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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


Ted Cruz Reintroduces Anti-Gay Bill That Would 'Defend' States' Right To Regulate Marriage

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Two Texas Republicans reintroduced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in states that ban them.  

Sen. Ted Cruz (above), who introduced the State Marriage Defense Act along with Rep. Randy Weber (right), said in a press release:

“Even though the Supreme Court made clear in United States v. Windsor that the federal government should defer to state ‘choices about who may be married,’ the Obama Administration has disregarded state marriage laws enacted by democratically-elected legislatures to uphold traditional marriage. I support traditional marriage and we should reject attempts by the Obama Administration to force same-sex marriage on all 50 states. The State Marriage Defense Act helps safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for their citizens.”

Weber added

Weber“The 10th Amendment was established to protect state sovereignty and individual rights from being seized by the Federal Government. States are currently struggling against activist court judges overstepping their constitutional authority by legislating from the bench, and an Obama Administration attempting to counter marriage laws voted on by the American people.”

“Multiple court cases defending state marriage laws are still awaiting Supreme Court review. While my hope is that the Supreme Court will uphold the right of voters to affirm the truth that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, it is imperative that Congress prevent federal agencies from undermining intact marriage laws in states like Texas.”

The Human Rights Campaign called the bill "shameful": 

"Ted Cruz and Randy Weber are proposing legislation that would do real harm to legally married same-sex couples in states across this country," said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. "But what really stands out is the fact that they would use this reckless and irresponsible legislation to take important federal benefits away from their own Texas constituents. This just solidified their standing as two of the most extreme opponents of equality in America."

This legislation would roll back the federal government’s robust implementation of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and extended recognition to the lawful marriages of same-sex couples for most federal spousal benefits.  Agencies across the federal government have taken the fairest and most practicable approach by recognizing those couples for most federal purposes, even if they currently live in a state that does not itself respect their marriages.

The bill would callously strip federal rights and benefits from married same-sex couples – like federal employee health benefits, military spouse benefits, immigration rights, and many others – simply because of the state in which they currently live.  In the name of protecting “states’ rights,” the bill would take spousal benefits away from the wife of a soldier serving in Afghanistan if she and their children were stationed in a state without marriage equality.  In order to “defend marriage,” his legislation would force a grieving widower to pay an unfair tax on his husband’s estate, simply because the couple had retired nearer to grandchildren in their golden years.  This legislation would make our nation’s already-unfair patchwork of laws even more burdensome for same-sex couples, and undermine the promise of equal treatment embodied in the historic Windsor decision.

The bill, which went nowhere last year, has 11 co-sponsors in the Senate and 23 co-sponsors in the House. 

Cruz's press release notes that he also plans to introduce a federal marriage amendment later this year. 


Social Conservatives Demanding GOP 2016 Candidates Weigh In Against Gay Marriage

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With gay marriage legal in most states and the Supreme Court set to weigh in this summer, likely ruling in favor of marriage equality, this issue should be all but done with by now. Even members of the GOP elite are switching in favor and would be happy to move on from the issue...but their constituents won't let them, as Politico points out. 

Iowa Senate contender Sam Clovis said: 

If you dodge the question, then it’s the kiss of death. Candidates have got to be declarative about where they stand. Period. If you’re not vocally pro-life and pro-traditional marriage, I don’t think you can win here because you’re going to get hammered.

The elite may desire to move on or even change, and the less-elite like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Scott Walker are willing to concede the loss, but the Tea Party is only too happy to keep wallowing in the issue with Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz all continuing to wave the "gay marriage is evil" banner:

  • “I don’t think it’s over. I don’t hear any fat lady singing. I think we have to continue to stand up for what we believe in." - Ben Carson
  • "There’s no such thing in the Constitution as judicial supremacy where the courts make a ruling and it becomes quote ‘the law of the land." - Mike Huckabee
  • "I know that many politicians are evolving, or so-called evolving, on this issue based on the polls. I don’t change my views based on the polls." - Bobby Jindal
  • "From the beginning of this country, marriage has been a question of the states, and we should not have the federal government, or unelected judges, setting aside the policy judgment of the elected legislatures and imposing their own instead." - Ted Cruz

Making the issue even nastier and more complicated is the insistence of evangelicals entangling the issue of legal, civil gay marriage with religious liberty violations.


Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz Want to Enshrine Anti-gay Discrimination in the U.S. Constitution

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Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said today he supports Sen. Ted Cruz' proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would enable states to continue outlawing gay marriage regardless of any future Supreme Court ruling on the issue, Talking Points Memo reports:

ABC's "This Week' host George Stephanopoulos asked Jindal if he backed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R) remark that states should just ignore a Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage.

"I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. My faith teaches me that, my Christian faith teaches me that," Jindal responded. "If the Supreme Court were to throw out our law, our constitutional amendment -- I hope they wouldn't do that -- if they were to do that, I certainly will support Ted Cruz and others that are talking about making an amendment in the congress and D.C., a constitutional amendment to allow states to continue to define marriage."

Washington Blade reported Wednesday on Cruz' renewed call for a constitutional amendment to stop marriage equality:

“I’m a constitutionalist. From the beginning of this country, marriage has been a question of the states, and we should not have the federal government, or unelected judges, setting aside the policy judgment of the elected legislatures and imposing their own instead.” 

As he announced in October, Cruz told the Blade he still intends to introduce a constitutional amendment that would prohibit judges from overturning state laws on marriage, but suggested courts already lack the authority to rule in favor of marriage equality. 

“Because, as I said, I’m a constitutionalist,” Cruz said. “If a state chooses to adopt gay marriage, that’s within its constitutional authority to do so, but if it chooses not to, if it chooses traditional marriage, that is also within its constitutional purview. Part of the genius of the framers of our Constitution was allowing for the now 50 states to be laboratories of democracy, to adopt and reflect different policy choices state by state.” 

Earlier today, we reported on Jindal's prayer rally held at LSU over the weekend that featured a variety of self-proclaimed prohets, doomsday sayers, and anti-gay nuts. 


Jon Stewart Skewers the GOP Responses to SOTU: 'How Many F--king People Are At This Tea Party?' - VIDEO

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With the State of the Union address behind us, Jon Stewart took an exasperated look last night at the many nominees for this year's Implody Award for "outstanding achievement in unforced response speech errors."

Nominees included Senator Jodi Ernst for her mind-numbing official GOP response, Rep. Curt Clawson for his rambling Tea Party response and Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz for their own ego-driven personal responses. 

Stewart, before awarding this year's Implody to Cruz, offered up some sage advice to the Texas firebrand:

"If you're looking to run for president, maybe you shouldn't make your response to the State of the Union look like a ransom video...or the part of the porno everybody fast forwards through."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jon Stewart Skewers the GOP Responses to SOTU: 'How Many F--king People Are At This Tea Party?' - VIDEO" »


Ted Cruz' Anti-Gay Bigot Father Joins Growing Battle Over LGBT Protections In Plano, Texas: VIDEO

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Sen. Ted Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, has joined the effort to repeal LGBT protections in Plano, Texas. 

The elder Cruz, who lives in nearby Carrollton, spoke Wednesday at a press conference in Plano (above) organized by the Texas Pastor Council, the shadowy Houston-based group that's leading a petition drive to overturn Plano's recently passed Equal Rights Ordinance.

From The Dallas Morning News' report on the press conference: 

"This is an attack on Judeo-Christian beliefs in America," Cruz told a Plano crowd. "It's time people of faith become involved in the political arena." ... 

Mike Buster, executive pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, called the ordinance a travesty. “We believe the Plano City Council is attempting to silence people of faith in the workplace,” he said. ... 

Incoming state Rep. Matt Shaheen said he and several other local lawmakers are drafting a bill that would prohibit cities from enacting ordinances that go beyond existing anti-discrimination protections.

 CBSDFW.com has more: 

It was standing room only when leaders of the anti-ordinance coalition called on supporters to help gather signatures and force a vote to get rid of the equal rights law.

“This ordinance needs to be repealed. If it’s not repealed, then we’ll go to the courts, and we’ll spend and cause the city to incur tens of thousands of dollars,” said Jeff Mateer of the Liberty Institute.

The new ordinance extends to gays, lesbians, and transgender people the same legal protection that shields other minorities from discrimination.

“The city council took the step of outlawing certain religious expression in the workplace. This was wrong, and this was abuse of government power,” said Matt Shaheen who was recently elected to represent Texas House District 66 which covers western Plano.

Opponents of the ordinance need to gather 3,822 signatures by Jan. 20 to put a repeal of the ordinance on the ballot.  

PlanomayorLater Wednesday, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere (right) held his own press conference to defend the ordinance and clear up misconceptions about it. The city has also posted extensive information on its website. 

From CBSDFW.com: 

Not everyone in the crowd agreed with the speakers. Joe Riggs says as a gay man living in Plano, the position of the group concerns him.

“I think it sends the wrong message to people. There’s room for everyone in Plano, and there’s no reason to discriminate on people based on their sexual orientation, their gender, or any other reason,” Riggs said.

In response to the news conference, Plano’s mayor told reporters at City Hall that the time to debate the ordinance is over.

“A city of excellence reflects the rights of everyone and discriminates against no one. The ordinance is fair. It’s legal, and it’s constitutional,” LaRosiliere said.

Also Wednesday, the Texas Pastor Council again attacked Houston Mayor Annise Parker — this time over the city's decision to seek a non-jury trial in a lawsuit challenging the city's Equal Rights Ordinance. Opponents of the Houston ordinance sued the city after it rejected their petition because it didn't have enough valid signatures. 

Opponents of the ordinance have requested a jury trial, instead of a bench trial in front of a judge — which is standard in cases related to elections, The Houston Chronicle reports. The Pastor Council is apparently trying to spark right-wing outrage over the jury trial issue similar to the controversy over the city's decision to subpoena pastor sermons. But it doesn't seem to be getting much traction. The trial is set for Jan. 19. 

The Houston Chronicle reports: 

Conservative opponents suing the city over its equal rights ordinance are pushing, along with several City Council members, for the upcoming case to go before a jury, a move the administration said is unprecedented and would defy election law. ... 

Critics sued last summer after Mayor Annise Parker and Feldman announced that they had failed to gather enough valid signatures to send the issue to voters. That case is set to start Jan. 19 in state district Judge Robert Schaffer's courtroom. In a petition filed last year, critics asked that the case instead go to a jury trial.

Parker and Feldman defended the city's position Wednesday, describing the filing to prevent a jury trial as routine.

"If you're afraid you're not going to be able to win in court, you start trying to win in the court of public opinion," Parker said. "Apparently, that's what's been going on here."

Watch CBSDFW.com's report on the Plano press conference, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Ted Cruz' Anti-Gay Bigot Father Joins Growing Battle Over LGBT Protections In Plano, Texas: VIDEO" »


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