Texas GOP Convention Denies Log Cabin Request for Booth
May 30th, 2014
Yesterday, the Log Cabin Republicans announced that their request for a booth at the annual convention in Fort Worth had been denied by the state Republican Party:
“Overall, Log Cabin Republicans of Texas has found incredible support within the Republican party — Texans, like the rest of the country, are evolving on LGBT rights issues,” said Log Cabin Republicans of Texas Chairman Jeffrey Davis. “The Republican Party of Texas has even welcomed many of our members as delegates to the Texas State Republican Convention. However, the party has denied our several attempts to host a booth in the convention exhibit hall, citing archaic language in the party platform to support their actions.”
That “archaic language” is not so archaic, coming from page 8 of the 2012 Texas Republican Party platform where over 100 colorful words describe the party’s position on “homosexuals” (the position against human trafficking, on the same page, takes only 12 words):
Human Trafficking ― The Republican Party of Texas adamantly opposes any form of human trafficking.
Homosexuality ― We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, in public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values.
The decision, unusual for a state party, is, according to this source, allowed because of a 1997 ruling by then-Texas-Supreme-Court-Justice and now-Texas-gubernatorial-candidate Greg Abbott who
ruled on the case of the Republican Party of Texas vs. Dietz, which was a suit brought by the Republican Party against a lower court judge who ruled the Party had to provide the Log Cabin Republicans with a convention booth. Abbott ruled– relying on a muddled conflation of Texas state and US constitutional law– the Party could legally bar the group from its convention because the Texas Bill of Rights only applies to government and the Party’s actions did not constitute state action.
Gregory T. Angelo, head of the National Log Cabin Republicans, has condemned both the decision and the language in the state party platform.
Another GOP Congressman Supports Marriage Equality
May 28th, 2014
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) emerged as a leading voice in what remains of the moderate wing of the Republican Party when he tried to head off the disastrous GOP-led government shutdown last October. He long supported anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, and he has now joined two other GOP congressional representatives in coming out in support of marriage equality:
“Life is too short to have the force of government stand in the way of two adults whose pursuit of happiness includes marriage,” Dent said in a statement provided first to The Washington Post on Wednesday.
Quoting from the Pennsylvania ruling, “in future generations the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage,” Dent said that in “conversations with my family, I have come to realize that they already see the world through that lens.”
…”As a Republican, I value equality, personal freedom and a more limited role for government in our lives,” Dent said in his statement. “I believe this philosophy should apply to the issue of marriage as well.”
Dent’s saying this from an exceptionally safe place. His announcement came out just eight days after a federal judge struck down Pennsylvania’s statute banning same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, and one week after the state’s much more conservative Gov. Tom Corbett announced he wouldn’t seek an appeal. Dent represents a district that drew no Republican primary opponent last week, and he has no Democratic opponent in the fall in a very moderate, middle-of-the-road district. So no matter how you look at it, this is as no-risk a position as any he could take.
The only other GOP members of Congress who support marriage equality are Florida’s Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and New York’s Richard Hanna. That’s in addition to three GOP Senators: Ohio’s Rob Portman, Illinois’ Ron Kirk, and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski.
Advocating for rights within the Utah GOP
April 28th, 2014
The former executive director of the Utah Republican Party was at the state party convention this weekend advocating for gay rights. (Salt Lake Tribune)
Along with his wife Megan, DuBois attended Saturday’s state GOP Convention wearing a big Equality Utah sticker. The couple, who were not delegates, were there to mingle with old friends, some of whom did a double take when DuBois urged them to support legislation to ban housing and workplace discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Such bills have received little traction in the conservative, Republican-dominated Utah Legislature.
His message was simple and blunt.
“I’m not scared of gay people,” said DuBois, who left his party post last year. “You can be a really good Republican and support people who don’t fit the same mold as you.”
Let’s hope they’re very persuasive.
Illinois GOP ousts anti-gay committee members
April 21st, 2014
Pat Brady, the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, started 2013 off with a bang by announcing that he was lobbying state legislators to support marriage equality. While this received immediate reaction, the situation did not play out as might have been expected.
There was movement for Brady’s removal and some members of the state central committee called for a vote on his ouster. But this effort did not receive support from party leadership and both the GOP House Leader and US Senator Mark Kirk (who has endorsed equality, himself) supported Brady.
Eventually, Brady resigned from the position. But not before it became clear that he did so on his own volition and that the ouster effort did not have the necessary votes to remove him. Only seven of the 18 committee members signed onto a letter demanding his removal.
In November the state legislature passed a marriage equality bill, by a narrow margin, with the necessary support of three GOP representatives. Anti-gay activists vowed that they’d pay for their “betrayal” at the polls. Last month Republican voters rejected primary challenges to all three.
And now it appears that the social agenda activism of the anti-gay committee members has placed them on the outs in Illinois GOP politics. (Daily Journal)
A crop of Republican officials who wanted to oust former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady for his statements supporting same-sex marriage have been replaced in their party positions.
Illinois Republicans across the state held elections for all 18 state central committee member posts this week, replacing six of the seven officials who signed on to a letter last year to hold a vote on removing Brady as chairman. The seventh person to sign the letter, Mark Shaw of the 10th Congressional District, was re-elected to a four-year term.
I think it is now clear that irrespective of what they may individually believe about marriage, Illinois Republican voters have no stomach for continuing a culture war against the rights of their gay neighbors.
Nevada GOP drops anti-gay position
April 13th, 2014
Nevada Republican Party activists met this weekend at their annual convention. And it was a contentious meeting with factions battling over the endorsement process and what it means to be a “true” Republican.
What was not contentious, however, was the move to drop opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage from the state party platform. From the Washington Times (which I nearly never quote, but which seems to be carrying the story before anyone else):
The Nevada Republican Party stripped opposition to abortion and gay marriage from its platform Saturday as state convention delegates instead focused on judging fellow Republicans on their worthiness to serve in office and adherence to GOP values.
The platform, with few changes, was adopted overwhelmingly as the Las Vegas convention stretched late into the evening. The vote mirrors that of the Clark County GOP, which voted earlier to remove platform language defining marriage as between a man and a woman and statements opposing abortion.
Congratulations to Log Cabin Nevada and others who have been working for a long time on this issue.
UPDATE: The Washington Times has inexplicably dropped the story, it seems. But the Las Vegas Review-Journal gave the following detail:
By a show of hands, convention-goers adopted the platform as proposed by a separate committee without the two planks on marriage and abortion, following the Clark County GOP’s lead in removing hot-button social issues from the party’s statement of its principles. Some 520 delegates attended the convention, but less than half were present when the platform was adopted at about 7:30 p.m. Little debate preceded the vote, a far contrast to earlier in day.
State party Chairman Michael McDonald said it was a successful convention at the end of the day.
“I think it was about inclusion, not exclusion,” McDonald said, referring to the platform. “This is where the party is going.”
Republicans who sat on the platform committee said they decided not to deal with social issues this year because the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts have weighed in and it doesn’t make sense for the party of “personal freedom” to have the government or the political party get involved in people’s personal lives.
“The issue was how can we back out of people’s personal lives,” said Dave Hockaday of Lyon County, who sat on the platform committee. “We need to focus on issues where we can have an impact.”
Gay GOP woman of faith
March 21st, 2014
Ashley Rooney, an executive assistant at Log Cabin Republicans, wrote an opinion piece for TownHall arguing that Republican Party holds a place of promise for gay and lesbian people of faith.
The article itself is mostly twaddle, a sort of blind stabbing at “liberals” and “the left” and and extolling of the theoretical virtues of the Republican Party.
But, nevertheless, the message – if heard by the right ears – is an important one. Too often people on both sides of the political divide assume that orientation dictates ones political ideology. And too often both sides of the political divide assume that matters of faith do the same. Rooney argues that this need not be the case.
Similarly, LGBT Republicans need to expose the inaccuracy of the liberal claim that the LGBT community is “overwhelmingly” Democrat. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2012, one in four LGBT people consider themselves to be conservative or very conservative, and a deeper look into these numbers reveals that the demographic breakdown of LGBT voter preferences is similar to that of the overall population.
Relatedly, we need to stop assuming that being a person of faith and being a supporter of LGBT equality are mutually exclusive. The left’s smears against religious Americans as anti-LGBT not only outcast LGBT people of faith but also ignore the reality that many religious communities are increasingly supportive of LGBT equality. A 2013 Public Religion Research Institute survey found that a majority of white mainline Protestants, 62 percent of Catholics, and over one in four white evangelical Protestants support marriage equality. A strong majority in every major religious group favors protections from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, and there are a growing number of religious groups dedicated to advancing LGBT equality.
Now I know that the first reaction of many will be to think, “but she’s wrong, Republicans are vile and any gay person so registered is delusional and self-loathing.” And undoubtedly some will find it impossible to skip an opportunity to weigh in on their own political leanings.
But setting aside Rooney’s partisanship and the perhaps idealistic rose-glassed view of her political affiliation, there is value in her statement. Primarily because it is something that flies in the face of the assumptions of a certain target audience.
Which makes where I read this all the more important. Rooney’s TownHall opinion piece was picked up by the Christian Post.
The Christian Post has, to the best of my recollection, only ever presented one variation of gay person before: the kind that advances an anti-gay crusade. They’ve had “former homosexuals” declare that no one is born gay. They’ve had bitter and emotionally stunted gay people rant on about the horrors of the “homosexual lifestyle”. They’ve presented the wacky two or three that buddy up with NOM to argue that gay marriage will be the end of the world as we know it.
But I don’t recall ever seeing a gay person on the Christian Post insisting that gay people should live openly and honestly, irrespective of their political leanings. Nor have I seen there an appeal to readers to find commonality or recognize support for gay people from within their own community.
I don’t know that this is a major capitulation on the part of the Christian Post. Nor will it likely change the minds of those who pretend that gay people either don’t exist or are demon possessed or are out to destroy America and civilization. But it might jar some who have simply accepted the easy stereotypes about gay people being “them” and perhaps plant the seeds of thought.
And it will, without doubt, piss off the LaBarberas and Stavers and Donahues who assume that all people of faith should and will rally around them and their campaign for bigotry. And that, if nothing else, is always a good thing.
It’s a good day not to be anti-gay
March 19th, 2014
Remember when marriage equality passed in Illinois with the (necessary) support of a handful of Republicans. And remember how the anti-gays pledged to destroy the GOP traitors and replace them with true loyal purveyors of discrimination and hate.
Well, there’s this (WaPo)
None of the Republicans who voted for gay marriage lost.
When the Illinois state House passed a bill to legalize gay marriage last fall, just three out of 47 Republicans voted for it. On Tuesday, none of them lost. State Rep. Tom Cross (R) cruised to a 14-point victory in the primary for state treasurer while state Rep. Ed Sullivan (R) easily won renomination in his district. The third, state Rep. Ron Sandack (R), narrowly edged out his opponent by fewer than 200 votes, according to an unofficial tally. The close margin could mean the race goes to a recount. Sandack and Sullivan both faced pressure from third-party groups looking to oust them over their gay marriage votes. In Sandack’s case, the issue became a central focus. Had the three Republicans lost, it would have probably given pause to Republicans considering backing gay marriage in other states where the matter comes up in the future. But given two decisive wins and a third tentative victory, gay rights advocates have a lot to be happy about a day after the election.
More GOP voices for equality
March 4th, 2014
From the NYTimes
Evoking Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, a group of Western-state Republicans plans to enter the battle in favor of same-sex marriage on Tuesday, urging a federal appeals court to declare gay marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma unconstitutional.
The most prominent of the approximately 20 signers of the brief are former Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, a longtime supporter of gay rights, and former Senator Nancy L. Kassebaum of Kansas, who said last year that she had reconsidered her former opposition to same-sex marriage. The document says that “marriage is strengthened” and “the social stability of the family unit are promoted” by allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
Neither of those names is exactly surprising, but very welcome. For too long mainstream Republicans have let the far right be the face and voice of the party on social issues so, while they have a long way to go, it is encouraging to see momentum build in the moderate side of the party.
Formerly vocal anti-gay GOP leaders now moving on
March 1st, 2014
The New York Times interviewed some leading Republican politicians about the now vetoed anti-gay pro-discrimination bill in Arizona and found nearly all speaking the language of conciliation:
More than anything else, the division was a window into a Republican Party that remains torn on gay rights issues, be it the Arizona measure, same-sex marriage or permitting gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military. Some of the party’s most committed voters continue to be intensely opposed to gay marriage, but their views are at odds with an increasing percentage of the American electorate, particularly younger and independent voters.
“The establishment’s reaction to the Arizona law reflects the reality that much of the country’s views on these issues have changed,” said Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota who sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
Wait. Tim Pawlenty?
Just three years ago Pawlenty was signing the National Organization for Marriage’s Pledge that he’d push for a Federal Marriage Amendment and only appoint anti-gay judges. Just three years ago he was on Family Research Council’s bus tour promoting Christian supremacy and narrowly defined family values.
Frank Keating, a former governor of Oklahoma, said that while he opposed same-sex marriage, issues of public accommodation had long ago been settled. He said that he, too, would have vetoed a bill like the Arizona one.
“This isn’t 1964 anymore,” he said. “We’ve moved beyond that. If you open up your doors to the general public, you can’t pick and choose who you are going to deal with.”
And with that, the conservative Oklahoma Republican kicked institutionalized anti-gay discrimination into a grave.
Oh we will continue to fight battles and defend our right to exist. Marriage and other matters of full inclusion will remain contentious for a while.
But I think this article answers the question as to whether we’ve reached a turning point. We have.
The opponents of equality put up quite a fight and many of us were lost. But we have won the day. The river has been forded and the gates are in ruins. Never again will those who seek to impose their definitions of righteousness upon us be in majority nor hold the presumption of moral truth.
Huge leap in GOP support for marriage
February 28th, 2014
The New York Times has a new poll showing that Republicans have a slight lead in popular support going into this year’s elections. But the take away from this poll is rather surprising:
Further, Republican lawmakers appear out of step with the public on a range of issues, according to the survey. On immigration, same-sex marriage, marijuana legalization and gun control, Republican lawmakers hold to the minority position. Some of these policy matters illuminate the party’s internal divisions. Half of people under age 45 who lean Republican support legalizing marijuana, and a majority of the same cohort of Republicans also backs same-sex marriage.
Over all, Republican support for same-sex marriage is on the rise. In the fall of 2012, just 24 percent of Republicans backed legalizing the unions; now 40 percent of Republicans do so.
If accurate, that would be a two-thirds increase in just two years. It would also suggest that the future of anti-gay advocacy in the United States looks dim.
GOP Campaign ad features partner
February 13th, 2014
It is not uncommon for a political candidate to feature a spouse in a campaign ad. It’s a quick way to send a signal to the constituents that this is a good family man (or woman) who is settled and responsible and just like they are.
What is unusual, however, is for a gay candidate to make mention of their spouse or partner. Generally, that is seen as a difference from the voters, something to be minimized. Though many had partners, or were married, most presented a public image that could be mistaken for a sexless bachelor or spinster.
Carl DeMaio, a Republican running for Congress from San Diego, has become the first serious candidate to do so. (Wall Street Journal)
Carl DeMaio is one of three openly gay Republicans running for Congress this year, and he would be at least the third to serve in the House if he wins. But Mr. DeMaio on Thursday will take a step that none of them has, airing a campaign ad that features a shot of him with his same-sex partner.
The clips are brief: A shot of Mr. DeMaio holding hands with his partner, Johnathan Hale, as they march in a gay pride parade in 2012, followed by a clip of the San Diego candidate waving a rainbow flag that symbolizes the gay-rights movement.
Several GOP campaign officials and Elizabeth Wilner, who tracks campaign ads for the nonpartisan firm Kantar Media, said it was the first time they knew of a candidate of either party airing an ad featuring a gay partner.
It’s possible that there were other ads missed by Wilner. And some spouses have been publicly acknowledged or have been part of a campaign.
But, nevertheless, this is a rather remarkable moment. This signals that DeMaio, at least, believes that his relationship makes him a more connectable candidate than were he to be seen as single. And this is more noteworthy when considering that DeMaio’s ad comes in the primary season when he has a conservative GOP opponent.
It could be that we are reaching the point where, in some circles, gay relationships are no longer just tolerated but are an expectation, a sign that this is a serious responsible person. Just like the voters.
Indiana GOP moves gay ban bill to the floor
January 22nd, 2014
As expected, the hand-selected committee chosen by Indiana House Leader Brian Bosma has given its rubber stamp to the divisive and discriminatory HJR-3, a proposal to put a gay marriage ban before voters in November. (Journal Gazette)
A panel of Indiana lawmakers has approved a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage, sending the measure to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The House Elections Committee voted 9-3 to advance the measure Wednesday evening. The vote followed weeks of intense lobbying, emotional testimony and widespread uncertainty on the issue.
Indiana marriage ban moved to another committee
January 21st, 2014
You may recall that last week the Indiana Judiciary Committee heard testimony on a bill to place a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality on the ballot this fall.
At the time, I said that if Republican Party leadership was smart, they would kill the bill in committee. Not only will it hurt the future of the party in the state, it may go down to embarrassing defeat in November and drag Republican candidates down with it.
And, for a moment, it appeared as though that might have happened. No vote was called on the bill.
But, as it turns out, the party leadership is astonishingly stupid. Stunningly so. (IndyStar)
In a highly unusual move, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma today moved the controversial same-sex marriage ban to a new committee — where it stands a better chance of passing — after the measure stalled in another committee.
The measure had a hearing last week in the Judiciary Committee, but House Republican leaders decided against bringing it to a vote amid concerns that three GOP lawmakers might vote against it and kill the amendment.
Bosma said Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, Elections Committee chairman, told him he was not confident the amendment was going to come to the floor. Bosma said he didn’t talk to the members, but let Steuerwald do that.
The Herald on three gay GOP candidates
January 19th, 2014
The Boston Herald
Each ultimately must unseat a Democratic incumbent, overcome brushes with hate and confront passionate divisions within the GOP about the way they live their lives. The Republican Party is trying to soften its tone on divisive social issues, but many religious conservatives see homosexuality as immoral.
Indiana to consider marriage ban bill today
January 13th, 2014
Today legislators in Indiana are scheduled to vote on a bill to put a marriage ban into the state constitution. It is likely the last time that a state will undertake such an effort.
In a sign that the public’s appetite for institutionalized discrimination is waning, this bill is facing uncertainty, despite Republicans holding majorities in both houses.
The problem is that for the amendment to be brought about, identical language must be approved by two consecutive legislatures and then approved by popular vote and, in their arrogance, the 2010 legislature went into full ‘ban everything’ mode.
Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.
Now the ‘no marriage, no civil unions, no other-state recognition, no employment benefits, no nothing, never’ approach seems heavy-handed and cruel. And many moderates and business leaders are warning that such an approach makes the state appear oppressive and hostile, neither of which are good for business.
Left with a start over or risk it choice, Legislative leaders are trying to have it both ways. Starting over would mean that the likelihood of passage of anything would be much lower in four years. And risking it runs the chance of defeat, which would almost certainly be seen as a sign that the nation has tired of anti-gay amendments.
So instead they are trying to “explain” the second half of the amendment language. (News Sentinel)
“I think it’s very advisable to have an expression of legislative intent that accompanies HJR 3 (the proposed amendment),” Bosma said last week. “There are valid questions raised about the second sentence of the amendment.
“It seemed to make a lot of sense to address the issues, but still make it quite clear that civil unions are not allowed — which is the substantially similar or identical language to marriage — and define it as a man and a woman, but remove these concerns people validly are raising in most cases.”
The opposition has pointed out specific situations in which this bill would hurt lives of people in Indiana, such as partners of employees at the state colleges. Which, based on the history of other states going for the “no, no, no, no” approach is true.
The legislative leaders are hoping that by “explaining”, they can confuse the issue enough that the voters will somehow overlook the problems that the bill would bring and the image of their state as the final Hate State. But the business community is not on board and moderates are not letting the leaders get by with such a flimsy card game.
Today is the first test in whether the social conservatives have sufficient grasp on the legislature so as to push the bill through. (abc57)
The amendment vote falls in the hands of the Indiana House Judiciary Committee, a panel of just 13 lawmakers.
All 4 Democrats on the committee are expected to vote it down, but they’ll still need at least 3 of the Republicans to join them in order to defeat the amendment.
If the party is smart, they will kill this bill in committee, promise to bring it back again, and then lose it in the shuffle. The odds are that they will instead taint the image of their party and their state and plop this steaming pile of animus and self-righteousness into the laps of the voters.
You can watch the hearing here.
So far opponents have included gay Republicans, business groups and chambers of commerce. Actually, some pretty hard-hitters from our side. All either hard-core Republican activists or high-level businesses integral to the economy.
Perhaps one of the most unusual arguments from a very conservative attorney is that because the second sentence is so ambiguous, then the courts will make all future decision and not the legislature.
Legislator just ate up ADF’s representative by asking for an example of what the second sentence would prohibit. She kept trying to say it would not effect benefits, but couldn’t say what it would do. And the silly girl said “I can say with certainty” only to have it pointed out to her that her assertions disagree with history and have no weight.
The Judiciary Committee has adjourned and the vote has been delayed.