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

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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...

Continue reading "New Hampshire Republicans Appoint Married Gay Man Dan Innis To Party Leadership: VIDEO" »


Aaron Schock Hires Legal Team In Response To Allegations Of Mishandling Office Funds

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Republican representative Aaron Schock has been the subject of heightened scrutiny after reports surfaced pointing to his office spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a extravagant trips and concert tickets for his staffers. Interest in Schock’s spending habits first piqued earlier this year after pictures of his newly-renovated, Downton Abbey-themed office began to circulate.

The office, which “takes inspiration” from Downton’s iconic red sitting room, is estimated to have cost nearly $100,000 to design and furnish. Naturally, the extravagant room almost immediately caught the eye of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) who filed an ethics complaint.

Ig“I'm different. I came to Congress at 27. And so, I'm also not going to live in a cave,” Schock told ABC news. “So when I post an Instagram photo with me with my friends, as Taylor Swift said, 'haters are gonna hate.'"

While Schock’s luxurious tastes in decor raised eyebrows and reignited those pesky gay rumors, the latest accounts of his spending could have much larger legal implications. By the congressman’s own admission, he frequently covers the travel expenses for his staffers during scheduled trips to events with constituents and fundraisers.

Those types of expenses are to be expected, but they also subject to strict rules and expected to be properly approved by the House Ethics committee. Most of Schock’s, it would appear, were neither.

Many of the flights Schock and his staffers took appear to have used for travel were owned by campaign donors and thus were technically private flights, that House rules forbid lawmakers to pay for using office funds. Beyond dubious flight costs, Schock is also known to have paid for an outing with office interns to a sold out Katy Perry concert in Washington--again, with campaign funds.

As the media’s interest has grown, it’s become clear that Schock’s mishandling of funds has been more than a common occurrence. A lengthy Politico report details a number of big budget purchases and trips abroad that seemingly have no congressional justification. In response to the rising allegations, Schock has lawyered up and enlisted the help of a D.C. public relations firm in preparation for a potential ethics investigation.

“After questions were first raised in the press, Congressman Schock took the proactive step of assembling a team to review the compliance procedures in his official office, campaign and leadership PAC,” an office representative explained. “The purpose of the review is to identify any areas that need improvement and to assist with designing and implementing any changes. The congressman takes his compliance obligations seriously, which is why he took this proactive step to review these procedures.”


Opposition To Gay Marriage Becoming Deal-Breaker For GOP Voters In Some States: POLL

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A new poll from NBC News and Marist College suggests that support for same-sex marriage among Republicans may be growing at such a rate as to make opposition to marriage equality a political deal-breaker for the majority of GOP primary voters in 2016. 

As The Washington Post reports, opposition to same-sex marriage is as unpalatable as support for Common Core, immigration reform, a belief in man-made climate change and support for raising taxes on the wealthy: 

The polls, in fact, show that about half of likely GOP caucus and primary voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina said they find opposition to gay marriage either "mostly" or "totally" unacceptable in a candidate. Fifty-two percent of likely Republican primary voters in New Hampshire and South Carolina said opposing gay marriage is either mostly or totally unacceptable, while 47 percent of likely Iowa caucus voters agree.

By comparison, 63 percent of Iowa voters say belief in man-made climate change (and fighting it) is unacceptable, 56 percent of New Hampshire voters say raising taxes on the wealthy is a non-starter, and 52 percent of South Carolina voters say support for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship is a deal-breaker on one level or another.

Voters in all three states find a candidate who supports gay marriage to be about as amenable as one who doesn't toe the party line on any of these issues.

And while the numbers are surprising, they make some sense. A Pew poll conducted in March 2014 showed 39 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners supported gay marriage. Add the passage of time and the fact that non-Republicans can vote in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and you've got a potentially less anti-gay marriage electorate come next year.

So will we see a GOP candidate in 2016 endorse marriage equality? "Probably not," according to The Post. "While there are some supporters of immigration reform (see: Bush and Marco Rubio) and Common Core (Bush) in the group, the name of the game is alienating as few people as possible."

The report also speculates on whether the wording of the question in the polls -- asking about opposition to same-sex marriage instead of about support for it -- may have skewed the results. The other question that remains unanswered is how much a candidate's views on same-sex marriage will motivate and influence Republicans who support marriage equality versus those those who oppose it: "We're guessing it's still more of a voting issue for those who oppose gay marriage than those who support it -- at least on the GOP side." 


GOP 2016 Hopefuls Punt on Alabama Gay Marriage Questions

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While Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's pageantry plays out over the gay marriage fight in his state, Politico notes a number of likely GOP 2016 contenders are choosing to sit this one out.

When pressed on the fight in the Deep South state, where the chief justice has ordered county officials to ignore a federal court ruling permitting same-sex marriages, likely GOP 2016 contenders reached by POLITICO or interviewed elsewhere have largely tried to sidestep specifics.

Even some of the most conservative hopefuls prefer instead to talk more broadly about federalism and states’ rights, comments that come as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether same-sex marriage is a constitutional right applicable nationwide.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s answer is a typical example: “The problem is, I just don’t know the details of what arguments they are using” in Alabama, he said, adding that while he has “always believed that marriage has always been defined by states and regulated by states and should continue to be,” he would respect the Supreme Court decision.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is pushing a constitutional amendment to require that the federal government defer to the states on same-sex marriage, also avoided discussing the particulars of the Alabama case. “My view is that marriage is a question for the states,” he said.

CarsonPolitico adds the one notable exception was Dr. Ben Carson (right), who defended Moore's obstructionist efforts and said Moore "understands the importance of preserving states’ rights in the modern post-Civil War world in which we live."

The article also goes on to point out how other contenders like Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Scott Walker and Mike Huckabee are addressing the Alabama question and the wider issue of a likely future where nationwide marriage equality is the law of the land. 

Read the full article here


GOP-Controlled House Committee Kills Education Bill Amendment to Protect LGBT Students from Discrimination

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The Republican-controlled House Education & the Workforce Committee yesterday prohibited a vote on the inclusion of non-discrimination protections for LGBT students as part of an education reform bill, reports the Washington Blade.

During a committee markup of the Student Success Act, the committee voted along the party-line by 21-15 to table the amendment. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who is considered a supporter of marriage equality and recently became a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, is one of the Republicans who voted to table the amendment.

The proposed amendment was submitted by gay Democratic Rep. Jared Polis (above) who is also co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus.

Introducing the amendment, Polis said:

“This is something I think we can all agree on. Schools are there to serve all learners. I hope we don’t play out our social prejudices and arguments on the kids in school because it truly doesn’t matter in this context whether you think they ought to be able to have their marriages accepted by the government.

"Here, it’s simply about should they be able to go to school free of the fear of intimidation, and every child has that right as an American.”

FoxxHowever, North Carolina Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx (right) said that although she abhors “any kind of discrimination or any kind of intimidation,” she objected to the amendment because it was not relevant to the larger bill.

Republican Committee Chairman John Kline agreed with Foxx’s assessment, stating “the amendment is beyond the scope of a bill, which addresses improving elementary and secondary school education.”

Ian Thompson, legislative representative for the American Civil Liberties Union, said that Republicans “had an opportunity to act to better the lives of LGBT students and send a strong signal that harassment and discrimination have no place in our country’s public schools” but “chose to engage in legislative gamesmanship instead.”


Long Island To Have First Openly Gay GOP Legislative Candidate

Amos Goodman

Suffolk County will have an open seat in the county legislature when Second District seat holder Jay Schneiderman of the Independent Party is termed out at the end of the year after 12 years in the position. Likely candidate in the running for the seat is Amos Goodman of Springs (pictured above), a 31-year-old financial consultant who will be running on the Republican ticket.

Goodman is also openly gay, a facet of his personality that he makes no effort to hide, but says,

It’s probably the least interesting thing I am. It’s not a secret, but it’s one of 20 things I am. I’m not embarrassed about it. It’s not something I have to hide, but it’s not something I have to telegraph at every turn.

Perhaps more interesting is that Goodman is a member of both the National Rifle Association and the Human Rights Campaign.

The chairs of both South Fork Republican committees say that Goodman should be the choice in November, and Goodman has received support from party leadership at all levels. Goodman will be the first openly gay Republican to run for Long Island legislature. The Democrats have not yet revealed their choice for candidacy to oppose Goodman this fall.


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