Tammy Baldwin Hub




80 Congressional Democrats Call Bull On One Year Gay Blood Deferral, Urge Obama Administration To Lift Ban

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Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, along with 78 other congressional Democrats, urged the Obama Administration to lift the ban on gay men donating blood on Monday, calling the 1983 policy archaic and a scientifically unjustified barrier reports BuzzFeedThe two lawmakers wrote a detailed letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell.

BloodThe lawmakers' request comes after the FDA reaffirmed that it will not repeal the longstanding ban on gay blood. The request also addresses the recommendation by the Health and Human Services’ Advisory Committee on Blood & Tissue Safety & Availability's relaxation on the lifetime ban to instead ban donations from men who have had sex with men in the previous year. However, the lawmakers believe both policies are unfair saying, "both policies are discriminatory, and both approaches are unacceptable.”

In the letter the lawmakers request that the ban should be replaced with a "risk-based blood donation policy.” The most poignant part of the letter addresses the common objection of gay men donating blood; that gay men tend to be higher carriers of HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS.

Said lawmakers:

“The pertinent scientific question is not whether a cross-section of the population is more likely than another to transmit an infection, but rather whether an across-the-board, risk-based screening will reduce the likelihood of all infectious contaminations.”

Two other letters were addressed in the past concerning the ban however, the latest letter explicitly lays out the lawmakers’ policy platform and asks Secretary Burwell several pointed questions. The prominent question is will Burwell "Commit to replacing the lifetime deferral policy by the end of 2014?" And if a blood-screening network is established, when would it be functional, and would it need to be up and running to roll back the ban?

The lawmakers expect Burwell to address the matter before or on Dec. 22. 

Read the letter below:


Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI): To Win Elections, GOP Must Agree with Voters on Gay Marriage: VIDEO

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Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin appeared on CNBC's Squawk Box this week, and his strategy for bolstering the GOP in upcoming elections was anything but conventional. Johnson called himself "a pretty traditional guy" and said that he believes "marriage is between a man and a woman." However, the Republican stated that his fellow party members need to focus less on social issues like abortion and marriage equality and stick to their economic policy, citing the legitimacy of the voting public's beliefs and state-by-state passage of same-sex marriage laws. 

Watch the Squawk Box segment, AFTER THE JUMP...

Think Progress reports:

The senator’s policy hasn’t always matched his rhetoric, however. He is signed on this Congress as a co-sponsor of the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to institute federal limits on abortion and the DC Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The measure would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Johnson may have turned over a new leaf now that his state's same-sex marriage ban has been struck down (though it is in the appeal stages) and Wisconsinites voted for Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay senator, in the 2012 election cycle.

Continue reading "Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI): To Win Elections, GOP Must Agree with Voters on Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


Tuesday Speed Read: Primary Day, White House Forum on LGBT Rights, Mike Michaud

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

MizeurBIG PRIMARY DAY FOR LGBT CANDIDATES:

Ten openly LGBT candidates are running in primary races today, including lesbian State Delegate Heather Mizeur in her bid for the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland and Sean Eldridge, the spouse of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, running for the Democratic nomination to a U.S. House seat. Eldridge is unopposed for the Democratic nomination, but Mizeur is running third against two much better known and well funded state elected officials. Another important primary is that of openly gay U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney. He’s unopposed for the Democratic nomination, but both he and the Republican candidate are also on the Independent Party ballot.

OTHER RACES TO WATCH: Madaleno

Maryland’s Democratic primary offers another interesting match up today: openly gay incumbent State Senator Richard Madaleno against LGBT activist Dana Beyer. The winner of the primary takes the seat because there is no Republican running. First-term incumbent Democratic Delegate Luke Clippinger has four opponents for his Maryland legislative district. And first-term incumbent Democrat Bonnie Cullison has five for her Maryland district. Incumbent Democratic Delegate Maggie McIntosh also has a challenger for her seat in Maryland. Evan Glass is running for re-election as a member of the Montgomery County Council in Maryland, and Byron Macfarlane is running for re-election as register of wills for Howard County, Maryland.

WHITE HOUSE LGBT FORUM: Rice

The White House sent out a press notice after 6 p.m. Monday alerting reporters about a “White House Forum on Global LGBT Human Rights” today. Those wishing to cover the event had until 10:30 this morning to RSVP. The notice says activists from around the world would be meeting with “the broader human rights community to discuss how to partner with the U.S. government….” National Security Advisor Susan Rice will deliver a keynote which will be webcast live at 2:15 p.m. EDT.

BALDWIN TO TESTIFY:

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is among the eight female senators who will testify before a Congressional hearing this morning on “combating violence and discrimination against women around the world. The hearing will be webcast live beginning at 9:45 a.m. EDT.

MICHAUD HOLDS SHAKY LEAD: Michaud

Openly gay U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat, has a four-point lead in his effort to unseat Maine’s Republican incumbent Governor Paul LePage, but the Portland-Press Herald said its latest poll suggests voters might swing their support to an independent candidate. A victory by Michaud in November would be historic, making him the first openly gay person to be elected governor. The poll conducted June 12-18 shows Michaud with 40 percent, LePage with 36, and independent Eliot Cutler with a mere 15. But the margin of error is 4.3 points and seven percent of those surveyed were undecided. In one-on-one match ups, Cutler leads LePage by 12 points, while Michaud leads by seven. “Poll results suggest that many Mainers will watch to see whether independent Eliot Cutler or Democrat Mike Michaud has the better chance this fall of unseating the governor, then vote strategically,” said the paper.

A NEWS LOW:

The only institutions that the public holds in worse esteem than Congress and “big business” are television news and internet news. A Gallup poll asking 1,027 adults nationally to identify “how much confidence” they have in 17 institutions (“great,” “quite a lot,” “some,” or “very little”) found the greatest confidence for the military (74 percent), “small business” (62 percent), the police (53 percent), and “the church or organized religion” (45 percent). At rock bottom was Congress (7 percent), followed by “television news” (18 percent), “news on the Internet” (19 percent), and “big business” (21 percent).

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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.


Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) Reacts After Gay Marriage Ruling: 'The Wisconsin I Know Deserves Better'

Wisconsin's Attorney General JB Van Hollen and Senator Tammy Baldwin released statements following yesterday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb which put gay marriages on hold in the state.

BaldwinSaid Van Hollen:

“I am very pleased that Judge Crabb has followed the lead of courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court, and fully stayed her ruling. By staying this ruling, she has confirmed that Wisconsin’s law regarding same-sex marriage remains in full force and effect. The state and all of its agencies and subdivisions must follow and enforce Wisconsin’s marriage law.  County clerks do not have authority under Wisconsin law to issue same-sex marriage licenses.  Judge Crabb’s stay makes this abundantly clear."

Said Baldwin:

“I believe that we owe it to the next generation to give them a Wisconsin that is more equal, not less equal. The Wisconsin I know deserves better than a Governor defending discrimination and an Attorney General prosecuting progress. Wisconsin should be a place where every family’s love and commitment can be recognized and respected under the law. It is time for Governor Walker and Attorney General Van Hollen to stop standing in the way of freedom, fairness and equality for all Wisconsinites. Love is love, family is family, and discriminating against anyone’s love, against anyone’s family, is just plain wrong.”


Monday Speed Read: Ohio Marriage, Nevada GOP, Tammy Baldwin, Mark Takano, Kyrsten Sinema

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

OhioOHIO DECISION EXPECTED TODAY:

Today is the self-imposed deadline a federal judge in Cincinnati set for issuing a formal ruling that Ohio’s ban on same-sex couples marrying is unconstitutional. State Attorney General Mike DeWine has already indicated he will appeal the decision and is expected to seek an emergency stay to block its enforcement.

NEVADA GOP STAKES BIGGER TENT:

The Republican Party of Nevada, at its annual convention Saturday, overwhelmingly voted for a platform that removes previous language defining marriage as being only between a man and a woman. Ed Williams, president of Log Cabin Republicans of Nevada and a delegate at the convention, said the state party “has made it clear that they want a 'bigger tent' and has welcomed us into it." National Log Cabin Executive Director Gregory Angelo praised the Nevada Log Cabin chapter for making a “critical difference pushing the GOP toward the right side of history.”

BaldwinLET US EAT BOLOGNA!

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is taking a lead in defending the right of U.S. meat, cheese, and beer producers to call their products what they want. Baldwin, joined by more than 40 of her Senate colleagues, sent a letter April 4 to the USDA and the U.S. Trade Representatives, saying the European Union is attempting to impair U.S. competition with these products by prohibiting the U.S. versions from being identified by such common names as bratwurst, bologna, Octoberfest, feta, and parmesan. The EU says the names are indicative of a geographically specific product. But Baldwin is pushing back. “If the United States were to be subjected to a ban of these traditional names for various products,” she wrote, “consumers may be confused and Wisconsin dairy farmers, meat producers and beer brewers could suffer.”

TakanoTAKANO STAGES ‘INTERVENTION’:

U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) staged a mock intervention on the U.S. House floor April 2. He said he wanted to help House Republicans overcome their obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act. “To my Republican friends, I want to say, this is a safe place. We are here to help. Your addiction to repealing Obamacare and peddling conspiracy theories about the law are not doing any good – for yourselves or for the American people. Stop standing on the wrong side of history….Let’s move on!”

SinemaSINEMA’S ON THE RUN IN BOSTON:

Bisexual U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who in November became the first active member of Congress ever to complete an Ironman competition, is registered to run next Monday in the Boston Marathon. Sinema posted a message on Twitter Sunday indicating she was running to honor survivors of last year’s bombing at the finish line.

FACING THE NATION:

CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer sounded somewhat fatigued by the subject matter Sunday when asked Evan Wolfson, head of the national Freedom to Marry group, “So, now it’s gay rights. Is that the next chapter of the civil rights…uh…struggle that’s been going on for so long?” “I wouldn’t call it the next chapter,” said Wolfson, “I think it’s part of the same struggle. I think that what the struggle ... that the civil rights movement did so much to lay the foundation for… was to create an America that’s a more perfect union for everybody. And gay people are part of that everybody. But as we’ve just all heard and said, we’re not done with any of these fights on any of these fronts that overlap anyway. My blood boils when I see voter suppression and the assault on women’s access to contraception…. Civil rights is about the America we want for everybody.”

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


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