 15, 2012. King voted to end the program barely a week ago.

KingIn response, King refuses, condescendingly compliments Andiola’s English-speaking ability as a way to insist that she’s distorting his words, and then offers the circular reasoning that undocumented people are “lawless” criminals who should not stay in the U.S. while trying to gain citizenship.

At 4:04 a man comes up and tries to tell the recorder that she’s not allowed to record their conversation. At 6:30 an onlooker starts repeatedly telling them to “go home.”

In 2013, King infamously said "For every [undocumented immigrant] who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they've got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert." He also supported Arizona's failed "license to discriminate" bill that would have allowed religious business owners to refuse service or employment to LGBT people.

Both openly gay Colorado Democratic Representative Jared Polis and pop singer Ricky Martin called King out for his comments.

The Huffington Post provides some of Andiola and Vargas’ background:

Vargas and Andiola are prominent immigration activists and co-directors of DRM Action Coalition, a Dreamer-led group that advocates for reform. Andiola worked for bisexual Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) last year after receiving work authorization through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but left her job in December to fight her mother's deportation proceedings. She has been in the U.S. since she was 11 years old. Vargas, who came to the U.S. at the age of 5, passed the New York bar examination but can't fulfill his goal of practicing law in the military because of his undocumented status.

Andiola and Vargas made a follow-up video during which Andiola said that King “really showed his ignorance and his hatred toward us.”

Watch the videos AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Senator Rand Paul Bolts As Anti-Gay Rep. Steve King Insults Immigration Activists: VIDEOS" »


Rand Paul: Obama Should Explain to the Pope Why He's Attacking Religious Freedom - VIDEO

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Referring to the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court yesterday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) lectured Obama on what he should explain to Pope Francis in a meeting scheduled for Thursday.

“He ought to explain to the pope why he is telling businesses in America they can’t remain true to their faith and stay in business." He should also “tell the pope he’s not going to spy on him anymore.”

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Crooks and Liars notes:

...if it were Rand Paul visiting with the Pope, I'd tell him he should be ready to explain why it is that he opposes extending unemployment insurance while taking food out of the mouths of hungry children.

I think Rand Paul has more to explain than President Obama does.

Continue reading "Rand Paul: Obama Should Explain to the Pope Why He's Attacking Religious Freedom - VIDEO" »


Rand Paul Wins CPAC Straw Poll with 31 Percent of Vote

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Rand Paul won the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference presidential straw poll, the WaPo reports:

Paul won 31 percent of the vote (compared with the 25 percent he won last year), beating a crowded field of more than two dozen names, including a number of potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders. He crushed second-place finisher Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who came in with 11 percent.

Rounding out of the top finishers in the poll, which was voted on by 2,459 CPAC attendees, were former neurosurgen Ben Carson (9 percent) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (8 percent).

Paul's father Ron and Mitt Romney have been the top picks in the CPAC straw polls since 2007.


Rand Paul Calls Federal Judge's Kentucky Gay Marriage Ruling 'Illegitimate'

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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul released a statement following U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II’s ruling that Kentucky must recognize legal same-sex marriage from outside the state.

Said Paul:

"I believe in the historic and religious definition of marriage. I also believe this power belongs to the states and the people, not the federal government. It is illegitimate for the federal courts to intrude here."

Governor Steve Beshear is hiring an outside counsel to defend the state's ban in the appeal of the ruling after Attorney General Jack Conway, in an emotional and tearful announcement, said he would not.


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