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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

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 10.23.11 AM

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.


National Groups Push Republicans To Drop Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage

The National Journal looked at several groups pushing the Republican party to drop its opposition to marriage equality by its 2016 national convention.

GopTheir article reads, in part:

“[a] group called Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry is part of the effort to remove the traditional-marriage plank from the GOP platform at the Cleveland convention. Already, the group has met with state and county party officials in New Hampshire, and they're planning trips to Iowa in August and to South Carolina and Nevada in September.

...

Rather than talking about gay marriage, strategists are guiding Republicans to talk about the freedom to marry, and they cast the question in familiar conservative terms about the government's role in people's private lives.

"Use freedom language, why it's important for families, why it's inappropriate for the government to treat people differently and treating gay people as taxpayers," said one GOP gay-rights lobbyist.

The American Unity PAC, the sister group to the 501(c)(4) American Unity Fund, has spent almost $700,000 this cycle to elect Republicans who back gay rights, compared with the nearly $120,000 traditional-marriage groups like Family Research Council have doled out, and their meetings with members went from three a week last year to five per week this year.”

The article also mentions that far-right conservatives like the SPLC-certified hate group the Family Research Council and their anti-gay senatorial cohorts Ted “states’ rights” Cruz of Texas and Mike ”religious freedom” Lee of Utah all support a law overturning the Supreme Court’s ruling against section three of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act — the very decision being quoted by judges overturning gay marriage bans in several states.


New York Young Republican Club Writer Rants About Gay Flags, Suddenly Resigns

William Palumbo

The New York Young Republican Club has a problem with the gay flag. Specifically, the site's head of "Blog" William Palumbo took severe offense at the "gay/LGBTQ(RSTUVWXYZ)" pride flag being flown at U.S. embassies in London and Tel Aviv, so much so that he wondered if it were an impeachable offense. Yes, really.

Can I pose a serious question?  At what point does replacing the American flag with the rainbow flag, a symbol of gay/LGBTQ(RSTUVWXYZ) pride from embassies abroad become an impeachable offense in itself?

Concerned that the U.S. is becoming "the United States of Gaymerica", Palumbo went on to condemn gay ambassadors that have been sent abroad in the past.

This administration has a record of placing gay ambassadors in countries where they are not welcome. The Dominican Republic last November, for example, was pretty well outraged.

Naturally, none of this was accompanied by plans of action, proposals for solutions to the "problem" (such as it were), or anything else potentially productive. Just ranting and implications that Obama himself is having a queer relationship with the Emir of Qatar. The President of NYYRC Brian Morgenstern did take productive actions, however, and Palumbo has now resigned and Morgenstern issued an apology stating that Palumbo's views do not reflect the views of the club.


Chris Christie: It's Not Time For Republicans To Drop Opposition to Gay Marriage

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Gay marriage is legal in New Jersey, and Governor Chris Christie believes that the matter is for now "settled" in his home state. But Governor Christie does not think it's time for the Republican party to drop gay marriage as an issue.

TIME reports that Christie, speaking to reporters over the weekend at the National Governors Association, believes that the U.S. "will resolve this [issue] over a period of time,” and that legal resolutions "should be done state by state."

While the Republican party could feesibly pick up many young voters if it decreased its focus on social issues, including gay marriage, Christie says:

I don’t think that there’s going to be some major referee who’s going to say now it’s time to stop [with the gay marriage debate]...Certainly I’m not going to, because these are opinions that I feel strongly about.

When he was asked whether the U.S. might end up gravitating back toward "traditional" marriage despite the current trend in legal proceedings, Christie said: “I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball.”


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