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Archive for December, 2011

I want to share some exciting polling information with you that the New York Times earlier this month. They polled likely Iowa Republican Caucus goers and asked them about numerous issues, including marriage equality. I was happy to see that 58% indicated they support some form of recognition for gay and lesbian couples.

I encourage you to check out the findings here for yourself.

If you’re like me, you probably thought that number would be a lot smaller, because all we ever see in the media are the Republicans who oppose civil marriages for gay and lesbian couples. What this shows is that as Republicans who support marriage equality, we are in the majority in our party. It’s time we start to be more confident about talking about this issue among our fellow Republicans, and the Iowa Caucuses give us the perfect opportunity to do that.

Please consider taking the following platform plank language to your caucus on January 3rd and introducing it during the platform discussion.

Republican Platform Plank:

We believe in limited government intrusion in people’s lives and believe that same-sex couples should continue to have the freedom to have a civil marriage in Iowa.

Introducing a platform plank is easy, all you have to do is be willing to stand up and ask your fellow caucus attendees to discuss including the proposed language in the platform. Remember – almost 60% of the audience may already agree with you!

If you are willing to do this, please email me back and let me know: info@iowarepublicansforfreedom.com We want to support you and track how many precincts can expect pro-equality language this caucus season. I’ll be introducing this plank at my caucus, and I hope you will too.

Sincerely, Jeff Angelo

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from The Nashua Telegraph.

By TRAVIS BLAIS

In 2010, New Hampshire elected a conservative state Legislature to reverse the disastrous tax-and-spend agenda pursued by Gov. John Lynch and the liberal Democrats. New Republican leadership undertook an unpleasant but necessary job, eliminating a $900 million deficit and balancing the budget without raising taxes. Fiscal sanity has been restored to New Hampshire.

Not every policy of the previous Legislature, however, deserves to be rolled back just because it was supported by Democrats.

In early 2012, the House of Representatives will vote on HB 437, a bill to repeal the 2009 gay marriage law. Although repeal is pushed by many well-meaning conservatives, in fact, conservative principles weigh against the bill.

First and foremost, conservatives should stand up for freedom. Among America’s defining phrases are “We the people,” “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” and “We leave you alone if you’re not hurting anybody.”

Living in a free society means other people may do things you don’t agree with. Of course, no freedom is absolute. But when balancing competing interests, liberty should win unless there’s compelling evidence of harm to others. This is a strong presumption.

For instance, conservatives correctly support the individual right to keep and bear arms, notwithstanding that misuse of firearms can kill people. No evidence suggests gay marriage can be fatal to innocent bystanders.

Opponents of same-sex marriage speak of its downsides, including the devaluation of traditional character values, further instability in the nuclear family and concern for where the slippery slope will slip next, say, toward polygamy. At the same time, however, the animus against homosexual orientation and relationships inflicts its own set of harms that are more tangible, direct and immediate.

Otherwise innocent individuals are subjected to violence and bullying, depression, estrangement from family and society, self-destructive behavior and suicide. These are our friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members; they don’t deserve to live this way.

Read the full article from The Nashua Telegraph.

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By Jeff Angelo

The special election for Senate District 18 in the Cedar Rapids area did not go the way that Republicans such as I were hoping it would. We had an opportunity to elect a state senator who favors sound business policy and limited government spending. It was a missed opportunity that provides a valuable lesson that I hope Iowa Republicans will not forget before next November: We do not win elections based on opposition to same-sex marriage.

I hope this is a lesson that Republicans are finally ready to accept because the stakes are too high. If we want to have a Republican legislature that can control our state’s spending and pass job-stimulating legislation, we must first win at the ballot box. Swing voters do not show up on Election Day and make their decision based on same-sex marriage. Many Iowans believe that this issue is settled Iowa law and not a priority for our lawmakers to spend time discussing.

Additionally, every day, more and more Iowans are coming to believe that civil marriage equality is the right thing for Iowa. I continue to hear from Republicans in Iowa who believe that the freedom of civil marriage is in line with their beliefs of limited government and freedom.

Marriage equality is also a good thing for our economy, according to a report issued last week by the Williams Institute. In the year following the Varnum decision by the Iowa Supreme Court, the state saw an additional $12 million to $13 million in spending on same-sex weddings, which means an additional $850,000 to $930,000 in revenue for local and state government. That translates to real revenues for government coffers and helps give our economy a boost.

It’s clear that we need to move past this issue and focus our energy and efforts on the task at hand: reigning in government spending and growing our economy. Senate Republicans have a new leader, and this gives us an opportunity to have a new direction and return our focus to the issues that are important to Iowans — the budget and economy. My friend, Sen. Jerry Behn, the new Republican Senate leader, has stated that his focus will be those issues and I was happy to hear that. One test he may have as a leader, though, is to convince the rest of his caucus to follow his lead during the 2012 legislative session.

More important, I hope Leader Behn will take this strategy straight to the ballot box next November and lead Senate Republican candidates to focus on the economy.

Click here to read the full article from The Cedar Rapids Gazette

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Trying to make social issues the sole focus of this election is out of line with what voters want and expect from candidates. In fact, the most recent New York Times poll shows that a majority of voters favor some form of relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples. The report found that 58% of respondents favored marriage or civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, while only 38% oppose any recognition for these couples.

In a poll conducted by The New York Times:

page 16, question 74:

Which comes closest to your view? Gay couples should be allowed to legally marry OR gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not legally marry OR there should be no legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship?

Marry: 22%
Civil unions: 36%
No legal recognition: 38%
DK/NA: 3%

Link to poll: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/12/07/us/politics/20111207_poll_docs.html?ref=politics

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from Think Progress, published December 2, 2011.

North Carolina state Sen. Jim Davis (R) has joined the chorus of Republicans walking back their support of a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban all recognition of same-sex relationships. At a town hall this week, he reiterated his opposition to same-sex couples marrying, but admitted the amendment restricts freedoms “beyond his comfort zone”:

DAVIS: I have a lot of libertarian in me. I believe firmly, passionately that a marriage should be defined as being between one man and one woman. But I also believe with all my heart that in a free America people who choose to live a different lifestyle should have a legal right to do so. Just don’t call it marriage. [This amendment will] restrict their freedoms a little more beyond my comfort zone.

North Carolina’s inequality amendment would be more far-reaching than any other state’s, banning same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. The rushed language of the amendment may lead to consequences for businesses and opposite-sex domestic partnerships as well.

Read the full article from Think Progress.

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from examiner.com, published December 2, 2011.

Last night, Presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson announced during an on-line Town Hall Thursday night that he supports civil marriage for gay Americans.  Having long supported civil unions for gay couples, Johnson’s decision to endorse gay marriage is based on “a great deal of deliberation, discussion with the gay community, and a conclusion that government has no business choosing who should be allowed the benefits of marriage and who should not.”

Announcing his support for gay marriage, Johnson said, “As a believer   in individual freedom and keeping government out of personal lives, I simply cannot find a legitimate justification for federal laws, such as the Defense of Marriage Act, which ‘define’ marriage.  That definition should be left to religions and individuals – not government.  Government’s role when it comes to marriage is one of granting benefits and rights to couples who choose to enter into a marriage ‘contract’.  As I have examined this issue, consulted with folks on all sides, and viewed it through the lens of individual freedom and equal rights, it has become clear to me that denying those rights and benefits to gay couples is discrimination, plain and simple.

“Certainly, religions and people of various faiths have the right to view marriage as they wish, and sanction marriage according to those beliefs.  Just as government shouldn’t interfere with individual rights, government should not interfere with how marriage is treated as a ceremony, a sacrament or a privilege within a set of religious beliefs.  However, when it comes to the rights of individuals and couples under the law, government’s promise should be to insure equal access to those rights to all Americans, gay or straight.

“For a very long time, society has viewed gay marriage as a moral and, yes, religious issue.  Today, I believe we have arrived at a point in history where more and more Americans are viewing it as a question of liberty and freedom.  That evolution is important, and the time has come for us to align our marriage laws with the notion that every individual should be treated equally.”

Read the full article from examiner.com.

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from The Mason City Globe Gazette, published November 30, 2011.

Jobs and the economy.

Those are the two areas Iowa legislative leaders say they’ll concentrate on in the coming session.

We’re going to hold them to it, and expect both parties to work together to trigger improvements in both areas.

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said Tuesday he has no plans to touch on hot-button social issues such as gay marriage and abortion. He might want to, but it wouldn’t do him any good.

Republicans in the last session passed a resolution calling for a statewide vote on gay marriage and approved tough restrictions on abortion, only to see them blocked by the Senate Democratic leader, Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs.

Gronstal has already said he’ll do the same thing in the coming session. Paulsen says that being the case, there’s little reason to revisit the issues.

We trust both men will stick to their words.

While Iowa isn’t a world of hurt economically, in part because of the sound ag economy, too many Iowans need jobs.

We’d guess that’s been the word from every city council and board of supervisors meeting throughout the state, not to mention voters in contact with lawmakers.

It’s even the case nationally. A story in Wednesday’s newspaper about how GOP presidential candidates are walking a tightrope over immigration issues says that while many voters may care, they want their federal officials to focus on getting people employed and getting the economy perking again. Not social issues — jobs.

So here’s the deal for Iowa’s legislators. They cannot take up valuable time — and spend Iowans’  money — by trying all sorts of ways to force  action on their pet social issues. We got tired of it last session, and it’s just not going to happen in the coming session.

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