Civil Unions pass in Colorado
March 12th, 2013
The Civil Unions bill in Colorado has passed. The bipartisan vote in the House was 39 to 26 and, having already cleared the Senate, it goes to Governor John Hickenlooper for his expected signature.
Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, and Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock, joined all 37 Democrats to advance equality.
The most powerful testimony in favor of equality
March 12th, 2013
Today, former GOP Representative Lynne Osterman testified in favor of marriage equality. Her testimony is, in my opinion, the most powerful argument that can be made for why you must do what is right.
If you watch no other testimony on marriage, watch this.
Brady survives ouster attempt
March 12th, 2013
When Pat Brady, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, endorsed marriage equality earlier this year, many thought it would end his influence and position in the party. But instead it seems to have highlighted a decline in the sway of social conservatives. Moderates – and those who don’t much care one way or the other – appear to no longer be giving the far right control over social issues; or at least not in this matter.
Sources within the GOP state central committee said the group of committee members seeking Brady’s ouster had been having difficulty coming up with the required 60 percent of the weighted vote to remove the state chairman. Questions also were raised over whether such action could be taken during a special meeting under the state GOP’s rules.
The states other party power players, including the House GOP leader and Sen. Mark Kirk, have sided with Brady.
While this does not suggest that Republicans as a whole are going to do an about face on marriage, it does portend that there are going to be some political fireworks ahead.
Minnesota marriage bill has enough votes to pass Tuesday’s committee hearing
March 7th, 2013
AP is reporting:
Nine of 17 members of the House Civil Law Committee tell The Associated Press they’ll vote yes at a hearing Tuesday. That’s enough to move the bill to the House floor and a vote by all 134 representatives.
Passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee also looks likely. Four of eight members say they’ll vote yes, and a fifth says she supports gay marriage but wouldn’t reveal her vote.
Over at NOMblog, they are reporting crickets.
Michigan judge delays marriage ruling
March 7th, 2013
Today U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman heard arguments from the couple who want to adopt each other’s children as to how the Michigan marriage laws unfairly discriminate against them. But while Judge Friedman noted that their argument was compelling, he’s delaying his decision.
Friedman said he would benefit from seeing how the U.S. Supreme Court handles cases involving a gay marriage ban in California as well as the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Arguments are scheduled later this month in Washington.
An immediate ruling in Michigan “would not be fair to either side,” Friedman said while holding court in front of students at Wayne State University law school.
“They’re going to give us something to hang our hat on,” he said of the Supreme Court.
Which, disappointing as it is, may be the most logical decision.
Same sex marriage passes vote in Michigan and could soon be legal
March 6th, 2013
… but only if you are Odawa. (Petoskynews)
The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians inched closer to becoming the third tribe in the nation to legally recognize gay marriage Sunday.
A 5-4 tribal council vote Sunday passed an amended statute allowing same-sex couples to wed and be recognized by the tribal government, according to draft tribal minutes released Tuesday afternoon.
The statute now goes to the tribal chairman, who can either sign the statute into law, or veto the proposed changes.
Some Minnesota kid’s pro-gay opinion is probably more important than we would guess
March 6th, 2013
My first response to this article was “that’s vaguely interesting”: (sfgate)
The two-term chairman of the Minnesota College Republicans on Wednesday became the latest from his party to support legalizing gay marriage in the state.
Ryan Lyk told The Associated Press he wants people to know that not just Democrats support gay marriage. He released a statement of support in conjunction with Minnesotans United, the political group pursuing a gay marriage bill that could get a vote later this spring at the Capitol.
But on second thought, this may be a story that has more importance than attention. Lyk’s opinion, as just some college kid, is fairly inconsequential. But as the head of an organization that liaises between Republican legislators and the youth vote, that brings speakers to campus, that facilitates and mans the get-out-the-vote and other precinct walking endeavors, his opinion matters a great deal.
And in today’s political climate, in which Republicans are desperately looking for youth to point at as evidence that they are not becoming irrelevant, someone like Lyk probably has greater access and influence than has most often been the case.
So perhaps it is worth noting that the chairman of the Minnesota College Republicans has come out for equality.
Minnesota GOP leaders fall on either side of marriage debate
February 27th, 2013
This week has seen a number of prominent Republicans speak out in favor of equality. But not all GOP members are signed on for a new perspective on marriage or ready to apply laws equally to all of a state’s citizens. Some Republican legislators in Minnesota rallied today to announce their opposition to that state’s move towards allowing same sex couples the same access to marriage law as heterosexual couples. (CBS)
The gay marriage bill was unveiled Wednesday at the Capitol. Its backers say last fall’s defeat of a constitutional gay marriage ban shows the state is ready for gay marriages.
But Republicans say voters only rejected putting the ban in the constitution, and that it shouldn’t be seen as an endorsement of gay marriage. About 15 GOP lawmakers gathered for a press conference against the bill.
Meanwhile one more prominent Minnesota Republican has added her voice in support. Patricia Anderson served as Minnesota State Auditor from 2003-07 and as Republican National Committeewoman from 2011-12. She has also run as a Republican candidate for governor and currently serves as the chair of the Fourth Congressional District Republicans. (Pioneer Press)
If we are truly the party of freedom and limited government, what justification is there to use the power of government to restrict people’s lives?
Overwhelmingly, younger generations support marriage for same-sex couples, and I agree with Sen. Petersen that it is inevitable. As a mother of generally Republican-leaning children in high school and college, it was difficult to explain to them why our party took the position it did. The philosophical double standard was troublesome, to say the least.
I believe it is time for Minnesota state law to finally reflect the fact that marriage is about the love, commitment and responsibility that two people share. Marriage is good for children, and it strengthens families and communities. If we truly believe these things, I cannot think of any valid reason for our state to continue to exclude same-sex couples from having the opportunity to marry and pursue happiness like anyone else.
See also a Minnesota Post interview.
Latino leaders support Illinois marriage bill
February 26th, 2013
From the Christian Post
The letter, which was reportedly signed by 23 Latino leaders, including Miguel Del Valle, a former City Clerk of Chicago; Jesse H. Ruiz, Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education; and Sylvia Puente, Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum, urges lawmakers to approve the gay marriage bill, claiming “no member of anyone’s family, whether they’re gay or straight, should face discrimination when they hope to marry the person they love.”
UPDATED: Prominent Republicans file amicus brief in Prop8 case
February 26th, 2013
Among them are Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for California governor; Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York; Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership from Ohio who is retired from Congress.
They are supporting equality. So far there are 75 names attached to the brief, which will be filed this week.
UPDATE: Here’s the list – so far:
Ken Mehlman, Chairman, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
Tim Adams, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, 2005-2007
David D. Aufhauser, General Counsel, Department of Treasury, 2001-2003
Cliff S. Asness, Businessman, Philanthropist, and Author
John B. Bellinger III, Legal Adviser to the Department of State, 2005-2009
Katie Biber, General Counsel, Romney for President, 2007-2008 and 2011-2012
Mary Bono Mack, Member of Congress, 1998-2013
William A. Burck, Deputy Staff Secretary, Special Counsel and Deputy Counsel to the President, 2005-2009
Alex Castellanos, Republican Media Advisor
Paul Cellucci, Governor of Massachusetts, 1997-2001, and Ambassador to Canada, 2001-2005
Mary Cheney, Director of Vice Presidential Operations, Bush-Cheney 2004
Jim Cicconi, Assistant to the President & Deputy to the Chief of Staff, 1989-1990
James B. Comey, United States Deputy Attorney General, 2003-2005
R. Clarke Cooper, U.S. Alternative Representative, United Nations Security Council, 2007-2009
Julie Cram, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director White House Office of Public Liaison, 2007-2009
Michele Davis, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Director of Policy Planning, Department of the Treasury, 2006-2009
Kenneth M. Duberstein, White House Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President, 1981-1984 and 1987-1989
Lew Eisenberg, Finance Chairman, Republican National Committee, 2002-2004
Elizabeth Noyer Feld, Public Affairs Specialist, White House Office of Management and Budget, 1984-1987
David Frum, Special Assistant to the President, 2001-2002
Richard Galen, Communications Director, Speaker’s Political Office, 1996-1997
Mark Gerson, Chairman, Gerson Lehrman Group and Author of The Neoconservative Vision: From the Cold War to the Culture Wars and In the Classroom: Dispatches from an Inner-City School that Works
Benjamin Ginsberg, General Counsel, Bush-Cheney 2000 & 2004
Adrian Gray, Director of Strategy, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
Richard Grenell, Spokesman, U.S. Ambassadors to the United Nations, 2001-2008
Patrick Guerriero, Mayor, Melrose Massachusetts and member of Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1993-2001
Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce, 2005-2009
Stephen Hadley, Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor, 2005-2009
Richard Hanna, Member of Congress, 2011-Present
Israel Hernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, 2005-2009
Margaret Hoover, Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, 2005-2006
Michael Huffington, Member of Congress, 1993-1995
Jon Huntsman, Governor of Utah, 2005-2009
David A. Javdan, General Counsel, United States Small Business Administration, 2002-2006
Reuben Jeffery, Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs, 2007-2009
Greg Jenkins, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Advance, 2003-2004
Coddy Johnson, National Field Director, Bush-Cheney 2004
Gary Johnson, Governor of New Mexico, 1995-2003
Robert Kabel, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, 1982-1985
Theodore W. Kassinger, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, 2004-2005
Jonathan Kislak, Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture for Small Community and Rural Development, 1989-1991
David Kochel, Senior Advisor to Mitt Romney’s Iowa Campaign, 2007-2008 and 2011-2012
James Kolbe, Member of Congress, 1985-2007
Jeffrey Kupfer, Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy, 2008-2009
Kathryn Lehman, Chief of Staff, House Republican Conference, 2003-2005
Daniel Loeb, Businessman and Philanthropist
Alex Lundry, Director of Data Science, Romney for President, 2012
Greg Mankiw, Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, 2003-2005
Catherine Martin, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director for Policy & Planning, 2005-2007
Kevin Martin, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, 2005-2009
David McCormick, Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, 2007-2009
Mark McKinnon, Republican Media Advisor
Bruce P. Mehlman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, 2001-2003
Connie Morella, Member of Congress, 1987-2003 and U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2003-2007
Michael E. Murphy, Republican Political Consultant
Michael Napolitano, White House Office of Political Affairs, 2001-2003
Ana Navarro, National Hispanic Co-Chair for Senator John McCain’s Presidential Campaign, 2008
Noam Neusner, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Speechwriting, 2002-2005
Nancy Pfotenhauer, Economist, Presidential Transition Team, 1988 and President’s Council on Competitiveness, 1990
J. Stanley Pottinger, Assistant U.S. Attorney General (Civil Rights Division), 1973-1977
Michael Powell, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission, 2001-2005
Deborah Pryce, Member of Congress, 1993-2009
John Reagan, New Hampshire State Senator, 2012-Present
Kelley Robertson, Chief of Staff, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Member of Congress, 1989-Present
Harvey S. Rosen, Member and Chairman, Council of Economic Advisers, 2003-2005
Lee Rudofsky, Deputy General Counsel, Romney for President, 2012
Patrick Ruffini, eCampaign Director, Republican National Committee, 2005-2007
Steve Schmidt, Deputy Assistant to the President and Counselor to the Vice President, 2004-2006
Ken Spain, Communications Director, National Republican Congressional Committee, 2009-2010
Robert Steel, Undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance, 2006-2008
David Stockman, Director, Office of Management and Budget, 1981-1985
Jane Swift, Governor of Massachusetts, 2001-2003
Michael E. Toner, Chairman and Commissioner, Federal Election Commission, 2002-2007
Michael Turk, eCampaign Director for Bush-Cheney 2004
Mark Wallace, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Representative for UN Management and Reform, 2006-2008
Nicolle Wallace, Assistant to the President and White House Communications Director, 2005-2008
William F. Weld, Governor of Massachusetts, 1991-1997, and Assistant U.S. Attorney General (Criminal Division), 1986-1988
Christine Todd Whitman, Governor of New Jersey, 1994-2001, and Administrator of the EPA, 2001-2003
Meg Whitman, Republican Nominee for Governor of California, 2010
Robert Wickers, Republican Political Consultant
Dan Zwonitzer, Wyoming State Representative, 2005-present
The New York Times is suggesting that this sort of amicus brief – along with the level of signatories – might be very influential in the swing-votes on the Supreme Court.
Minnesota marriage bill to get bipartisan sponsorship
February 20th, 2013
From the StarTribune:
Republican state Sen. Branden Petersen is preparing to become a co-sponsor of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
Having a Republican co-author would be an enormous political coup for same-sex marriage advocates as they prepare to unveil their proposal in the days ahead. Petersen would become the first Republican legislator to publicly support same-sex marriage, highlighting the rapidly changing dynamics of the issue at the Capitol.
What makes this a bit interesting is that just a year ago he voted to put Minnesota’s anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot. It failed by a 51 – 48 margin (1% left their ballot blank and they were counted as “no”).
What makes this shocking is where Petersen hails from, Anoka County. His neighbors’ kids attend the Anoka-Hennepin School District, perhaps the most hostile to their gay children in the nation. His hometown banned a support group for at-risk gay youth from participating in the Halloween Parade. His constituents regularly reelect Michele Bachmann.
Part of Petersen’s decision may be based in his observations about Illinois. There GOP Senators demanded changes to the proposed bill to appease concerns of their constituents. But just a month before they had been given a bill with those conditions in it and they rallied in opposition; so Democrats, who now control the legislature with votes to spare, felt no need to give any consideration to the Republicans’ newfound call for compromise.
Petersen said he has several concerns that must be addressed before he will sign onto the measure. He wants to add language guaranteeing that any religious leader can choose not to wed same-sex couples. He also insists that kids in same-sex marriages have the same financial guarantees as children of other married couples in time of divorce.
“It’s only a matter of time before same-sex marriage is legal,” Petersen said. “I thought it was important to engage the issue now, and when we do it, do it right, and that there’s some perspective from the people I represent in that.”
These are concerns that neither I nor the bill sponsors have a problem with. The first is constitutionally protected anyway, and the second is a responsible action that our community can support. And I think it is wise of Petersen to recognize that if you join the movement, you get to have a say in the details.
But, as will come as no surprise, Peterson is also strongly motivated by his personal relationships.
Petersen, 27, admits this is a wrenching issue for him and could be politically damaging back home. His father-in-law has been in a same-sex relationship for nearly 20 years, but Petersen says this issue has fiercely divided his family in the same way it has split the rest of the state. He started discussing the issue with colleagues, his pastor and close friends before taking his public stance.
Petersen’s support is a significant advantage for our community. As it is certain that some Democratic legislators will vote against us, we will need Republican support to win.
SCOTUS ‘rules’ marriage legal in Mexico
February 18th, 2013
Mexico’s legal system is complicated, especially when it comes to matters of civil rights. Earlier this month, we reported that the Supreme Court of Mexico had declared that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights to marriage as heterosexual couples. Today they clarified the basis of their thinking.
Oddly enough, it was the US Supreme Court: (Buzzfeed)
The historical disadvantages that homosexuals have suffered have been well recognized and documented: public harassment, verbal abuse, discrimination in their employment and in access to certain services, in addition to their exclusion to some aspects of public life. In this sense … when they are denied access to marriage it creates an analogy with the discrimination that interracial couples suffered in another era. In the celebrated case Loving v. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court argued that “restricting marriage rights as belonging to one race or another is incompatible with the equal protection clause” under the US constitution. In connection with this analogy, it can be said that the normative power of marriage is worth little if it does grant the possibility to marry the person one chooses.
As they address the Windsor and Perry cases this spring, let’s hope that the Supreme Court rules as wisely in the US as the Mexico Court has found its rulings to be in Mexico.
A lesson in wedding photography
February 17th, 2013
Sometimes discrimination doesn’t come from a place of hate. Sometimes it just comes from a place of fear or confusion, an automatic reaction based on the established prejudice of the dominant culture. This weekend, we had an illustration of just such an event.
Photographer Anne Almasy decided it was time to take out her first advertisement, and she chose Weddings Unveiled as the magazine she felt best suited to reach potential clients. And although Anne has take pictures from many different weddings, big and small, she decided to stand out and be unique. She chose a picture from a same-sex wedding in which the brides were in a warehouse sitting on bags of coffee beans. She says it represents love, home, and joy, but I think it also is creative, interesting, and outside the box.
The response was not positive. The editor called her and said,
Is there possibly another photograph you’d like to use in your ad? We just don’t feel comfortable publishing an ad featuring a same-sex couple. These aren’t our personal beliefs, of course, but, you know…
Over the weekend, the magazine heard from a few folks who were not particularly pleased by that decision. And today they have a new perspective.
Honestly, we knew that everyone would not share our belief that all people have the right to marry. The issue is very sensitive and it is also very divided. We knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we published the ad and we knew that it was possible that people would be offended if we did not. We are so sorry that we acted out of fear and uncertainty. We had never been faced with such a decision and we should have acted with our hearts.
Yes, they should have. They made a hasty, fearful, and stupid decision. And now they are apologizing in a way that appears to me to be sincere.
I hope we are all able to see this as a learning situation, a reminder to our friends that friendship requires more than just “supporting” our community in theory or words, and a reminder to our community that sometimes people make mistakes but can grow if we let them.
Oregon kicks off marriage initiative process with high profile names
February 14th, 2013
Today supporters of equality in Oregon will begin gathering signatures to put an initiative on the ballot to reverse from their State Constitution the 2004 anti-gay marriage amendment. (Oregonian)
Gov. John Kitzhaber, former Gov. Barbara Roberts, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and Multnomah County Chairman Jeff Cogen are scheduled to attend a 3 p.m. event at Hotel Monaco in downtown Portland.
In Salem, House Speaker Tina Kotek — the first openly lesbian House speaker in the country — and Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum are scheduled to attend a 4 p.m. event at Willamette University. Both are Portland Democrats.
The mayors of Eugene and Bend are also scheduled to attend events in their respective communities this afternoon. Faith leaders are set to host a breakfast in Beaverton.
Happy Valentine’s Day from the Illinois Senate
February 14th, 2013
Voting “present” (abstaining)
Keeping in mind the protectorates, territories, overseas departments, and collectives
February 12th, 2013
When President Hollande of France signs the marriage bill, a couple of islands off Newfoundland and several off Africa, along with a country in South America will also be impacted. Britain’s bill may or may not change law in the Falkland Islands off Argentina, but it will likely influence thought in the many nations that comprise the British Commonwealth. The Netherland’s marriage bill was finally reflected when itty bitty Saba, in the Caribbean, conducted it’s first same-sex marriage in December. And when the US Supreme Court rules in a few months, it’s decisions will determine the fate of same sex couples in St. Thomas and Puerto Rico.
While it is exciting when large and powerful countries move towards equality, let’s keep in mind that this movement is not and cannot be limited to just those countries. Each success is larger than just its borders.
French Assembly passes marriage
February 12th, 2013
France’ National Assembly has now voted to allow same sex couples to marry and adopt children: (AP)
President François Hollande’s Socialists pushed the measure through the national assembly, carrying a vote by 329 to 229.
The assembly has been debating the bill and voting on individual articles in recent weeks. The bill now goes to the senate, which is also controlled by the Socialists and their allies.
France’s Assembly votes today
February 12th, 2013
Having sat through some 5,000 proposed amendments, France’s National Assembly is ready to vote. Again.
After today’s expected victory, the bill will move to the nation’s Senate.
Hawaii’s marriage deadline
February 12th, 2013
Today the leadership of Hawaii’s legislature will decide whether to kill marriage equality for this legislative session. If a hearing isn’t scheduled before the Judiciary Committee of the Senate or House, the marriage bill will die.
Supporters are hoping that they can find procedural ways around the deadline, but if leadership opposes the bill (or fears that it doesn’t have sufficient support) then procedure isn’t the problem.
How ironic that it may well turn out marriage came closer to a reality this year in Wyoming than Hawaii.
Oregon to take marriage back to the voters
February 11th, 2013
Some argue that it is inherently inappropriate to vote on matters of civil rights. And I understand and appreciate the logic behind that claim. But from a pragmatic point of view, absent any declaration of the unconstitutionality of state bans on marriage equality, that’s the only way that some states will become equal.
So I am delighted that activists in the state of Oregon have decided to take marriage back to the ballot box in 2014. (Oregonian)
The state’s major gay-rights group, Basic Rights Oregon, made the decision over the weekend to launch a petition drive on Monday to put a measure on the ballot that would allow legal recognition of same-sex marriages. Given the group’s resources and the issue’s high visibility, there is little doubt the group can qualify the measure for the November general election.
And the time may be right, with Oregon voters now supporting marriage. A PPP poll in December found the following:
Q20 Do you think Oregon voters should be allowed
to vote on whether they think same-sex
marriage should be legal, or not?
Voters should be allowed to…………………. 77%
They should not ……………………………………. 14%
Not sure …………………………………………………. 9%
Q21 Do you think same-sex marriage should be
allowed in Oregon, or not?
Should be allowed …………………………………. 54%
Should not………………………………………………. 40%
Not sure …………………………………………………. 5%