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Archive for November, 2011

from The Huffington Post, published November 29, 2011.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney picked up some vital Florida endorsements this week, securing the support of three key Cuban-Americans. All three supported the pro-immigrant Dream Act, and one is the only sitting Republican in Congress to have come out in favor of repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, both positions that clash with Romney’s stated stances on those issues.

The Associated Press reports:

[Romney] announced endorsements from Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart and his brother, former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, among others. They underscore his strengths going into the Jan. 31 Florida primary and would help him appeal to Hispanics in the state should he become the nominee. The Cuban exile community in the Miami area is an important constituency group for Republicans and the three, who endorsed Sen. John McCain over Romney in 2008, are longtime leaders here.

While their support could help Romney win an important primary contest and put him in a solid position in the Sunshine State if he goes on to win the GOP nomination, Ros-Lehtinen’s position on DOMA, as well as the trio’s broader support for the Dream Act, highlights Romney’s own complex record on the issues of immigration and gay rights.

Romney has come out as an opponent of gay marriage in this election cycle. He signed on to a staunch social conservative pledge drafted by the National Organization for Marriage in August, but earlier declined to attach his name to a stricter document that his campaign claimed contained “undignified” and “inappropriate” provisions. He has since said that he supports gay rights while maintaining that he is against marriage rights for same-sex couples.

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from The Omaha World Herald, published November 29, 2011.

DES MOINES (AP) — The Legislature’s next session will be a relatively short one, tightly focused on jobs and the economy, its top leaders said Tuesday.

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said he has no plans to revisit volatile social issues like gay marriage and abortion when lawmakers convene Jan. 9. Republicans who control the House approved tough restrictions on abortion and a resolution calling for a statewide vote on banning gay marriage last time around, but the Senate’s Democratic leader blocked debate on both measures.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, has indicated he would do the same again, and given that, Paulsen said there’s little incentive to revisit the issues.

…Paulsen said he’s not interested in spending more time on issues that can’t be resolved. There have been some discussions about gun control issues, but no firm proposals have surfaced, he said.

“Right now, the primary focus of the caucus, make no mistake, is on jobs and the economy,” Paulsen said.

With the session scheduled to end April 17, both leaders said they also want to avoid the kind of gridlock that kept lawmakers in session this year until the end of June. But they conceded that’s always a challenge when each party controls one chamber.

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from Bloomberg Business Week, published November 7, 2011.

Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) — A study of one Ohio city shows that same-sex couples may lift property values in neighborhoods that support gay marriage and hurt prices in ones that don’t.

While earlier research suggested that gays and lesbians can be a boon for property values by helping to gentrify neighborhoods, a finer distinction was explored by professors David Christafore of Konkuk University in Seoul and Susane Leguizamon of Tulane University in New Orleans.

The economics professors, who studied home values in 2000 in and around Columbus, Ohio, concluded that an increase in the number of same-sex couples by one in 1,000 households is associated with a 1.1 percent price premium in enclaves that backed gay marriage. The same influx in areas that didn’t support same-sex marriage was linked to a 1 percent discount.

“The perception that there is prejudice against gay and lesbians by conservative groups is strong enough to be picked up in market prices,” Leguizamon said in a telephone interview.

The study, to be published in the Journal of Urban Economics, distinguished between the two types of neighborhoods by how they voted on Ohio’s 2004 Defense of Marriage Act, which became law and defines marriage as between a man and woman. The professors compared average home prices in neighborhoods after controlling for a number factors, including distance to the central business district, income, graduate degrees, school quality, crime rate and house size.

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