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Scott Walker Admits He's Attended a Same-sex Wedding Reception: VIDEO

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Add Wisconsin governor and likely presidential candidate Scott Walker to the growing list of Republicans who've been asked "Would you attend a gay wedding?"

The New York Times reports:

“That’s certainly a personal issue,” Mr. Walker said at a brief news conference after addressing a gathering of New Hampshire Republicans here. Referring to his wife, he continued, “Tonette and I and our family already had a family member who’s had a reception. I haven’t been to a wedding. That’s true even though my position on marriage is still that’s defined between a man and a woman, and I support the Constitution of the state. But for someone I love, we’ve been at a reception.” The governor was away on business when the wedding occurred, but he later attended a reception for the newlyweds.

Last June, a cousin of Mrs. Walker, Shelli Marquardt, was married to her partner at Waukesha County Courthouse outside Milwaukee, according to media reports. The Walkers’ then-19-year-old son, Alex, served as a witness and signed his name to the marriage certificate.

Watch Walker give his answer, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Scott Walker Admits He's Attended a Same-sex Wedding Reception: VIDEO" »


2016 GOP Hopefuls Line Up to Defend Indiana's Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Law

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The leading GOP contenders for the 2016 White House race have spoken out about Indiana's new "religious freedom" law and the #BoycottIndiana backlash - with all candidates supporting the law to varying degrees.

Find out exactly what each right-winger said to get a glimpse into how the debate over these "license to discriminate" proposals will likely play out over the coming election, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "2016 GOP Hopefuls Line Up to Defend Indiana's Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Law" »


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


Seeking Conservative Endorsement, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Touts Anti-Gay Views

WalkerCurrent Wisconsin Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Scott Walker (R) has been careful to avoid publicly expressing his official views on hot button issues like abortion and gay marriage. In the face of the looming November 4th election date however, Walker has begun to more aggressively court Wisconsin’s conservative vote. In an attempt to secure endorsement from Wisconsin Family Action, a conservative 501c(4) organization, Walker opened up about his stance on same sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose.

"I would hope that my record and the stark contrast with my opponent's positions would garner your support," the governor implored, asserting his belief that marriage could only be defined as a union between a man and a woman.

Before becoming governor Walker openly endorsed a proposal for a same sex marriage ban within Wisconsin. More recently he’s dodged direct questions about his opinions on marriage equality given steadily shifting poll numbers indicating the public’s broadening acceptance.

"He hasn't been straight with people," said Mary Burke, Burke’s primary democratic competition. "He does owe it to the people of Wisconsin to be clear on these issues."

Walker reaffirmed his opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, pointing to his decisions to cut funding, access, and support to abortion providers throughout the state. Last year Walker stealthily signed a bill into law that required women seeking abortions to undergo medically unnecessary ultrasounds. The bill also drastically reduced the number of centers allowed to perform abortions by banning doctors without broader admitting privileges from performing the procedure.

"This bill improves a woman's ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future," Walker said of the bill, which he pointedly elected to sign in private.


Wisconsin Gov. Walker To Grant Recognition To 550 Same-Sex Couples Married In June

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) has announced that the state will recognize the 550 or so marriages between same-sex couples that were performed this past June in the wake of a federal judge's ruling that found Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports:

Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said his administration would now treat same-sex and opposite-sex couples the same for issuing wedding licenses and "determining the rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage."

"Per the guidance from the Department of Justice, state agencies will examine and update forms, manuals, and other documents consistent with the ruling, and the state will be treating licenses issued in June as valid marriage licenses," Patrick said. 
 
Larry Dupuis, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, called the order "great news" and said it should help to wrap up litigation over gay marriage. The ACLU represents same-sex couples who brought the original lawsuit against the state for recognition of the right to marry as well as a follow-up lawsuit regarding several hundred couples who didn't have their June marriages recognized.
 
Kiersten Bloechl-Karlsen, one of the plaintiffs in the follow-up lawsuit, praised the order.
 
"In our case, I’ve been a mother to our little girl since the day she was born but was unable to sign her birth certificate. We can now pursue a second parent adoption so that our right as a family to remain legally connected to each other, no matter what happens, is not compromised," she said in a statement.
 
In a question and answer page on its web page, the state Department of Revenue said that going forward same-sex newlyweds will need to file their taxes as married filing jointly or separately, just as other couples do. 
 
Couples will also be available to file amended tax returns for 2013 and prior years where applicable, according to the agency. That would allow couples to go as far back as amending tax returns filed for the 2010 tax year in April 2011. 

Marriage equality was halted in Wisconsin after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed Federal Judge Barbara Crabb's decision and decided to review the case. The 7th Circuit ruled unanimously against the ban. As a consequence, the state appealed the appellate court's ruling to the Supreme Court. The high Court passed on the case, leaving in place the 7th Circuit's ruling. Following that decision from the Court, a spokesperson for Governor Walker then commented, "Our office is working with the Department of Justice to evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court's decision and determine next steps for the state." Next steps that now seem to indicate a fuller measure of equality for Wisconsin's LGBT citizens.


Wisconsin Gov. Walker Reacts to SCOTUS Marriage Denial; Some Counties Begin Issuing Licenses

Wisconsin

Dane and Outgamie Counties in Wisconsin have begun issuing marriage licenses to Gay couples, WBAY reports. "Brown County, Calumet County and Fond du Lac County say they are waiting for more guidance from the Wisconsin Attorney General's Office."

Also:

WalkerThe Wisconsin Attorney General's Office says they will work with clerks as couples as the office's legal fight to uphold a voter-approved ban on gay marriage ends. They released this statement:

"Today's action by the U.S. Supreme Court allows Judge Crabb's order to take effect. The Department, having made every effort to fulfill its duty to defend the state constitution, will now work with its state agency clients to implement the order."

A spokesperson for Gov. Scott Walker (pictured) released this statement:

"Our office is working with the Department of Justice to evaluate the impact of the Supreme Court's decision and determine next steps for the state."

Dane County is home to Madison. Outgamie is home to Appleton.

UPDATE: Milwaukee and Waushara Counties will begin issuing licenses today as well.


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