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Over 300 GOP Leaders Sign Supreme Court Brief Supporting Marriage Equality: READ THE LIST

Gop

Over 300 veteran Republican politicians and operatives have signed a friend of the court brief at the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage. The amicus brief, organized by openly gay former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, arrives ahead of the oral arguments before the Supreme Court in four same-sex marriage cases scheduled for April 28

TIME reports:

Among the signatories are 23 current and former Republicans members of the House of Representatives and Senate and seven current and former Governors. Sens. Susan Collins and Mark Kirk have signed onto the brief, as has Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Other notables include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and billionaire GOP mega-donor David Koch.

The 2013 brief included 131 signatures, featured many former top aides to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, including his general counsel and two senior advisors. The list has now grown to 303 signatories.

In an interview with TIME, Mehlman pointed to the growing national consensus and within the GOP on the issue. “There’s been an increase since the last time in public support for marriage equality across all ideological, racial, and political groups,” he said.

Read the full brief and list of signers, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Bryan Fischer Wants Every Presidential Candidate Asked If They Think Being Gay Is A Choice: VIDEO

Fischer

Ridiculous nutjob Bryan Fischer is deep into a love-in with homophobe Ben Carson following the latter’s statement that prison sex proves that homosexuality is a choice, reports Right Wing Watch.

Sex-obsessed Fischer said that Carson’s latest hateful drivel sets "the benchmark for the other Republican candidates" and has called for all GOP candidates to be forced to state for the record whether they believe that being gay is a choice:

"I hope they are asked this question. I want every single Republican candidate on record: Do you think that homosexual conduct is a choice? I want every GOP presidential candidate to be asked that question and to be put on record. Do you believe that homosexuality is a choice? What is your answer?"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Billionaire GOP Donor David Koch Files Amicus Brief Asking SCOTUS to Strike Down Gay Marriage Bans

Koch

Billionaire GOP megadonor David Koch is signing on to an Supreme Court amicus brief supporting same-sex marriage, The Washington Free Beacon reports:

Koch, the vice president of Koch Industries and the world’s sixth wealthiest person, is a deep-pocketed donor to Republican and conservative groups.

Koch Industries general counsel Mark Holden confirmed on Tuesday that Koch will sign his name to the brief. Holden said he did so in his personal capacity.

“I believe in gay marriage,” he told Politico in 2012. A former vice presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket, Koch is in line with that movement’s thinking on the issue, despite his support for a party that frequently opposes gay marriage.

“I think the Republican Party has a great chance of being successful and that’s why I support it … but I believe in the libertarian principles,” he told Politico.

In his interview with Barbara Walters for her "10 Most Fascinating People of 2014" special back in December, Koch was asked why he backs anti-gay candidates despite his personal support for marriage equality. His reply? "That's their problem."


California GOP Tells Log Cabin Republicans 'Get Out Of The Back Of The Bus,' Votes to Formally Recognize Gay Group

LCR

In a move that drew comparisons to Rosa Parks and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the California Republican Party voted this weekend to officially recognize the Log Cabin Republicans. 

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The Log Cabin Republicans, a 38-year-old organization that had unsuccessfully sought a charter from the state party several times in the past, received the formal imprimatur on a 861-293 vote at the party’s biannual convention in Sacramento.

It is among the first gay groups officially sanctioned by a state Republican Party.

Brandon Gesicki, a delegate from Carmel who supported the effort, said the vote showed how much the party in California has changed in recent years.

“It would have been the complete opposite 15 years ago,” said Gesicki, who also turned in a proxy vote from former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado supporting the recognition. “The fringe does not control the party anymore. We truly are a big tent once again.”

The victory for Log Cabin in California comes on the heels of the national group's exclusion (then re-admittance) as Conservative Political Action Conference sponsor this year. 

The LA Times reports that despite the decision to charter Log Cabin, the California GOP platform still includes anti-LGBT language: 

John Briscoe, president of the socially conservative California Republican Assembly, pointed to Log Cabin’s support of same-sex marriage.

“I have a hard time understanding how we’re going to charter an organization that’s in opposition to our platform,” he said during the debate.

The party’s official platform says homosexuality is unacceptable.

“We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption,” the platform says.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that while some social conservatives like Briscoe voiced strong opposition to the decision, the vast majority of those attending the state GOP convention supported it. 

And, many said, their inclusion was long overdue.

“We’re Republicans,” said Brandon Gesicki, a longtime GOP strategist. “We’re not East Germany.”

“Get out of the back of the bus,” said Scott Wilk, Republican Assembly Caucus chair to the Log Cabin group at the close of the debate. “You deserve a seat.”

Watch the announcement of the group's charter, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Has Jeb Bush Privately 'Evolved' on Gay Marriage?

Bush

With the race for the White House in 2016 already underway, various exploratory committees are hard at work vying for the biggest slice of the campaign fundraiser pie in this crazy post-Citizens United political landscape we find ourselves in. Heavyweight contender Jeb Bush has been doing quite well in this regard, and is reportedly aiming to raise $100 million before he formally enters the race sometime later this year. Helping the former Florida governor reach this goal are a number of donors with left-leaning sensibilities on social issues, a reality that isn't sitting well with the party's "anti" crowd.

Naturally, the influx of these donors has raised questions about were exactly Bush stands on certain divisive social issues. Like President Obama, we've seen Bush tweak his public stance on issues like gay marriage in order to make himself a more palatable candidate for the electorate to swallow. Following marriage equality's arrival in Florida last month, for example, Bush issued a calculated statement saying:

"We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law. I hope that we can show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue – including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty."

And while the statement is far from a ringing endorsement on LGBT equality, it's still light years ahead of his dismissal of "sodomy" rights back in the 1990s. It's clear Bush is positioning himself as the moderate of the 2016 GOP pack - a strategy that appears to be working in his favor financially.

Donors, however, seem increasingly convinced that Bush (again like Obama circa 2008) is even more evolved on the issue of LGBT rights privately than he is publicly. 

Buzzfeed reports:

But inside Bush’s orbit, some believe his personal feelings on the subject may have evolved beyond his on-the-record statements. Three Republican supporters who have recently spoken with Bush as he’s blitzed the GOP fundraising circuit told BuzzFeed News they came away with the impression that on the question of marriage equality, he was supportive at best and agnostic at worst.

“He wants to do the respectful, human thing,” said one of the Republicans, a donor who requested anonymity to comment on private conversations.

If, as many observers expect, the Supreme Court rules this June to extend marriage rights to all same-sex couples nationwide, some of Bush’s pro-gay donors are hoping he will use the moment to fully pivot toward an embrace of marriage equality — turning himself into the first serious pro-gay GOP presidential candidate.

“His thinking appears to have evolved,” said David Aufhauser, a former senior Treasury official who co-hosted a fundraiser for Bush earlier this month in Virginia. Aufhauser, well known in GOP circles for his gay rights advocacy, stressed that he doesn’t speak for Bush, but contended that the candidate would benefit from opening up about how he now views the marriage issue. 

If Bush does decide to open up more about the marriage issue in the future, it will likely be with the help of his soon-to-be communications director Tim Miller, an openly gay man

What do you think? 


New Hampshire Republicans Appoint Married Gay Man Dan Innis To Party Leadership: VIDEO

Dan Innis_new_hampshire

Dan Innis, a married gay man who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in New Hampshire, has been confirmed as a member of the state Republican Party’s leadership.

BuzzFeed reports that state Republican Party Chair Jennifer Horn appointed Innis to the finance chair position on Monday.

The appointment was supported by Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Rep. Frank Guinta, the two Republican members of the state’s congressional delegation.

In a statement, Horn said:

“I am pleased that Dan has agreed to dedicate his time and considerable talents to helping Republicans raise the resources that we need to compete with the Democrats.

“I am proud to have Dan on my team and look forward to his contributions to the New Hampshire Republican State Committee.”

Innis is a professor at the University of New Hampshire and owner of the Hotel Portsmouth with his husband, Doug Palardy.

Watch Innis announce his run for Congress in 2013, AFTER THE JUMP...

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