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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for March, 2011

Defender Of Non-Monogamous Marriage To Retire

Jim Burroway

March 7th, 2011

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) has announced that he won’t run for re-election in 2012. This announcement comes almost two years after the “sanctity of marriage” advocate sanctified his own marriage by having an affair with a staffer. The staffer’s husband also worked for Ensign’s Senate Staff. Moneys changed hands, possibly in an attempt to keep the whole thing quiet. That possibility is the subject of a Senate Ethics Committee probe.

In 2004, Ensign spoke from the Senate Floor in favor of the proposed “Federal Marriage Amendment,” which would have written discrimination against gays and lesbians into the U.S. constitution. He insisted the amendment was necessary, saying, “Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded.”

Today, with no apparent awareness of the concept of irony, Ensign gave this reason for retiring: “At this point in my life, I have to put my family first,” Ensign told reporters at a news conference in Las Vegas.

Ensign was identified as a member of the “C” Street, also know as “The Family” or “The Fellowship.” The secretive group was found to have links to the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill that had been proposed in Uganda’s Parliament.

Rachel Maddow: Should US Politicians Try To Stop The “Kill Gays” Bill?

Jim Burroway

December 5th, 2009

Rachel Maddow last night reviewed the role that Rick Warren has played in Uganda, including his siding with the Ugandan Anglican Church against the U.S. Episcopal Church over the ordination of gay clergy and bishops even though Warren’s background is Baptist.

Maddow also reviewed the role that several U.S. politicians — specifically Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) — in their own meddling in Uganda’s political affairs, mostly in changing Uganda’s previously successful fight against AIDS by insisting on abstinence only education. These politicians, it should be noted, are also all members of the secretive Evangelical group The Family, which seeks to “take over” (in Family leader Doug Coe’s words) the political, business and other power spheres around the world in a sort of “trickle down” national salvation plan, as opposed to focusing on individual salvation that is at the core of orthodox Christianity.

Rachel’s panel last night consisted of Congressman Anthony Wiener (D-NY); Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University; and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. She asked them a very pertinent question:

“Is it reasonable to expect that American politicians who have been, frankly, pretty interventionist in Uganda in the past, should be trying to stop the ‘kill the gays’ bill there?”

Click here to see BTB\’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

The Guardians Of Marriage

Jim Burroway

July 10th, 2009

Sens. John Ensign, Tom Coburn, the secretive Christian cult known alternately as The Family or The Fellowship, and the House on C Street:

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I used the term “cult” to describe The Fellowship. How else does one describe an outfit founded by a man who had a special visitation from Jesus who told him that Christianity got it wrong for the past two thousand years?

Jeff Sharlet’s book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power examines this strange organization in greater detail.

But Did Ensign Get His Money’s Worth?

Jim Burroway

June 18th, 2009

Oh, dear. Sen. John Ensign’s (R-NV) mistress scandal is taking some very interesting turns. When he first revealed that he had cheated on his wife, he said that he was coming forward because his former mistress and employee, Cynthia Hampton, was threatening to blackmail him. Then he said no, it wasn’t her, it was her husband and former Ensign staffer, Doug Hampton, who was doing the blackmailing.

The problem of course, is that extortion is a federal crime, and one would expect the authorities to launch into a full-scale investigation. But Talking Points Memo learned that neither the FBI nor local police are investigating any such reports. Ensign is now backing down from all of that talk about blackmail.

But now the Associated press found some very interesting tidbits. Like the fact that Ensign placed the Hampton’s 19-year-old son on the payroll, or that Doug Hampton received a final payment of $19,679 for his final month of employment in May 2008. And then there’s this point about Cynthia Hampton’s salary:

Her salary also doubled at Ensign’s campaign committee, where she was treasurer, beginning around the time the affair began. It went from $500 a month to $1,000 a month.

Everyone seems to think it odd that Hampton’s salary would double “around the time the affair began.” But when you think about it, of course her salery went up. I mean, c’mon think about it. She took on more responsibilities…

The Ensign Affair

Jim Burroway

June 16th, 2009
John Ensign with his wife Darlene at a 2005 Las Vegas charity event. (Photos by Marian Umhoefer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

John Ensign with his wife Darlene at a 2005 Las Vegas charity event. (Photos by Marian Umhoefer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

On 2004, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) supported the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment, which was an attempt to write discrimination of gays and lesbians into the U.S. Constitution. This is what he said from the Senate floor:

“Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded. For those who say that the Constitution is so sacred that we cannot or should not adopt the Federal Marriage Amendment, I would simply point out that marriage, and the sanctity of that institution, predates the American Constitution and the founding of our nation.”

The sanctity of the born-again Senator’s own marriage didn’t last so long. Ensign has now admitted that he had an affair between December 2007 and August 2008 with a woman who worked for both his re-election campaign and his Battleborn political action committee. To make matters worse, the New York Times reports that the woman’s husband had worked on Ensign’s Senate staff. MSNBC is reporting that Ensign is telling fellow Senators that he’s coming forward to head off an extortion attempt by his former mistress. Politico reports that it’s the mistress’s husband who was trying to shake Ensign down.

Ensign demanded Sen. Larry Craig’s resignation in September 2007 over Craig’s arrest for soliciting sexual favors in a Minnesota airport public men’s room. He also called for President Bill Clinton’s resignation during the Monica Lewinsky scandal while running for the Senate in 1998. No word yet on whether Ensign plans on resigning, or if he’s going to relinquish his chairmanship of the powerful GOP Policy Committee. Darlene Ensign, like Larry Craig’s wife, is standing by her man.