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Wisconsin Democrats Ask Governor Scott Walker to Drop Defense of Gay Marriage Ban

Scott walkerA group of 15 Democratic state senators in Wisconsin sent out a letter on Wednesday urging Gov. Scott Walker and fellow Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to drop their defense of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, arguing it’s a waste of taxpayer money.

Last week, Van Hollen filed an appeal to U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb’s June 6 ruling that overturned the state’s ban. Walker is named defendant in the lawsuit.

The AP reports:

Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster says "Walker takes seriously the oath of office that he took to support the Wisconsin Constitution. If others do not take that oath seriously, that is their decision."

Van Hollen's spokeswoman Dana Brueck says he is fulfilling his oath and doing his job.

Arguments are set to be heard before the Seventh Circuit Court in Chicago on August 13. 


Republican Governor Scott Walker's Son Acted As Witness In Gay Marriage

Walkers

Alex Walker, the son of Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker, served as one of the legal witnesses at the marriage of a same-sex couple who was wed on June 9, The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports:  

WeddingRecords show Shelli Marquardt and Cathy Priem [pictured right] married at the Waukesha County Courthouse on June 9. Alex Walker, 19, scribbled his signature on the marriage certificate as one of two adult witnesses to the wedding. The certificate is on file with the Waukesha County register of deeds.

Laurel Patrick, a spokeswoman for the governor, confirmed Thursday that Walker's son was present for the event for the lesbian couple. One of the two women, Patrick noted, is a relative of first lady Tonette Walker.

"Shelli Marquardt is the first lady's cousin," Patrick said in a statement. "She is a part of the Walker family who they dearly love." [...]

Marquardt and Priem are listed, along with Walker and his wife, as hosts of an Independence Day barbecue starting at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Executive Residence. Both Marquardt and Priem are past donors to Walker's campaign fund, having given a total of $1,678. [...]

Patrick did not say whether the governor or first lady attended the same-sex wedding last month. Alex Walker did not respond to emails on Thursday.

Governor Walker has a complicated past with marriage equality. Despite having been a supporter of the 2006 constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in Wisconsin and supporting the state's Attorney General in requesting a stay of the ruling that overturned the marriage ban, he commented that, “I'm not going to pretend to tell a federal judge in that regard what he or she should do about it...I don't know what (allowing gay marriage) means. Voters don't talk to me about that.” 

Walker has continued his evasive tactics by saying he simply will not state a position on gay marriage at this point because it doesn't make any difference what he believes. As The Journal-Sentinel points out, "Asked June 12 if he were rethinking his views on gay marriage, the first-term Republican governor — and possible presidential contender — said: 'No, I'm just not stating one at all.'"

[Images via Twitter and Facebook]


Thursday Speed Read: Pennsylvania, Orrin Hatch, Luxembourg, NOM, Scott Walker, Wisconsin

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

PENNSYLVANIA IS SAFE AS NUMBER 19: Gaffney

A federal judge in Pennsylvania denied a petition Tuesday from a county clerk who asked to serve as intervenor in an appeal to defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The register of wills for Schuylkill County petitioned U.S. District Court Judge John Jones III after Republican Governor Tom Corbett said he would not appeal Jones’ May 20 decision in Whitewood v. Wolf, declaring the state ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. In his June 18 order, Jones said, “If the highest elected official in the Commonwealth chooses to abide by our decision, it defies credulity that we would permit a single citizen to stand in for him to perfect an appeal.”

HatchEXECUTIVE WRESTLING:

Just as President Obama’s staff is putting together an executive order to prohibit discrimination by federal contractors, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) posted a statement Tuesday on his senate website saying he thinks the order should include “the same religious protections that are included” in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed the Senate. That would not go over well with a growing number of LGBT activists and groups who are adamantly opposed to the religious exemptions in the current version of ENDA.

LuxembourgLUXEMBOURG MAKES 18:

The Luxembourg Chamber of Deputies voted Wednesday to allow same-sex couples to marry. The vote came after two efforts to block the bill through a citizens’ petition failed to garner the 4,500 signatures necessary, according to Luxembourg Wort newspaper.  Seventeen other countries have marriage equality laws: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, England, and Wales. Scotland’s new law goes into effect later this year.

NOM-logoNOM RALLIES IN WASHINGTON:

Two former, failed, and potential Republican presidential candidates, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, are among the speakers slated for a rally against same-sex couples today in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage. A lot of rancor has been focused on another prominent keynoter: San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. State and local officials in California implored Cordileone to withdraw his participation, as did a number of LGBT groups; but he said he does not consider the event to be anti-gay in nature.

WalkerWISCONSIN GOVERNOR IN HOT SEAT:

Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker is in the hot seat over his refusal to state a position on same-sex marriage. In an editorial Tuesday, the Capital Times newspaper in Madison took him to task: "Here's a politician that used the gay marriage card with reckless abandon during his many election campaigns…. He constantly attacked proposals that would allow a couple other than a man and a woman to marry and was one of the key supporters of the amendment that wrote discrimination against gays into the state's constitution back in 2006…. Now, he says it doesn't make any difference what he believes. We beg to differ.”

BaldwinBALDWIN, OTHERS URGE DOJ HELP:

Openly gay Senator Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Mark Pocan from Wisconsin sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Monday, asking that the federal government recognize the marriages of same-sex couples in Wisconsin even though the state —at the moment— will not. Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general argues that the marriages are not valid because they took place before federal Judge Barbara Crabb’s issued an injunction against enforcement of the ban. Although she declared the ban unconstitutional on June 6, Crabb did not issue her injunction until June 13, the same day she issued a stay of her decision and the injunction.  

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Wednesday Speed Read: Houston, Maine and NOM, Wisconsin, Pope Francis, World LGBT Rights

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

ParkerHOUSTON COUNCIL VOTES TODAY:

The Houston City Council is scheduled to vote today on an ordinance proposed by lesbian Mayor Annise Parker, to adopt a policy that prohibits discrimination based on a number of categories, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

MAINE LIKELY TO PENALIZE NOM:

A Maine election ethics commission will vote today on whether to fine the National Organization for Marriage for failing to register as a ballot question committee in a 2009 anti-gay referendum. The staff of the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices issued a 37-page report April 9, recommending the commission fine NOM more than $50,000 for its failure to register as a committee and file campaign finance reports that disclosed its donors. The report notes that NOM spent $3 million in Maine in 2009 to encourage voter passage of a repeal a law allowing same-sex couples to marry, most of it funneled into a group called Stand for Marriage Maine. “NOM intentionally set up its fundraising strategy to avoid donor disclosure,” states the staff letter. In a May 6 letter responding to the recommendation, a legal group called “Act Right” asserts that NOM “made no expenditures”’ under Maine law.

WalkerWISCONSIN BRACING FOR THE FALL:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, through his attorney general, filed a motion Friday asking U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to stay her decision in a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban if that decision finds the ban unconstitutional. Crabb (a Carter appointee) last month denied Walker’s request to dismiss an ACLU-led lawsuit, Wolf v. Walker. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also reported Friday that Walker has begun to express his own doubts about the ban’s constitutionality. “I'm not going to pretend to tell a federal judge in that regard what he or she should do about it," Walker told the paper. "...I don't know what (allowing gay marriage) means. Voters don't talk to me about that.” But the Sentinel noted that Republican Attorney General  J.B. Van Hollen has made clear he intends to appeal a losing ruling to the Seventh Circuit.

FrancisHRC ASKS POPE TO MEET WITH TEACHERS:

The Human Rights Campaign announced Tuesday that it has sent a letter to Pope Francis on behalf of nine teachers who have lost their jobs at Catholic schools either because they are gay or because they support a gay family member. The letter states that the teachers hope the pope’s "messages of acceptance” and “pastoral leadership” will enable him to “correct these hurtful injustices.” The letter was prompted in part by new policies being adopted by some dioceses, including Cincinnati, that call for firing any employee who even speaks in favor of the “homosexual lifestyle.” “We ask for a Papal audience with our families,” states the letter, “so that you may hear our personal stories firsthand and see the impact the Church's actions have had on us all."

RollercoasterGLOBAL ‘ROLLER COASTER’:

The Human Rights Campaign on May 15 released its inaugural issue of a report monitoring LGBT equal rights globally, and it characterized 2013 as a “proverbial roller coaster.” Six nations began allowing same-sex couples to marry, but Russia passed its harsh laws against “promoting” anything gay. Activism emerged in such countries as Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Iran, and yet Uganda and Nigeria cracked down with new laws criminalizing same-sex relations and imposing draconian penalties. Equality Rising notes: “Change is happening at a rapid rate. As some LGBT people are nearing legal equality, we must work together to ensure that others are not left behind.”

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Scott Walker Says Gay Marriage Ban is Part of 'a Healthy Balance' of Anti-Bias Laws in Wisconsin: VIDEO

Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker spoke with Bloomberg TV host Al Hunt about LGBT rights in his state, specifically anti-discrimination laws. While Walker suggested he supported ENDA because anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation have worked "quite effectively" in his state, he also defended the state's ban on same-sex marriage, calling it part of a "healthy" system.

Said Walker: "In Wisconsin, we’ve had anti-discriminatory laws that are very similar to [ENDA] for more than 30 years and they work quite effectively. We’re also a state that has a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as one man and one woman…I mean, we’ve not had problems. We’ve had no problems — I should say, limited problems — with [anti-discrimination laws]. At the same time, we still have a constitutional amendment that defines marriage. There’s a healthy balance there.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via think progress)

Continue reading "Scott Walker Says Gay Marriage Ban is Part of 'a Healthy Balance' of Anti-Bias Laws in Wisconsin: VIDEO" »


Scott Walker Sees GOP Far Removed From Reality: VIDEO

MTPPortman

David Gregory and the Meet the Press round table today spent some time discussing Ohio Sen. Rob Portman's announcement that he's bucking Republican Party policy and supports marriage equality.

One of the MTP guests, GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, was asked whether same-sex nuptials are a civil rights issue worth fighting for and whether younger Republican voters will expect their candidates to back equality. Walker's responses to both questions are text book avoidance.

First, he downplayed the idea that Portman represents a "sea change" for the party — "I think the senator's announcement made the topic timely," he said — and made it seem as if voters don't care about marriage equality anyway, "It really isn't an issue; it didn't come up in my 2010 election, it didn't come up in 2012." To the second part, whether it's a generational matter, he switched topics.

Here's transcript from ThinkProgress:

GREGORY: Are younger conservatives more apt to see marriage equality as something that is, you know, what they believe, that is basic rather than as a disqualifying issue?

WALKER: I think there’s no doubt about that. But I think that's all the more reason, when I talk about things, I talk about the economic and fiscal crises in our state and in our country, that's what people want to resonate about. They don’t want to get focused on those issues.

While Walker lets his imagination run wild, over half the country thinks marriage equality should be legal and TP's Igor Volsky notes that 83% of Americans think same-sex nuptials will be legal within the next 5-10 years, so clearly it is an issue Americans are thinking about.

No wonder former Oklahoma Gov. and fellow Republican Frank Keating disagreed with Walker and said there is a sea change, though Keating also said he wants marriage decided by the states. "That's federalism working as it should," he said.

You can watch his and the other panelists' remarks AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Scott Walker Sees GOP Far Removed From Reality: VIDEO" »


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