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Democrats on gay rights and marriage equality

 

The Birth of the Left-Wing Wedge Issue

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Gay Wedding

Here’s a little datum that may have slid by you: Gallup has just found that on social issues, the country is now equally split between liberals and conservatives. The question was: “Thinking about social issues, would you say your views are” very conservative, conservative, liberal, or very liberal?

And the answer came back: Grouping the first two into one category and the last two into another, it was a dead heat at 31 percent each. This is pretty close to seismic. Just five years ago, the conservative edge on social issues was 39 to 22 percent. Now it’s totally wiped out. The implications for our electoral politics are obvious and enormous, and I mean good-enormous.

I’m not sure when people started using the phrase “wedge issue.” But we’re all sure what wedge issues are: They’re cultural politics issues used in elections by the right–and always only the right–to drive a wedge into the liberal coalition. Nixon did it expertly, even though the phrase wasn’t in use back then. Reagan did it well, cleaving so many working-class white ethnics away from the Democratic Party. George H.W. Bush and Jim Baker did it–remember Willie Horton (race was the original wedge issue). And Bush the younger and Karl Rove expanded it out to include guns and gays.

Authored By Michael Tomasky – See the Full Story at The Daily Beast

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President Obama: “I Think The Equal Protection Clause Does Guarantee Same-Sex Marriage” In All 50 States

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama’s evolution on marriage equality continues, as he discusses in an interview with the New Yorker.

The New Yorker reports:

Obama opposed marriage equality until May of 2012. He told me that he now believes the Constitution requires all states to allow same-sex marriage, an argument that his Administration has not yet made before the Supreme Court. “Ultimately, I think the Equal Protection Clause does guarantee same-sex marriage in all fifty states,” he said. “But, as you know, courts have always been strategic. There have been times where the stars were aligned and the Court, like a thunderbolt, issues a ruling like Brown v. Board of Education, but that’s pretty rare. And, given the direction of society, for the Court to have allowed the process to play out the way it has may make the shift less controversial and more lasting.”

How many other Americans are now shifting their views on the subject, now that things are moving so quickly?

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Congressman Jared Polis Files ENDA Discharge Petition

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Colorado Representative Jared PolisThe openly gay House member from Colorado is filing a discharge petition to force a House vote on the Employment Non Discrimination Act.

Towleroad.com reports:

Out Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) announced today that he has filed a discharge petition in the House of Representatives for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Polis is the chief sponsor of ENDA and is also the co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. From Rep. Polis’ statement: A discharge petition is a procedure to force a vote on legislation if it receives signatures from the majority of the House of Representatives. This move comes after the House Republican leadership has continued to refuse to hold a vote on this bipartisan bill. “This is common sense legislation that is supported by a majority of Americans and was passed overwhelmingly by the United States Senate,” said Rep. Polis. “The Republicans have been dragging their feet on this bill for too long, allowing workplace discrimination against hardworking LGBT Americans to continue.

This new version of ENDA would include a narrower religious exemption.

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Gavin Newsom Deserves Credit for Marriage Equality

Monday, September 1st, 2014

California Lieutenant Governor Gavin NewsomAs the country races to the inevitable day when marriage equality is the law of the land, most of the focus has been on the plaintiffs and celebrity lawyers who have led the legal challenge to marriage bans. Lost in the shuffle has been the man who actually did something when marriage equality still seemed a faraway dream: Gavin Newsom.

As the dashing and telegenic mayor of San Francisco in 2004, Newsom simply decided to do the right thing. He declared that the city should issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples. The subsequent outpouring of joy from lesbian and gay couples — and handwringing from other politicians — changed the landscape forever. Here are five reasons why Newsom deserves to be in the front ranks of heroes when the history of marriage equality is written.

1. Newsom made marriage equality a reality for the first time.
Up until 2004, marriage equality was largely a theoretical debate. The issue had been debated in Hawaii in the 1990s, and courts in New England were grappling with it. But the actual first same-sex marriages were still three months away (in Massachusetts) when Newsom decided that the city should start issuing marriage licenses. Suddenly, the theoretical became very real, very fast.

Authored By John Gallagher – See the Full Story at Queerty

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President Obama to Sign LGBT Employment Executive Order Monday Without Religious Privilege

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama will sign the long-awaited executive order on monday, preventing federal contractors form discriminating against LGBT workers.

The Washington Blade reports:

President Obama is set on Monday to take executive action to prohibit discrimination against LGBT employees working for federal contractors and the federal government, the Washington Blade has learned. In a conference call with reporters on Friday, senior administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Obama plans to amend existing executive orders barring discrimination against workers to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Obama intends to amend Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, to add the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, Obama plans to amend Executive Order 11478, which prohibits discrimination in the federal civilian workplace — and was already amended by President Clinton to include sexual orientation — to include gender identity.

Although there will be no religious privileges included in the order. an older executive order still applies to some groups:

No further exemption for religious entities will be included in the executive order, but the update also won’t repeal President George W. Bush’s amendment to EO 11246, which allows religious-affiliated federal contractors to discriminate on the basis of religion, officials said. “You can use religion to only hire people who share your religion, but you can’t discriminate against somebody who is of your faith who happens to be LGBT, unless they fall within the ministerial exemption,” officials said.

It’s great that the President is doing this, but it’s both a sad commentary on the inability of congress (because of conservative stalling) to take any action on the matter for how many years now? And it could be reversed with the stroke of a pen by the next conservative President.

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Colorado Marriage Equality Gets Boost From Gay Lawmakers

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Colorado Governor John HickenlooperWhile Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper, Republican Attorney General John Suthers, and county clerks in Denver and Jefferson counties are asking for an immediate ruling overturning the ban on Colorado marriage equality followed by a stay, gay lawmakers want something a little different.

CBS Local reports:

“There’s nothing left to argue about. It’s time to put a court-order in place enjoining the enforcement of our ban in Colorado. Let people be married and move on with their lives,” said Democratic Sen. Pat Steadman, a state budget writer and one of five gay lawmakers who called for a quick — and final — court ruling… The longer we delay, the more we say, ‘Oh, let’s hold our breath. Maybe something will happen differently.’ The more we put ourselves in that position of delaying justice, which is really denying justice,” he said. “And as I’ve pointed out, and I can speak from personal experience, not everyone can afford to wait.”

Hickenlooper et al appear to be trying to head off a state court ruling, which could lead to a much more immediate Colorado Supreme Court ruling. why is Hickenlooper going along with this?

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New York Senate Blocks LGBT Bills

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

New York MapThe state Senate killed two LGBT bills by not allowing them to come up for a vote, although both were seen as likely to pass.

Pink News reports:

The New York Senate has blocked bills which banned ‘gay cure’ therapy for minors, and protected trans people from discrimination. The ban on therapy to ‘cure’ homosexuality in minors had already been passed by the Assembly earlier this month, but was blocked by the Senate alongside the Gender Expression Nondiscrimination Act. The Senate leadership ended the legislative session without allowing the bills to go to a vote, despite support from both Democrats and Republicans.

The traitorous democrats (or is that DINO’s) who gave control of the state Senate over to the GOP are the gift that just keeps giving.

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President Obama Will Sign LGBT Employment Executive Order

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama will finally sign an executive order requiring that all companies who contract with the federal government must not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Think Progress reports:

The order, expected to be finalized in the coming weeks, is an extension of orders previously issued by past presidents — most recently Johnson — similarly banning employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin among all contractors and subcontractors who do over $10,000 in business with the government in any one year. The protections will reach over one million LGBT workers across the country, making it the single largest expansion of LGBT workplace protections in our country’s history. There continue to be 29 states that offer no employment protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 32 with no protections based on gender identity, but many LGBT workers in those states will now have workplace protections for the first time ever.

A new HRC poll shows that 63% favor a law protecting the LGBT community in the workplace.

LGBT Weekly reports:

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) today released new public opinion research that conclusively demonstrates strong public support for federal non-discrimination workplace protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers. A national survey of 1,200 registered voters conducted June 6-10, 2014 by TargetPoint Consulting found that 63 percent of those surveyed favor a federal law that protects gay and transgender people from employment discrimination while only 25 percent oppose it. Enthusiasm for this is especially strong among supporters: 42 percent strongly favor it, while only 16 percent strongly oppose.

And Senator Orrin Hatch has the gall to ask the President to put conditions on his order, after helping to block the passage of ENDA for how many years?

The Washington Blade reports:

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is calling for the executive order that President Obama is poised to sign barring LGBT discrimination among federal contractors to include a religious exemption along the lines of the pending Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Hatch made the comments via a statement to the Washington Blade in response to a request to comment on the directive, which the White House on Monday announced President Obama intends to sign. “While the specifics of this executive order are not yet clear, I believe it must include the same religious protections that are included in the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act that passed the Senate,” Hatch said.

OMG, the balls it must take to stand up and say that with a straight face (pun intended).

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Wisconsin Marriage Equality Updates

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

titleA lot going on in Wisconsin marriage equality this week.

First off, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to the state’s marriage equality law.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has declined to hear a petition brought by a same-sex couple from Milwaukee seeking to strike down the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. The court last week without comment declined to take the case. Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and Justice Ann Walsh Bradley dissented, also without comment. Katherine Halopka-Ivery and Linda Halopka-Ivery filed the lawsuit directly with the high court in April, bypassing the trial and appellate courts.

A Federal lawsuit is winding its way through the courts.

At the same time, Governor Scott Walker seems to be backing off of his opposition to marriage equality.

Think Progress reports:

Wisconsin may be one of the next states to have its ban on same-sex marriage overturned, but Gov. Scott Walker (R), who faces a tight race for reelection this year, isn’t sure he’d agree with such a ruling. In an interview on Friday, Walker said he didn’t know if the ban violates the U.S. Constitution, despite having been one of its chief advocates. “Any federal judge has got to look at that law not only with respect to the state’s constitution but what it means in terms of the U.S. Constitution, as well,” he explained. “Again, I’m not going to pretend to tell a federal judge in that regard what he or she should do about it.”

State democrats are lining up in support of marriage equality.

The StarTribune reports:

Wisconsin Democrats are scheduled to approve a platform that reaffirms the party’s current support for legalizing gay marriage and recreational marijuana use, based on a draft released Tuesday. The proposed platform and resolutions were to be voted on by delegates at the Wisconsin Democratic Party convention which begins June 6 in Wisconsin Dells.

And finally, a new poll finds that 55% of Wisconsinites now support marriage equality.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

According to the Marquette University poll, 55 percent of respondents favor legalizing same-sex marriage. In the first question on the topic, the poll gave respondents three options to choose from regarding same-sex partnerships: marriage, civil unions, or no legal recognition whatsoever. For that question, 49 percent chose marriage, 25 percent civil unions and 18 percent no recognition. But later in the survey, pollsters modified the question and asked respondents simply, did they support same-sex marriage: 55 percent said yes, and 37 percent said no.

Can we all just agreee to dump the whole “civil unions vs. marriage equality” thing from polling from now on? It only serves as a tool to drive down apparent support for marriage equality. And does anyone think any state in the US will ever again put a civil unions bill into law?

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USA, Arkansas: Attorney General Supports Marriage Equality But Will Still Defend Ban

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDanielSurprisingly, AG Dustin McDaniel, who blocked a marriage equality petition several times on technicalities before finally allowing it to move forward, personally supports marriage equality.

Edge Boston reports:

McDaniel, a Democrat serving his final year as the state’s top attorney, became the first statewide official in Arkansas to back same-sex marriage. “I want to tell you I do support marriage equality and I do believe Arkansans should have the right to be equal in the eyes of the law,” said McDaniel, speaking at the Associated Press Managing Editors convention… “I’m going to zealously defend our constitution, but at the same time I think it’s important to let people where I stand on the matter,” McDaniel told the AP after his speech.

McDaniel’s position against the ban is similar to Attorneys General in Oregon, California, and Virginia, but those AGs did not defend their states’ bans. A ruling is expected in the case by this week.

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