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GOP Establishment Seeking to Tweak Party's 2016 Anti-gay Marriage Platform with Sen. Rob Portman's Help

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An interesting tidbit of news out of CNN today:

PortmanWhatever the Supreme Court decides, social conservatives active in the Republican Party are vowing to leave tough language opposing same-sex marriage in the GOP's 2016 platform.

But a group of establishment GOP leaders wants to drop the language, believing it hurts the party with young people and some other voters.

And CNN is told they hope Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio will take a lead role in reshaping the platform.

Watch CNN's John King discuss Portman's possible 2016 role, AFTER THE JUMP...

Portman, you'll likely recall, became the first sitting GOP senator to back same-sex marriage. That was back in March 2013. Since then Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Mark Kirk, as well as a handful of GOP House members, have joined the growing ranks. 

Wrote Portman in an op-ed for The Columbia Dispatch shortly after his announcement:

Portman2Two years ago, my son Will, then a college freshman, told my wife, Jane, and me that he is gay. He said he’d known for some time, and that his sexual orientation wasn’t something he chose; it was simply a part of who he is. Jane and I were proud of him for his honesty and courage. We were surprised to learn he is gay but knew he was still the same person he’d always been. The only difference was that now we had a more complete picture of the son we love.

At the time, my position on marriage for same-sex couples was rooted in my faith tradition that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman. Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective: that of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love, a blessing Jane and I have shared for 26 years.

The Republican Party's current platform, last updated in 2012, has this to say on the issue of marriage:

The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engage in crime, or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals. Furthermore, the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also to more government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.

Of the six declared GOP 2016 candidates for president, four (Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Marco Rubio) are completely opposed to marriage equality. Carly Fiorina has remained vague on the issue saying recently that the debate over same-sex marriage "is an important conversation that is going on in homes, churches, and communities across the country. I think that the worst thing the Supreme Court can do right now is shortcut this conversation."

Rand Paul, meanwhile, remains "offended" by same-sex marriage but says he's open to gay couples signing marriage "contracts" just as long as religion isn't involved. 

Continue reading "GOP Establishment Seeking to Tweak Party's 2016 Anti-gay Marriage Platform with Sen. Rob Portman's Help" »


Eleven Senate Republicans Join Democrats in Voting to Guarantee Equal Benefits for Married Gay Couples

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In an unexpected move Thursday night, eleven Senate Republicans joined all Democrats on a nonbinding vote to guarantee equal Social Security and veterans benefits to married same-sex couples, regardless of state laws on gay marriage.

Buzzfeed reports:

The amendment, proposed by Sen. Brian Schatz, addressed the fact that both Social Security and some provisions of veterans’ benefits are, by statute, provided to spouses on the basis of whether a couple’s marriage is recognized by the state in which they live. The amendment would provide for benefits for spouses for all married same-sex couples, regardless of where they live.

The four Republicans who have previously announced support for marriage equality — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Rob Portman of Ohio — were joined by seven GOP colleagues in supporting the amendment. Of the four, only Portman lives in a state that does not recognize same-sex couples’ marriages.

The other seven GOP senators were Kelly Ayotte (NH), Richard Burr (NC), Thom Tillis (NC), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Dean Heller (NV), Ron Johnson (WI), and Bob Corker (TN). 

Yesterday, we reported on a U.S. district judge in Texas issuing an order blocking the new Family & Medical Leave Act rule allowing married, same-sex couples to take unpaid leave to care for sick spouses. The order affected Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Nebraska.


Senator Rob Portman Will Not Seek Republican Party's Nomination for President in 2016

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Republican Senator from Ohio Rob Portman announced yesterday that he would neither seek nor accept his party's nomination for President of the United States in 2016. Portman also made clear he was not interested in being considered as a Vice-Presidential running mate in this next national election cycle. Portman was considered on the short list to fill the VP slot in both 2008 and 2012.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Mr. Portman said he’ll seek re-election to a second Senate term, where his party has won a majority for the first time since he has been in the Senate. He served in a House GOP majority during most of his 12 years in that chamber.

“While I appreciate the encouragement I have received from many to run for president, my focus will remain on Ohio and running for re-election to the Senate in 2016,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to formally announcing my re-election campaign in the new year.”

Portman notably came out in favor of marriage equality after his college-aged son came out to him. Portman was the only serious Republican contender who had endorsed same-sex marriage. 

Portman was seen by many as an attractive candidate for the GOP because of his reputation as being one of the "Senate’s more deliberative center-right members", according to the AP, and being from the crucial swing-state of Ohio. However, had Portman decided to make a run for the White House, his path to his party's nomination would not have been unobstructed. Brian Brown and The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) announced they would go after Portman if he ran in 2016 because of his views on marriage equality:

"Rob Portman can forget about getting elected President of the United States," Brown said. "If he runs we will make sure that GOP primary voters are aware of his desire to redefine marriage and his willingness to see federal judges set aside the votes of 50 million Americans who enacted marriage amendments across the country because his son is gay. Rob Portman's son has a right to live as he chooses, but that does not give his father the right to redefine marriage."

Portman himself made note of how difficult a national bid would prove for him, given his views on marriage equality:

"It puts me at odds with my party in many respects. I believe it’s a conservative position...I never really thought deeply about it [before my son came to me]. It seems to me to the extent that it’s not a choice, which is what believe. That is, Republicans ought to treat people as they are...It probably makes it difficult for me to win the primary election at a national election.”


NOM Takes Credit For Defeating Gay Republicans, Will Target Sen. Rob Portman in 2016

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The National Organization for Marriage is taking credit for the defeat of several openly gay and pro-marriage equality Republicans on Nov. 4. Not surprisingly, though, a closer examination of election results raises significant questions about the group's claims. NOM wrote in a press release Monday:

Through their Super PAC, the NOM Victory Fund, the nation's largest organization supporting natural marriage opposed the election of Republican US House candidates Carl DeMaio (CA52) and Richard Tisei (MA6) as well as Republican US Senate candidate Monica Wehby of Oregon. Tisei and Wehby were defeated on Election Day while DeMaio conceded defeat yesterday.

DemaioDeMaio and Tisei are openly gay, and Wehby campaigned in support of marriage equality. However, in his analysis of how same-sex marriage played in the mid-term elections, The Washington Blade's Chris Johnson notes that the candidates who defeated DeMaio, Tisei and Wehby all support LGBT rights:

One might argue conservatives were so disaffected in those races that they stayed home and didn’t provide the necessary support to overcome the Republican rivals of Democratic candidates, especially in close races like California’s 52nd congressional district, where DeMaio was ahead in the final tally and declared the loser only after the provisional ballots were counted.

But that wouldn’t explain other races in which Republican challengers who support marriage equality were able to unseat Democratic opponents in close contests. Robert Dold, a former Republican House member who came out for marriage equality after leaving office, won in his bid to unseat Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), as did Carlos Curbelo, a Republican supporter of same-sex marriage who unseated Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.).

Dold and Curbelo were backed by Log Cabin Republicans, which reported that 10 of its 16 endorsed federal candidates won their races. "Election night was a terrific night to be a Republican, and an especially good night to be a Log Cabin Republican," Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo said in a release. 

Angelo said losses by DeMaio and Tisei made the results "bittersweet," but suggested that anti-gay groups like NOM weren't any more of a factor in those races than "vitriolic Democrats who would stop at nothing to maintain the identity politics status quo that keeps them in power."

PortmanEven without Demaio and Tisei, the number of House Republicans who support marriage equality will increase to six in the 114th Congress. Meanwhile, the Senate will include at least four Republicans who support marriage equality, including Ohio's Rob Portman, who has been identified as a possible GOP presidential candidate. And that's precisely where NOM President Brian Brown says the group is now turning its attention.

"Rob Portman can forget about getting elected President of the United States," Brown said in the group's press release Monday. "If he runs we will make sure that GOP primary voters are aware of his desire to redefine marriage and his willingness to see federal judges set aside the votes of 50 million Americans who enacted marriage amendments across the country because his son is gay. Rob Portman's son has a right to live as he chooses, but that does not give his father the right to redefine marriage."

"Rob Portman can forget about getting elected President of the United States," said Brown. "If he runs we will make sure that GOP primary voters are aware of his desire to redefine marriage and his willingness to see federal judges set aside the votes of 50 million Americans who enacted marriage amendments across the country because his son is gay. Rob Portman's son has a right to live as he chooses, but that does not give his father the right to redefine marriage. - See more at: http://www.nomblog.com/39827/#sthash.hfNxvuQL.dpuf
"Rob Portman can forget about getting elected President of the United States," said Brown. "If he runs we will make sure that GOP primary voters are aware of his desire to redefine marriage and his willingness to see federal judges set aside the votes of 50 million Americans who enacted marriage amendments across the country because his son is gay. Rob Portman's son has a right to live as he chooses, but that does not give his father the right to redefine marriage. - See more at: http://www.nomblog.com/39827/#sthash.hfNxvuQL.dpuf

GOP Sen. Rob Portman: Supporting Marriage Equality is 'A Position I Feel Very Comfortable With' - VIDEO

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In a kayaking interview with Johnathan Karl for Politics Confidential, Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) spoke at length about his decision last year to come out in support of marriage equality after his son Will told him he was gay. 

Said Portman:

I've thought about it more deeply and thought about the fact that this is not a choice and that my son deserves to have the same happiness that Jane and I have had and the stability that comes with marriage. We want to encourage that as Republicans. It's a position I feel very comfortable with and I'm glad I made it. 

Portman also discussed the reaction he's received from other parents of gay children, whether he thinks the GOP will evolve on the issue like he did, and his plans for 2016.

Check out the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "GOP Sen. Rob Portman: Supporting Marriage Equality is 'A Position I Feel Very Comfortable With' - VIDEO " »


Rob Portman Says His Support for Gay Marriage Will Make a National Run for Office Difficult: VIDEO

Portman

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who came out for marriage equality in March 2013 after his son Will told him he is gay, gave an interview to the Hoover Institution, part of which touched on the subject of his support for same-sex marriage and gay rights, Buzzfeed reports.

Said Portman: "It puts me at odds with my party in many respects. I believe it’s a conservative position...I never really thought deeply about it [before my son came to me]. It seems to me to the extent that it’s not a choice, which is what believe. That is, Republicans ought to treat people as they are...It probably makes it difficult for me to win the primary election at a national election.”

Watch the full interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rob Portman Says His Support for Gay Marriage Will Make a National Run for Office Difficult: VIDEO" »


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