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Poll: Republicans Warming to Gay Candidates, Less Okay With Gay Kids or Same-Sex Marriage

A new poll released Friday shows that while the Republican Party is warming up to the idea of openly gay candidates, members are still strongly opposed to same-sex marriage and most would be upset if one of their children came out as gay. 

The Washington Post reports:

Gopnew poll from McClatchy and Marist College shows that 68 percent of Republicans say they would be no less likely to support a well-qualified gay candidate, and 59 percent say they prefer that states decide same-sex marriage rather than the federal government -- a stance that effectively is allowing such unions to take hold across the country.

At the same time, a strong majority of Republicans still personally oppose same-sex marriage (63 percent), and a similar proportion remains concerned about these issues directly affecting their family. In fact, six in 10 say they would be upset if one of their children were gay. Thirty-seven percent say they would be upset if their child told them that he or she was gay, while 23 percent say they would be "very upset." One-quarter of Republicans say they would not be upset at all.

Three in 10 Democrats and independents said they would be upset. 

The Washington Post adds that a 1985 poll for the Los Angeles Times "showed that 89 percent of Americans said they would be upset -- including 64 percent being "very upset" -- today, 35 percent say they would be upset, and only 12 percent say "very upset." 


Pro-gay Republican Super PAC Planning Major Campaign Finance Push For Midterm Elections

SingerAmerican Unity Super PAC, which was launched in June 2012 by hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, has announced plans to spend at least $2 million between now and Election Day to help protect and promote Republican Congressional candidates who support LGBT equality.

USA Today reports:

"For many years, there's been a huge fear from Republican elected officials that if they showed courage on issues like this, would they be able to survive politically?" [AU PAC senior adviser Jeff] Cook-McCormac said.

"What American Unity PAC is committed to doing is ensuring that as these courageous elected officials follow their conscience and do the right thing, that there is a political network in place that's there to defend them."

American Unity has been successful this year protecting pro-LGBT Republicans in various state races and plans on backing at least seven congressional candidates this November including moderate Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent and openly gay Massachusetts contender Richard Tisei.  

Singer, who was also a major supporter of Mitt Romney, has a married gay son. He has donated nearly $2 million of his own money to the PAC so far.  


GOP Congressman Says U.S. Foreign Policy 'Obsessed' With LGBT Rights

SmithRepublican Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey recently told anti-gay hate monger Tony Perkins that American foreign policy puts too much emphasis on the “LGBT agenda” and abortion rights, alleging that the U.S. tries to use its economic and political influence to force other nations around the world to protect the rights of LGBT persons and women. Smith fails to explain why this is a bad thing. From BuzzFeed: 

"I do think that unfortunately there's been an obsession by some within the administration, and that goes for the president himself, to promote the abortion agenda and the LGBT agenda in our foreign policy.” […] 

"These issues are what drives this administration on much of our foreign policy, particularly in Africa. And many of these countries deeply resent it because they are profoundly pro-marriage and profoundly pro-life. But when your foreign aid is being limited or conditioned on those two issues, there are some, but thankfully not many, in these governments who begin to weaken," he added.

He also said of the post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda that "reproductive rights is put in there and the U.S. pushed very hard for it ... it could become very, very dangerous to the lives of babies and to the lives, and to marriage.”


Freedom To Marry Wants Young, Pro-Equality Republicans To Run For Delegate Spots At 2016 GOP Convention

FreedomToMarryFreedom to Marry recognizes the shifting tide toward a pro-marriage equality Republican Party, and they aim to capitalize on the demographic most ready to take the plunge. In a series of meetings in Iowa this week, FtM will encourage Republicans under the age of 30 to run for coveted delegate position slots at the 2016 GOP Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Their participation would help the party move on important changes in language, from anti-gay to pro-conversation, which could be key should the Supreme Court not decide on a same-sex marriage case in the coming year.

Politico reports:

“It’s time for the party to modernize on this issue,” said Margaret Hoover, a Republican strategist, CNN commentator and native Iowan who is part of the Freedom to Marry delegation making the trip to the key early presidential state...

“We want for the presidential process in 2016 [that gay marriage will] be an issue nationally that Republicans are debating,” said Tyler Deaton, the campaign manager for the Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry effort.

He added, “Our intention is to bring a record number of young delegates to the convention … and make some history.”

Cleveland2016The Republican Party has consistently received flack for its exclusivity, particularly against young people, women, and the LGBT community. Freedom to Marry hopes to achieve a more even-keeled approach by shifting the party's platform.

“We recognize that there are diverse and sincerely held views on civil marriage within the Party, and that support for allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry has grown substantially in our own Party,” reads some of the proposed language.

“Given this journey that so many Americans, including Republicans, are on, we encourage and welcome a thoughtful conversation among Republicans about the meaning and importance of marriage, and commit our Party to respect for all families and fairness and freedom for all Americans.”

Those hoping for a younger, more-center-leaning GOP in 2016 have their work cut out for them.


Republicans Mike Enzi And Mike Kelly Introduce Anti-Gay Adoption Bill

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New legislation introduced last week aims to allow adoption and foster care providers to refuse service on the basis of the organization’s religious objections, reports Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Introduced by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA), bill S. 2706/H.R. 5285 would allow adoption or foster care providers to deny service to heterosexual couples of a different faith, single parents and LGBTI couples.

In a statement, Ellen Kahn, Director of the HRC Foundation’s Children, Youth, and Families Program, said:

“If this bill passes, an Evangelical straight couple, a single father, or a committed and loving gay and lesbian couple could find their path to adoption blocked for no reasonable reason other than naked discrimination.

"Taxpayer funds should not be used to discriminate, and too many children need loving families right now for our elected officials to be playing these kinds dangerous political games. This bill has nothing to do with faith, and it must be condemned.”

President Obama recently signed an executive order banning federally-funded organizations from discriminating against LGBTI people.

Last week, it was announced that Democratic House Representative Jared Polis is preparing to initiate a discharge petition for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a means of bringing a bill directly to the floor without consideration from committee or direct input from the House leadership.


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.


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