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Gov. Terry Branstad has declined comment about two of his judicial nominating appointees who publicly asked questions to judicial applicants about covenant vows and church involvement.

And that silence is unfortunate because it could help maintain the integrity of Iowa’s judicial selection process, critics contend.

“I think it would be wise for the govern to basically say ‘Let’s clearly understand the parameters of what the judicial nominating commission is supposed to be seeking,’” said Jeff Angelo, a former senator who is now chairman of the group Republicans for Freedom, which advocates for individual liberty in marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Angelo continued: “It doesn’t surprise me he declined comment because he’s not a micro manager but at the same time I would guess he hopes this is an isolated incident that sort of resolves itself.”

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The American Civil Liberties Union has hired a consulting firm started by the Iowa Republican Party’s former chairman to help with efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois.

Former Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn started a government affairs firm earlier this year with Pat Brady. Brady left his post as GOP chairman in Illinois to start the firm.

The company, Next Generation Public Affairs, Inc., has been retained by the ACLU’s Illinois chapter to provide strategic advice on marriage equality, part of which includes a lobbying effort in Illinois headed up by Brady. Strawn is not a registered lobbyist in any state.

So far, two Illinois Republicans say they’re in favor.

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California Republicans are abuzz following the Marin County Republican Central Committee’s vote Thursday to support same-sex marriage, becoming the nation’s first Republican county central committee to do so.

“We recognized that we were not providing Marin voters with a viable choice at the polls, and we looked at ways to begin correcting that perception,” Kevin Krick of Fairfax, the committee’s chairman, told my Marin Independent Journal colleague Richard Halstead.

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OUT:

An interview with the conservative marriage equality activist Ken Mehlman on DOMA, the conservative movement, and what’s lies ahead.

Out: Did you anticipate yesterday’s results? Or were you caught by surprise?

Ken Mehlman: I wasn’t surprised by the results, based on the conversations I’d had with Ted Olsen and David Boies fromAFER, which is a board I serve on, and also I’d gotten to know Robbie [Roberta] Kaplan [the lawyer for Edie Windsor]. Although no one can predict the court, it was possible to imagine this result based on the hearings earlier this year. If you readJustice Kennedy’s opinion, and I take him at his word, he looked at that law [DOMA], read the legislative history of the law, and concluded that the law should be overturned. Continue Reading »

Des Moines Register:

One of several rounds of applause at a One Iowa rally Wednesday night came after the Des Moines Gay Men’s Chorus led the crowd, holding hands in an expansive circle on the West Terrace of the Capitol Building, in a stirring round of “We Shall of Overcome.”

A few hundred people came out to show support for the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Wednesday that overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and a second ruling that could restore gay marriage in California. Many people in the crowd wore red shirts that said “The Right to Love,” and waved rainbow flags.

“We have so much to celebrate today,” said One Iowa Executive Director Donna Red Wing in a speech that lauded Iowa’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community’s victories. She also outlined its task for the future, gaining rights for the elder, transgender and HIV positive segments of the community.

Red Wing also praised the activists who came before her. “Let us raise our voices to our friends who never got to see this day,” she said. “We will remember them.”

Among the speakers were state Senator Matt McCoy, ACLU of Iowa Executive Director Ben Stone, and Sue Huber, community organizer for Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians.

Former Senator Jeff Angelo, founder of Iowa Republicans for Freedom, got a few laughs from the crowd when he waved, and said, “This is the segment of the rally I lovingly call, ‘Everybody look at the Republican!’”

In actuality, Angelo said, more Republicans are joining the gay rights movement every day. “The tide is shifting,” he said.

Representing the religious community, Rabbi Steven Edelman-Blank of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Des Moines led the crowd in the shehechiyanu, a celebratory Hebrew prayer. The crowd responded with “Amen.” Rev. Mark Stringer, pastor of the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines said there is more work to be done. “Let’s keep at it, because I believe a god of justice, equality and love wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Gina DelCorazon, 31, was among the crowd, wearing a t-shirt that read “Legalize Gay.” She and her wife, Ana, 36, moved to Des Moines from California to start a family, and married here one year ago.

When DelCorazon, an Ames native, heard the news this morning, “I cried right away,” she said. “It’s so fantastic to feel more secure now.”

Ana agreed. “It’s huge for our family.”

Read the article from The Des Moines Register.

Sun Sentinel:

Ginger Eisenrod is Republican through and through and has been for decades. She runs a residential and commercial real estate business in Boca Raton with her husband, just finished a term as president of a political club in Coral Springs, and describes herself as strongly pro-life on abortion.

Eisenrod is also a supporter of same-sex marriage.

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New York Times:

As the Supreme Court considers overturning California’s ban onsame-sex marriage, gay people await a ruling that could change their lives. But the case has already transformed one gay man: Ken Mehlman, the once-closeted Republican operative who orchestrated President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election on a platform that included opposition to same-sex marriage.

Now Mr. Mehlman, a private equity executive in Manhattan, is waging what could be his final campaign: to convince fellow Republicans that gay marriage is consistent with conservative values and good for their party. His about-face, sparked in part by the lawyer who filed the California lawsuit, has sent him on a personal journey to erase what one new friend in the gay rights movement calls his “incredibly destructive” Bush legacy.

He remains controversial, both applauded and vilified. On the left, he is either an unlikely hero or a hypocritical coward. On the right, some Republicans embrace him; others deem him a traitor.

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