Showing posts with label GOP Gay Marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GOP Gay Marriage. Show all posts

May 30, 2020

Two Gay GOP's Get Married by Their GOP Libertarian Friend Denver Riggleman, But The GOP Now Wants Riggleman OUT

When Anthony “Rek” LeCounte and Alex Pisciarino tied the knot last summer, they didn’t expect their wedding to become a flash point in a congressional campaign.

Shortly after moving to Charlottesville for graduate school at the University of Virginia, the pair of gay Republican activists became volunteers for Denver Riggleman, a libertarian-leaning distillery owner and former Air Force intelligence officer running for an open House seat. They struck up a friendship, and after Riggleman won the hard-fought race, the couple asked him to officiate their wedding at a nearby vineyard that summer.

“It was so exciting and such an honor for Alex and Rek to ask me to conduct a same-sex wedding,” Riggleman told VICE News, calling the pair friends who “obviously love each other.”

But some of the GOP activists in the Southern, rural-heavy district were furious that Riggleman would marry two men. A trio of Republican county committees officially censured him, and a similar attempt at the district level fell just short.

“We kind of expected some folks might be upset, but we weren’t expecting how fiercely angry and persistent they would be about it,” LeCounte told VICE News. “It’s frustrating. It’s unpleasant. The fact that there are all these people around the district who have opinions about our wedding is a very bizarre thought.”

Now, the congressman is facing a real test against a hard-right candidate in a race where a small cadre of diehard activists will determine if he gets renominated.

One of the activists who expressed outrage about the wedding was Bob Good, then the athletic director at Liberty University, a birthplace of the modern religious right that lies just outside the district.

“You can’t flaunt your apparently progressive/liberal values in front of the conservative Republican base in the district and expect to not catch any flak for it,” Good said on Facebook after posting a write-up of the wedding from the Washington Post.

He’s now running against Riggleman

February 2, 2016

Panel Recommends Removal of Fl Judge Refused Issue Gay Marriage Licenses

Vance Day

 A state judicial fitness panel has recommended the removal of a Marion County judge who came under scrutiny last year for refusing to perform same-sex marriages based on his religious beliefs.

The Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability filed its recommendation to the state Supreme Court on Monday, accusing Marion County Judge Vance Day of discrimination based on sexual orientation and a myriad of other ethical violations.

"His misconduct is not isolated. It is frequent and extensive," the commission wrote in its recommendation, which followed an investigation and a weeks-long disciplinary hearing that concluded late last year. "Judge Day's pattern of behavior includes misconduct for personal gain and misconduct amounting to criminal behavior ... His misconduct is of such a nature as to impugn his honesty and integrity."

Patrick Korten, Day's spokesman, said he wasn't immediately able to provide a full response given the recommendation was filed late in the day, but he added that Day and his legal team were disappointed.

"The opinion is especially troubling because it disregards Judge Day's First Amendment rights to freedom of religion, speech and association," Korten said in a prepared statement. "He will vigorously defend these rights, and his innocence of the remaining charges, before the Oregon Supreme Court."

The commission is accusing Day of "willfully" violating 10 rules of the Code of Judicial Conduct, from threatening a youth-sports referee to soliciting money from lawyers appearing before him to allowing a convicted felon to handle a gun.

But it was his refusal to perform same-sex marriages after it became legal in Oregon in May 2014 and nationwide a year later that drew the most attention.

The commission said that when a same-sex couple asked Day to perform their marriage, he told his staff to lie about his availability and direct them to another judge.

"Day asserts that this system of discrimination 'accommodated' same sex couples ... the idea that a discriminatory practice is a positive 'accommodation' to those being discriminated against shows a deplorable lack of understanding of the most basic concepts of impartiality," the commission wrote in its recommendation.

Despite the commission receiving dozens of complaints every year, one rarely results in a formal disciplinary proceeding. Day is now the sixth judge since 2007 to have been referred for sanctions to the Supreme Court, which will have the final say.

By  Kristena Hansen, Associated Press. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Gayly

December 16, 2015

Marco Rubio Wants to Turn the Future into a Dark Closeted Past

Remember how many times Rubio referred to obeying the law of the land if the Supreme Court voted one way or another on gay marriage? It was also a reason to leave things as they were(no need to vote on gay marriage) because it was the law of the land(that part was made up because the Courts had never made a decision of whom should be the american Citizens that should be Married). Those mouths moved without thinking of how we can reversed gay marriage. Supposed it happened 5-10 from now…according to Rubio we unmarried all those couples gay and straights. Is funny but these guys mean it all if it accommodates into a little mind.

May 23, 2015

In Elite GOP Fundraiser Rubio Questioned by Gay Donor


In public and behind closed doors, 2016 Republican presidential candidates are being put on the spot on an increasingly tricky issue: same-sex marriage. 
The issue has become a source of friction within the Republican Party, as more socially liberal donors and corporations clash with conservative activists and other opponents of same-sex marriage. Marco Rubio was the latest GOP candidate to field this question at a private fundraiser with party elites in Washington on Wednesday night.
One donor identified herself as gay(Tx.GOP Rep.Sara Davis) and asked the Florida senator to state his position on same-sex marriage during a question-and-answer session, two attendees who were in the room told CNN. 
 GOP-Rep.Sara Davis (photo FB)

   Rubio stuck to his conservative position: He said he 
believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, though he said individual states can choose their own policies related to same-sex marriage.
Rubio spokesman Alex Conant declined to comment. 
‪The interaction highlights the complicated balancing act Republican presidential candidates now face, as they must defend their social views to political donors while avoiding inconsistency in their public statements.‬
Republican officials have struggled to adapt to the country's changing views on same-sex marriage. Just this year, contentious debates over the so-called "religious freedom" laws in several states also exposed a growing rift between socially conservative Republicans and big business, which has historically backed the GOP.‬
    Some of Rubio's fellow presidential aspirants have run into some trouble on the issue. 
    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, was forced to reaffirm his position last month after it was reported that the presidential candidate seemed to have softened his view in a private gathering of donors. (Cruz had told supporters that he would love his daughters just the same if he learned that any one of them was gay, The New York Times first reported.) 
    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has also been scrutinized for his statements on same-sex marriage. In one recent interview, Bush, who has not yet officially launched his presidential campaign, stood by his opposition to same-sex marriage, stating that he doesn't consider it a constitutional right.

    If GOP candidates are feeling pressure from Christian conservatives to demonstrate their unequivocal opposition to same-sex marriage, some donors have landed in hot water for the opposite reason. 
    A gay businessman who hosted the New York City fundraiser for Cruz faced fierce backlash from the gay community and ultimately issued an apology for holding the event for the Texas senator, calling it a “terrible mistake.”
    NOTE: This type of rich donors fundraisers is done by all political parties.That is why the rich is so powerful because they give and latter when the need arises the phone call is put through and on the other end it will be expected that there would be a listening, sympathetic ear. If elections were funded by the public then the rich donors will loose power in theory and it will go to the public. There would be no need for an election to last two years for candidates running and getting enough money for commercials and expenses. 
    If the public funded the elections we could take the sample of England again and limit the amount to running the election to months instead of years.This would be a more democratic structure than what we have now. But nothing will happen if the voters don’t put a stop to it. If the public will spent less time complaining about everything to do with too many trees to not enough bike lanes this time and effort could be invested into a democratic political system, then we would have one. If you want to make a difference this would be a good endeavor to take on.

    West Coast FB Distributor: Jeremy Hale

    February 23, 2015

    A GOP Divide Over Gays: The Ones That want to move on+Those who want to fight to the death

     Two Elephants that will fight until one concedes, Not until death as furious as it looks( pic)

     A divide over gay marriage is emerging in the potential Republican presidential primary field, with candidates falling into one of two camps: those who want to admit defeat on a key social cause and move on, and those who want to keep fighting.

    The prospects of a messy and damaging fight over an issue where public sentiment is rapidly evolving loom large, particularly in the first caucus state of Iowa.

    A narrow majority of Republican voters polled in early caucus and primary states, including New Hampshire, said it was unacceptable for candidates to oppose gay marriage. That trend highlights how traditional Republican Party views on same-sex marriage are increasingly out of step with a seismic societal shift.

    Some GOP analysts worry that a noisy gay marriage debate could pose a threat to the party’s eventual nominee, if it means that Republicans are unable to attract young voters.

    “This was a battle in the culture war that has been lost, and there’s no turning this clock back,” said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based Republican consultant. “You’re not going to un-ring this bell.’’

    Thirty-six states, including the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, have legalized gay marriage since Massachusetts became the first to do so more than a decade ago.

    Nearly 72 percent of the US population now lives in a state where gay marriage is legal. The Supreme Court is expected to decide this summer whether gay marriage should be permitted nationwide.

    ‘You’re going to have to talk about it if you want to be the nominee’ of the GOP.

    These developments leave Republican White House aspirants in an awkward position, facing competing pressures from the party’s conservative Christian base and a broader electorate with more flexible views.

    To be sure, none of the potential Republican candidates have come out in support of same-sex unions. But several, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, have softened their rhetoric, seeking to turn the focus to other issues and avoid alienating voters over a lost cause.

    Bush, who once spoke against legal protections for gays and lesbians, said recently that laws striking down bans on gay marriage are not worth trying to appeal.

    “I hope that we can also show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue — including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty,” he said.

    Others planning to run are not ready to yield. They insist their socially conservative principles are more important than political pragmatism or public opinion, and they plan to make gay marriage a central topic in the 2016 debate.

    “It’s like asking someone who’s Jewish to start serving bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli,” former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who has surged to the top of some recent national polls, recently told CNN. “We don’t want to do that — I mean, we’re not going to do that.”

    Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is pushing for a constitutional amendment that would leave it up to states to define marriage, and would prevent the federal government from getting involved. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former US senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania , and former Texas governor Rick Perry have also been among the most vociferous opponents of gay marriage.

    Socially conservative leaders in Iowa plan to pressure all Republican candidates to commit to opposing gay marriage.

    “Marriage is going to be a big issue in the 2016 race,” said Bob Vander Plaats, president and chief executive of The Family Leader, based in Iowa. “And I don’t believe any potential Republican nominee will become the nominee without firmly believing and committing and leading on God’s design for the family of one man and one woman marriage.”

    Vander Plaats said his organization has a half-dozen events planned, at which he will push candidates to commit to fighting the rulings of federal judges.

    To those who say they’ve lost the battle and courts have ruled, he says he will ask: If the courts said you had to turn in your guns, would you cave in, or would you fight?

    “You’re not going to get a pass on it,” he said. “You’re going to have to talk about it. You may say, ‘I don’t want to because I want to win the general election.’ That’s nice, but you’re going to have to talk about it if you want to be the nominee.”

    Even as each of the potential candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination opposes gay marriage, the GOP electorate they are courting is shifting. In a new NBC News and Marist College poll, about half of Republican voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina say candidates who oppose gay marriage are “mostly” or “totally” unacceptable.

    Some 52 percent of likely voters in New Hampshire said it is unacceptable for a candidate to oppose gay marriage. That’s close to the percentage — 56 percent — who said raising taxes on the wealthy would be unacceptable.

    Moderate Republican leaders from New Hampshire don’t see it as a driving factor.

    “I haven’t thought about it much at all, which I think reflects the fact that it’s not a big issue,” former US senator Judd Gregg said. “These social issues are not the issues that decide our primaries.”

    The Republican National Committee, in its report of what went wrong in 2012, concluded that the party had to be more “welcoming and inclusive” on gay-rights issues.

    “I think candidates ought to talk about issues that matter to the American people: That’s jobs and the economy and national security and terrorism,” said Henry Barbour, a Republican National Committee member from Mississippi who helped craft the report. “Those are the issues that matter the most in my opinion, and I think that’s where candidates should tend to focus.”

    David Kochel, a longtime Iowa-based adviser to Mitt Romney who recently became one of Jeb Bush’s top strategists, notably came out in favor of gay marriage in 2013 and signed a legal brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down bans on gay marriage.

    Walker, who in 2006 supported a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and civil unions, said in October that the issue had been decided when the Supreme Court rejected appeals from several states.

    “For us, it’s over in Wisconsin,” he said. “To me, I’d rather be talking in the future now more about our jobs plan and our plan for the future of the state. I think that’s what matters to the kids. It’s not this issue.”

    Governor Chris Christie, who supports civil unions but not gay marriage, said last year that the issue had been “settled” in New Jersey.

    Although Democrat Hillary Clinton supports gay marriage, she has also said that it should be left up to the states to decide.

    For her the issue is complicated by the fact that her husband, President Clinton, signed into law several pieces of legislation that gay-rights groups oppose, including the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred same-sex couples from receiving federal marriage benefits. The Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional in 2013.

    “She has the same position as almost every potential Republican, and that is that marriage should be left to the states to decide,” said Gregory T. Angelo, national executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, the most prominent GOP group supporting gay rights. “For better or worse, it’s given the Republican presidential field cover on this issue.”

    Still, Angelo said, he’s noticed a shift in rhetoric among the Republican presidential candidates — and nearly all of them have met with him.

    “With a few outliers, you’re not seeing a strident opposition to marriage equality as you did in the 2012 cycle,” he said. “I’m encouraged by the sensitivity to the marriage issue that most true Republicans are exhibiting in the early stage. By and large, there is a consensus that marriage equality is here to stay.

    November 10, 2014

    U.S.GOP Sen Portman Supports Gay marriage. He Talks about the Court that went for Gay Bans

    rob-portman-budget-supercommittee.jpgSen. Rob Portman supports gay marriage. He'd prefer that the public come to accept it and support it rather than have courts decide.  The appeals court judges who refused Thursday to strike down anti-gay marriage bans in Ohio and three other states share a common view – one seemingly missed by many, pro or con  -- with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.
    Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, supports gay marriage. That makes him a political symbol of hope within the gay-marriage movement.  His position, known publicly since March 2013, has forced him to assure conservatives that he has not abandoned other bedrock issues such as abortion opposition.
    Portman says he sees freedom to marry as fundamentally conservative.
    Yet Portman prefers that the right not be accomplished by judicial fiat. And neither does the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, based in Cincinnati.

    The court, in a 2-1 ruling Thursday, characterized the issue as a choice -- of either allowing "the democratic processes begun in the states to continue," or using its judicial authority to force an end to gay-marriage bans. Should gay marriage, considered a constitutional right by a growing number of jurisdictions, be struck down by the courts or, as Judge Jeffrey Sutton, an appointee of President George W. Bush, wrote, through the will of voters?

    "Who decides?" wrote Sutton, in an opinion joined by Judge Deborah Cook. "Is this a matter that the national Constitution commits to resolution by the federal courts or leaves to the less expedient, but usually reliable, work of the state democratic processes?"
    The court chose the latter, refusing to rule that laws banning or affecting gay marriage in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee violate the Constitution’s due process or equal protection clauses.

    Like Portman, Sutton said that "we cannot deny thinking the plaintiffs deserve better."  But Sutton suggested that victory for gay couples could come through legislation or new ballot initiatives, the same kind that millions of voters used in states like Michigan and Ohio a decade ago to make gay marriage unconstitutional.

    This is an ongoing process, Sutton said. "In some states, people have re-amended their constitutions to broaden the category of those eligible to marry," he wrote. In other states, including Ohio, "the people seem primed to do the same but for now have opted to take a wait-and-see approach of their own as federal litigation proceeds." But some subjects, even if divisive and profound, Sutton said, deserve to be within the voters' reach.
    Critics called Sutton’s reasoning tortured, and in a stinging dissent, Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey wrote that Sutton had drafted an opinion that "would make an engrossing TED Talk or, possibly, an introductory lecture in Political Philosophy."

    Daughtrey said that "as an appellate court decision, it wholly fails to grapple with the relevant constitutional question in this appeal: whether a state's constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage violates equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment. Instead, the majority sets up a false premise—that the question before us is 'who should decide?'—and leads us through a largely irrelevant discourse on democracy and federalism."
    Portman has not yet commented on the Sixth Circuit decision. But the ruling is consistent with the senator's recent stance.
    Portman has said he believes the best course is for voters to come to the realization that same-sex couples deserve the right to marry – and for the change to come from the democratic process, not the courts.

    The senator laid this out most clearly when telling a small group of reporters on March 14, 2013, that he no longer opposed same-sex marriage. Meeting with Washington-based reporters for The Plain Dealer, the Columbus Dispatch, the Dayton Daily News and the Cincinnati Enquirer, Portman explained that his college-age son, Will, had come as gay. He said this prompted him to reconsider his long-held views, and he came around to thinking that gay marriage should be legal.

    But Portman said he preferred that other Americans come around on their own and through public discourse. Citizens have the means to make the necessary legal changes, he suggested.
    "The process of citizens persuading fellow citizens is how consensus is built and enduring change is forged," Portman wrote in a Columbus Dispatch op-ed right after his public change of heart. "That's why I believe change should come about through the democratic process in the states. Judicial intervention from Washington would circumvent that process as it's moving in the direction of recognizing marriage for same-sex couples. An expansive court ruling would run the risk of deepening divisions rather than resolving them."
    The gay-marriage movement cheered Portman’s reversal in 2013, as it did the string of judicial rulings that, until Thursday, felled one state ban after another.

    But Portman's preferred method of change has largely gone unnoted amid the cheers. Asked about it, Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, a group working to win marriage rights nationally, said in an email:
    "In America, we believe that there are basic freedoms and rights that should not be up to a vote, or left to the mercy of politicians or persuasion; that is why we have a Constitution and the courts that exist to enforce its guarantees and protections. It is no answer to people unfairly denied the freedom of speech or freedom of religion or freedom to marry that if they wait long enough or work hard enough, maybe, just maybe, some day they will get the rights that the Constitution promises.

    "While I am happy that our work and persuasion has indeed over time moved a majority of the American people to support the freedom to marry, we are one country, with one Constitution. Americans, including Ohioans, should not have to fight state by state, vote by vote, year by year to be able to marry the person they love right now, no matter what state they live in, including Ohio.”

    November 6, 2014

    What this GOP Takeover Means for LGBT Issues in the US

    Republican Party LGBT, United States Senate, Tom Cotton, Shelley Moore Capito, Mitch McConnell, Mike Rounds, gay news, Washington Blade
    From left, Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former Gov. Mike Rounds(R-S.D.) are responsible for Republican gains in the U.S. Senate. (Photos public domain)
    When the polls closed on Tuesday, the Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate made clear further advancement of LGBT rights in Congress became a lot more complicated — if not totally put on ice.

    Shortly after 11:20 pm, the Associated Press reported Republicans won control of the Senate — presumably clearing the way for Sen. Mitch McConnell to become Senate Majority Leader — by picking up seats in Iowa, North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota. Additionally, media outlets projected Republicans would win about 10 seats in the U.S. House.
    Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said the GOP gains will be a test for LGBT groups on whether they’re willing to work in a bipartisan fashion in the 114th Congress.

    “This is really a time of choosing for LGBT advocates on the left,” Angelo said. “Do you support the left agenda, or do you actually support equal rights for Americans? Those who fall in the latter category are going to be the ones who are going to be come to the table with Republicans and find solutions, ways to pass things, like employment protections for LGBT individuals, that also reach consensus among Republicans.”

    Angelo said he’ll meet with Log Cabin’s board of directors in January to discuss priorities, but one area of interest for which he’s seen a “tremendous appetite” among Republicans on Capitol Hill — even if they’re not on board with other pro-LGBT initiatives — is confronting human rights abuses against LGBT people overseas.

    One bill that LGBT advocates may continue to push is the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation that would bar employers from engaging in anti-LGBT bias in the workplace. There’s also interest in a comprehensive civil rights bill, which has been endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, which would institute LGBT protections in employment, public accommodations, housing, credit, education and federal programs.

    But Republican control may put the kibosh on these bills in the upcoming Congress, let alone versions of the legislation sought by LGBT advocates that would narrow the religious exemption along the lines of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    Jeff Cook-McCormac, senior adviser to the pro-LGBT Republican group American Unity Fund, nonetheless said he sees a way forward if an “authentically bipartisan strategy” is applied.

    “Instead of being contentious, we’re going to have to meet Republican legislators where they are and engage in thoughtful conversations about the time in which they have the level of comfort to move legislation forward,” Cook-McCormac said. “I think it presents both new challenges and new opportunities for the movement to advance these issues.”
    An important part of this strategy, Cook-McCormac said, is making sure Republican members are carrying bills of interest to the LGBT community in consultation with Democratic allies in Congress.
    “With regard to advancing the ball forward on an issue that garners broad bipartisan support like non-discrimination, I think there will be an increasing level of interest,” Cook-McCormac added.

    Even with Democratic control of the Senate, the current Congress didn’t yield much pro-LGBT legislation. A version of ENDA passed the Senate on a bipartisan basis last year, but the House Republican leadership never brought up the measure.
    The one exception to the inaction on LGBT legislation was reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which included non-discrimination protections for victims of domestic violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Jerame Davis, executive director of the LGBT arm of the AFL-CIO known as Pride at Work, predicted more of the same inaction on LGBT legislation when Congress reconvenes in January thanks to Republican victories on Election Day.
    “I think it means more gridlock and no movement on LGBT issues in Congress,” Davis said. “We’ve been, as you know, waiting for something akin to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to pass Congress for over 30 years and with a Republican-controlled Senate, we’re not likely to see movement. In fact, the last time that ENDA made any movement was in the Senate, and the Republican takeover means that bill is certainly dead in that house of Congress.”

    With movement on pro-LGBT legislation in question, advocates may be looking elsewhere in arenas other than Congress to advance LGBT rights.
    That includes action from Obama, whom advocates are pushing to lift the ban on transgender service in the U.S. military, and the courts, which are still issuing decisions on marriage equality and may soon interpret existing civil rights law to bar workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    Davis said LGBT advocates will increasingly turn to state legislatures to act on initiatives if federal pro-LGBT bills continue to languish in Congress.
    “Labor contracts protect LGBT union workers even in states with no legislative protections, but that’s not always an option,” Davis said. “Until Congress can pass a clean version of ENDA without extraneous religious exemptions, we will have to look to state legislatures to pick up the slack.”


    October 31, 2014

    A Rainbow Revolution with Republicans Having to be the Most Affected, No Election Wedge this time


    It would have been unimaginable even a couple of years ago.

    Rainbow Revolution
    This is the first story in an occasional series on the changes in American attitudes about gays and gay marriage.
    The most powerful Republican in Washington flew to San Diego this month to help raise money for an openly gay candidate for the House of Representatives.

    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wasn’t just trying to help elect a Republican. He was trying to help his party build a new image, and reach out to voters it had spent the last decade shunning. His decision to campaign for gay candidates was met with surprisingly nominal opposition, which he was able to brush aside quickly.

    Little-noticed and making barely a stir, Boehner’s trip was a potent sign of a fundamental shift in the country and its politics.

    After decades of solid opposition, a majority of Americans now support marriage between those of the same sex, would accept it if a child of theirs were gay and say it wouldn’t make a difference if a candidate for Congress were gay. The shift has come rapidly; it was just in 2013 that a majority first supported same sex marriage.

    This change didn’t come from political leaders. Rather, it was driven by Americans themselves, a “rainbow revolution” propelled by a new generation coming of age in a new era with new attitudes, older people becoming more familiar with gays and lesbians in their families and communities, workplaces that welcome gays, changing messages in popular culture and new conversations in places of worship.

    As people are changing their attitude, politics is changing in reaction.

    Democrats who long opposed same-sex marriage – such as Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton – all have changed their position. Many Republicans as well have changed, some in their position, some in their approach.

    The state Republican Party in Nevada dropped its opposition to same-sex marriage. Tea party icon Michele Bachmann said marriage wasn’t even an issue this election. “Boring,” she said. And just a decade after opposition to gay marriage helped Republican George W. Bush win re-election, his political guru said he could envision one of his party’s presidential hopefuls in 2016 supporting same-sex marriage.

    There are still opponents, to be sure. A solid segment of America opposes same-sex marriage. The Republican Party is torn. Some lawmakers are refusing to allow couples to marry, even as an avalanche of court rulings say they can. Religions such as the Roman Catholic Church weigh changes, then back off.

    But rapidly changing views on gays and lesbians, particularly marriage, are altering American politics this fall, perhaps for good.

    Carla Jones, 59, a real estate agent from Orange County, Calif., is one who’s changed her mind. For her, it was realizing that sexual orientation is not a choice but rather something that a person is born with.

    “We’re hard-wired, if you will, in our sexual preference,” she said. “Once I kind of understood that, then everything started to fall into place about same-sex marriage.” 

    Impact is biggest among Republicans              

    The impact on politics is most evident in the Republican Party.

    A Republican candidate for U.S. Senate is running statewide TV ads in favor of same-sex marriage. A pair of openly gay Republicans – Carl DeMaio of California and Richard Tisei of Massachusetts – are running in competitive House races, both featuring ads with their partners, both backed by Boehner. At least eight Republican members of Congress have indicated their support for same-sex marriage. Leading the pack: Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who reversed his longtime opposition because his son is gay.

    It’s a sign of where the country is and where voters are. No question.
    Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry
    Monica Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon who’s a Republican candidate in Oregon for the Senate, said she’d decided to air the TV ad featuring a gay man who successfully fought the state’s same-sex marriage ban so that voters would realize she represented all residents in Oregon, not just a segment of the population.

    “The Republican Party is a big-tent party,” Wehby said. “We don’t have to be in lockstep on every issue.”

    Former first lady Laura Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney support same-sex marriage. Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, served as official witnesses at the wedding of two women in September 2013.

    Republicans in Nevada have dropped opposition to same-sex marriage from the state party’s platform, and others are pushing to do the same for the the national party’s platform in 2016.

    “I think people should be able to do what they want to do. I don’t know why we would fight it,” said Mike Jenkins, 47, a contractor from Canton, Ga. “You can’t stop the millions of people from being together. They’re gonna be together if they want to be together, so why fight a simple marriage?”   

    The shifting politics were reflected more broadly, and quickly, in the Democratic Party.

    For years, Democratic leaders opposed same-sex marriage. But they, too, moved in the wake of public opinion.

    Obama opposed same-sex marriage through his 2008 election, then said his thinking was evolving. In 2012, he changed his mind. He said he was influenced by his wife and young daughters.

    Bill Clinton, who signed a 1996 law allowing states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that had taken place in other states, argued for its repeal last year.

    Hillary Clinton said in March that she now supported same-sex marriage “personally, and as a matter of policy and law.” A slew of lawmakers followed suit, including nearly every Democratic senator.

    “There’s a lot of stagnation across the board on every sort of policy advance. But this is one cause where things continue to move,” said Marc Solomon, the national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, a group that’s pushing to secure same-sex marriage nationwide. “It’s a sign of where the country is and where voters are. No question.” 

    It’s not an election issue this time

    Unlike previous years, gay and lesbian issues, including same-sex marriage, have garnered little attention in elections this fall, even in the races where gay candidates are running.

    In Maine, for example, where Democrat Mike Michaud could become the first openly gay governor in the nation, the central issue is his rival’s leadership style, not his own lifestyle.

    “Yes, I am gay,” Michaud wrote in a guest column in the Bangor Daily News last November in response to rumors about his sexual orientation. “But why should it matter?”

    This cycle could make an end to identity politics.
    Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans
    “This cycle could make an end to identity politics,” said Gregory T. Angelo, the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, which calls itself the nation’s largest Republican organization advocating for equal rights for gays and lesbian.

    Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., the first openly gay parent in Congress, said many Republicans didn’t want to talk about an issue on which they might not agree with a majority of Americans. “They’re running away,” he said.

    In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, locked in a tough re-election battle, declared that the fight to oppose same-sex marriage had ended after the Supreme Court rejected the state’s appeal in October. “It’s over in Wisconsin,” he said.

    In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie, another potential 2016 hopeful, called the issue settled over the summer despite his personal opposition to same-sex marriage.


    Maine voters talk about their opinions on same-sex marriage before a campaign event for Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Mike Michaud.
    Eighty-three percent of adults said that whether someone was gay wouldn’t make a difference in whether they voted for that candidate, according to a recent McClatchy-Marist poll. That’s nearly double the 49 percent who felt that way when the Los Angeles Times asked them in 1985.

    This may not yet change the internal workings of the Republican Party when it comes to primary contests. Polls find that Republicans still oppose same-sex marriage by more than than 2 to 1. Tea party supporters oppose it by nearly 3 to 1.

    But it’s affecting general elections, in which candidates have to face voters who are in the middle.

    John Feehery, a Republican political consultant and former congressional aide, said same-sex marriage wasn’t a “particularly good general election issue” for his party. “Republicans are trying to figure out how to expand the party,” he said.

    Bachmann, the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, who’s lobbied against same-sex marriage for years, told reporters at the recent Values Voter Summit in Washington that same-sex marriage isn’t an issue in this year’s elections. “In fact, it’s boring,” she said.

    Republican consultant Karl Rove, who watched anti-same-sex-marriage amendments in 11 states boost turnout that also helped President George W. Bush in 2004, now says he can imagine a 2016 presidential hopeful from his party supporting same-sex marriage.

    In the rare instances where same-sex marriage is being debated this year, the roles of the parties have been reversed. Instead of Republicans attacking Democrats on the issue and using state referendums on marriage to motivate voters to get to the polls, Democrats are attacking Republicans.

    In Colorado, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall launched a social media campaign against his Republican opponent for voting against a bill that would protect gays from discrimination. In Pennsylvania, Democrats started a petition opposing Republican Gov. Tom Corbett after he compared same-sex marriage to incest. And in Arizona, Democrats are criticizing Republican legislators who pushed through a bill allowing companies to deny service to gay customers based on religious beliefs.
    This shift isn’t universal, however, as a large slice of America still opposes same-sex marriage.

    Mario Salazar, 57, of Coral Gables, Fla., a sales director at a company in South Florida, said he always had – and always would – oppose same-sex marriage, though he had family and friends who were gay.

    “The sanctity of marriage is between a man and a woman,” said Salazar, who grew up in Puerto Rico. “If somehow nature would allow same-sex couples to procreate a child after having sexual intercourse, then I would acknowledge and maybe come to terms with that idea. Until then, and according to my beliefs, I am totally against this new fad! What’s next? Marriage between humans and beasts?”

    I’ll become an independent. I’ll start finding people that have guts to stand. I’m tired of this.
    Mike Huckabee, former Republican Arkansas governor
    Political groups and institutions that represent opponents are grappling for the right way to fight back – and to win general elections.

    Several conservative groups – including the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage, for example – pushed Boehner and party leaders to abandon gay candidates.

    But the leaders balked, saying the party needs to be more welcoming to gays, women, young people and minorities after its losses in 2012 – and they pumped millions of dollars into the gay candidates’ races.

    A number of lawmakers and groups have vowed to fight court decisions that paved the way for same-sex marriage in states.

    Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he planned to introduce a constitutional amendment that would prevent the Supreme Court from striking down marriage laws.

    “We should remain faithful to our moral heritage and never hesitate to defend it,” he said.

    At least three states – Kansas, Montana and South Carolina – refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as they fight the court rulings.

    “The state of Kansas has voted on this; the people of Kansas have voted on this,” Republican Gov. Sam Brownback said at a rally this month. “We need to keep pushing those issues and keep surging. . . . Surge forward into the election cycle.”

    Republican former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who’s considering another run for president in 2016, said that if the GOP didn’t fight same-sex marriage he’d leave the party.

    “If the Republicans want to lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people, go ahead and just abdicate on this issue. And go ahead and say abortion doesn’t matter, either,” Huckabee said on the American Family Association’s “Today’s Issues” radio show. “I’ll become an independent. I’ll start finding people that have guts to stand. I’m tired of this.”

    Still, there are signs that even staunch opponents see the way the country is moving.

    Victoria Cobb, the president of the Family Foundation, which opposes same-sex marriage in Virginia, said her group would shift some of its focus after the recent court decision allowing same-sex marriage in the state.

    “We will work,” she said, “to ensure that while same-sex marriage is legal in Virginia, the rights and freedoms of those who disagree with the redefinition of marriage are treated equally and are not discriminated against in their religious practice, education, business or employment.”

    Laura Corley of the Macon Telegraph, Caty Hirst of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Steve Rothaus of the Miami Herald, and Samantha Ehlinger and Daniel Salazar contributed to this article. 

    McClatchy Washington Bureau

    October 28, 2014

    Republican Ted Olson says Gay Marriage at “Point of NO Return”

    (Photo: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY) 
    Former solicitor general Theodore Olson, the Republican lawyer who argued Bush v. Gore and the challenge to California's Proposition 8, says the Supreme Court through action and inaction this month passed "the point of no return" on same-sex marriage.
    "I do not believe that the United States Supreme Court could rule that all of those laws prohibiting marriage are suddenly constitutional after all these individuals have gotten married and their rights have changed," he said in an interview on Capital Download. "To have that snatched away, it seems to me, would be inhuman; it would be cruel; and it would be inconsistent with what the Supreme Court has said about these issues in the cases that it has rendered."
    This month, the high court let stand without explanation appeals court rulings permitting gay marriage in five states. In an interview with The New Yorker published last week, President Obama said he believes it is a constitutional right but endorsed the court's incremental approach.
    Olson disagrees with that, saying the Supreme Court should take a case and affirmatively endorse marriage as a constitutional right. "I think the thing he overlooks...(is) that there are people in 18 states of the United States that don't have this fundamental right that he has just announced that he believes in."
    Waiting for the process in lower courts to open the door to gay marriage in all 50 states "would not be good enough because it's not now," Olson said on USA TODAY's weekly video newsmaker series. "When will that happen? And how much misery and how much suffering do individuals in this country have to experience before that happens?"
    Given his Republican credentials, Olson has been an unlikely champion in the gay-marriage movement. He served in the Justice Department as assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration and solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration. He was the lead attorney facing Democratic counterpart David Boies in the landmark Bush v. Gore case that finally settled the 2000 election and argued the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that changed campaign finance law.
    In 2009, he and Boies joined forces to challenge California's ban on same-sex marriage. Just five years later, the number of states permitting couples of the same gender to marry has exploded from three to 32. Two-thirds of Americans now live in states that allow gay marriage.
    "We never thought it would move this fast," Olson says, attributing the change in legal status and public opinion both to "the work of a lot of lawyers" and the actions by individuals in Hollywood and across the country who have "revealed their sexual identity and told their story."
    Last week, a U.S. District Court judge in Puerto Rico dismissed a challenge to a law there that limits marriage to one man and one woman, but Olson predicts that decision will be overturned by the Appeals Court. He notes that a closely watched case before a three-judge panel in the 6th Circuit of Ohio could go either way, with Judge Jeffrey Sutton as the apparent swing vote.
    "He's a conservative and it's possible that he might rule in favor of sustaining the prohibition," Olson says. But if that happens, "all of the judges on the Circuit, I think, would come out the other way."
    At age 74, Olson has argued 61 cases before the Supreme Court, on issues ranging from the First Amendment to the separation of powers. He says he doesn't think about his legacy: "I hope that I will have a few more years left." But he adds that his work on gay marriage “is the legal accomplishment that I think will always mean the most to me."

     Susan Page, USA TODAY

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