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Archive for June, 2012

Opposition to gay marriage is declining across the country. Among Republicans, is the same true? Yes; it’s just a much slower progression. And Obama’s announcement of his support for same-sex marriage may have pushed Republican support back down a bit.

Former vice president Dick Cheney’s daughter married another woman Friday, with minimal backlash. Yet even with such high-profile exceptions, opposition to gay marriage among Republicans remains far higher than among other Americans.

In the latest Post polling, 61 percent of Republicans think gay marriage should be illegal, compared with 36 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats. Overall, 53 percent of Americans think gay marriage should be legal, according to the most recent Post polling, while only 39 percent think it should be illegal.

Since March, the number of Republicans who think gay marriage should be legal has declined 10 points from 39 percent to 29 percent, to about where it was last year.

Among Republicans ages 18 to 44, the numbers are far different and evolving far more quickly — opinion is currently evenly divided at 46 percent.

In both groups, the number of people who think gay marriage should be legal has decreased, but the number who think it should be illegal has not increased.

It would be a mistake to read too much into one poll, but the Associated Press also found that opposition to gay marriage among Republicans has intensified since Obama’s announcement.

Still, it’s clear that gay marriage opposition is (slowly) on its way out, even among Republicans.

Read the article from The Washington Post.

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A year ago, former Sen. Jeff Angelo launched the conservative group, Iowa Republicans for Freedom, with the mission of protecting individual liberty, limiting government interference and increasing conservative support for civil marriage for same-sex couples in Iowa.

As a Republican, my conservative values tell me that our lives should be free of government intrusion. This is why I oppose any effort to pass a constitutional amendment that would take away the rights of hard-working Iowa citizens. I believe that every Iowan should have the chance to be as happy as I am with my wife and our two daughters.

Far too often, the debate around this issue gets lost in rhetoric and politics. This issue is about individual freedoms, and those freedoms include spending your life with the person you love. These are the basic conservative values that so many of us hold dear.

Every day, more Iowans are coming to realize that civil marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is the right thing for Iowa.

We hear a lot from the opposition these days about how civil marriage equality will hurt the institution of marriage and religious freedom. The fact of the matter is that the 2009 court decision actually strengthened religious freedom while honoring the couples that wanted to make a lifelong commitment to one another. These families are just like yours and mine: two people who love each other and who want to build a family together and make this promise to one another. In my eyes, including more couples who share these values of love, commitment and family makes the institution marriage stronger.

— Craig Patterson, Grimes, Iowa Republicans for Freedom advisory board

Read the article from The Des Moines Register.

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In this article from The Associated Press, Republicans were specifically called out for being one of the 5 reasons why the “gay marriage losing streak” may be over:

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Opponents of gay marriage have an unblemished track record in U.S. elections, chalking up 32 victories in 32 public votes.

They’ve won in blue states and red ones, among the most heavily religious areas and among the least-churched. North Carolina punctuated the winning streak just last month by comfortably approving a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex unions.

Gay marriage supporters are optimistic that they can end their losing ways this year, with four states voting on the issue in November. They’re particularly encouraged by the prospects in Washington and Maine. Meanwhile opponents have taken steps to maintain their unflawed record and believe their side will be motivated to hold the status quo.

Here are five reasons why same-sex marriage proponents have a decent shot at success in 2012:

…REPUBLICANS: Six Republican lawmakers in Washington voted in favor of the gay marriage legislation, and a leading GOP candidate for attorney general also declared his support. Republican Rep. Maureen Walsh, who represents conservative territory in eastern Washington anchored by Walla Walla, said she believes opinions on the issue are changing even there. “My district is far more receptive to it than they’ve ever been in the past,” she said.

Read the full article from The Associated Press.

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Are you a delegate? Please consider taking this language to the Republican State Convention this Saturday! We need to make our pro-equality voices heard at this event.

Republican Platform Language:
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.

If you’re not a delegate, there will be room for the public, so head on down and show your support! While you wont be able to participate in the convention, you will be able to represent Iowa Republicans for Freedom. Here is the information you need to get involved this Saturday:

State Convention
Saturday, June 16
Hyvee Hall, Downtown Des Moines
Registration: 7:45 am – 9:15 am
Call to order: 9:30 am
For more info, visit iowagop.org

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Over the past year, the main story line in the push for marriage equality has been the ardor and success with which leading Democratic politicians have taken up the fight. The Democratic governors of New York, Maryland and Washington all promoted and signed same-sex marriage laws, for which President Obama expressed his support last month.

But the progress within Republican ranks has also been pivotal, not to mention fascinating. And a compelling character in that subplot just added a new twist to the narrative, one that suggests the rapidly changing political dynamics of this issue and its potential import to a party dogged by an image of being culturally out of touch.

That character is Paul E. Singer, 67, a billionaire hedge fund manager who is among the most important Republican donors nationwide. In just one Manhattan fund-raiser last month, he helped to collect more than $5 million for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

He steadfastly supports conservative candidates. He also steadfastly supports gay rights in general and marriage equality in particular. Along with a few other leading Wall Street financiers, he contributed and helped drum up the majority of the money — more than $1 million — that fueled the campaign for same-sex marriage in New York.

He has given nearly $10 million of his own money to gay-rights initiatives, including the same-sex marriage efforts not only in New York but also in New Hampshire and New Jersey. And that figure doesn’t include his assistance in tapping a broad network of donors for individual candidates. He was pivotal in rounding up about $250,000 apiece for the Republican state senators in New York whose votes for same-sex marriage provided its margin of victory in the Legislature.

Now, Singer says, he’s providing $1 million to start a new “super PAC” with several Republican compatriots. Named American Unity PAC, its sole mission will be to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage, in part by helping them to feel financially shielded from any blowback from well-funded groups that oppose it.

In an interview on Tuesday, he told me that he’s confident that in Congressional races, which would most likely be the super PAC’s initial focus, there are more than a few Republicans “who could be on the verge of support” or are “harboring and hiding their views.”

“And this kind of effort could be catalytic in generating some more movement,” he said.

Singer doesn’t court a high news-media profile. His willingness to meet at the Midtown Manhattan offices of his hedge fund, Elliott Management, and talk about marriage equality reflects the strength of his commitment to the cause. Although he is straight, he has a gay son and son-in-law who were married in Massachusetts, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2004.

Our conversation also reflected a growing awareness among prominent Republicans that embracing marriage equality could broaden the party’s base and soften the party’s image in crucial ways. Many swing voters who find elements of Republicans’ limited-government message appealing and have doubts about Obama’s economic stewardship are nonetheless given serious pause by the party’s stances on abortion, birth control, immigration and homosexuality.

Read the full article from The New York Times.

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As a Republican, I have struggled with my party’s perceived near unanimous opposition to same-sex civil marriage for some time. I felt strongly that this opposition to same-sex civil marriage within the party’s ranks was in stark contrast to core, fundamental, bed-rock Republican values: individual liberty, limited government and personal freedom.

However, in spite of my differing perspective on same-sex civil marriage from some of my fellow Republicans, I was hesitant to express my point-of-view for fear of what the reaction of my Republican colleagues might be. Disagreeing with other like-minded Republicans on things such as tax policy, the merits of various government subsidies and incentives or other such topics are discussed openly and one Republican’s support for such things while another opposes them makes neither of them any less of a Republican.

However, that didn’t seem to be the case on the topic of same-sex civil marriage.

So, when former Iowa Republican State Senator Jeff Angelo approached me about serving on the Advisory Board for the newly formed Iowa Republicans for Freedom (IRFF), I felt it was time to openly express my opinion on this topic with my Republican colleagues.

IRFF, which was founded one year ago, is a conservative group supporting marriage equality and was founded with the mission of protecting individual liberty, limiting government intrusion and increasing conservative support for same-sex civil marriage.

IRFF has provided a voice to conservative Iowans, like me, who believe in the values of fairness and freedom. We believe that there are many more conservative Iowans who support marriage equality and we certainly encourage them to join IRFF. If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about IRFF, feel free to contact us at info@iowarepublicansforforfreedom.org or visit our website iowarepublicansforfreedom.com.

Republican, Democrat, liberal or conservative; my hope is that we can continue to discuss this issue with civility and respect of the other’s opinion. I want to be able to talk about why marriage equality matters to me with members of my own party and with other Iowans. Because at the end of the day, this isn’t about politics or sides, this is about the people of Iowa and what is fair.

Jason Gordon of Davenport is an at-large alderman. He formerly served as congressional district director for Reps. Jim Leach and Jim Nussle.

Read the article from The Quad-City Times.

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Capitol Digest

Iowa Republicans for Freedom was featured in Capitol Digest for Eastern Iowa Government.

Jeff Angelo

ANNIVERSARY: A Republican group founded to support same-sex marriage celebrated its one-year anniversary Tuesday. Iowa Republicans for Freedom, which calls itself a conservative group “with the mission of protecting individual liberty, limiting government intrusion, and increasing conservative support for marriage for same-sex couples” was founded by former state Sen. Jeff Angelo last year. “Looking ahead, I see great things for this organization,” Angelo said in a news release on the anniversary. “I know that the future of marriage equality in this country rests with conservatives as we saw in New York and New Hampshire and here in Iowa. I invite conservatives who truly believe in small government and in individual freedom to stand with us in support of our fellow Iowans.”

Read the full article from Eastern Iowa Government.

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Iowa briefs

Iowa Republicans for Freedom was featured in this week’s Iowa briefs for The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

Anniversary

A Republican group founded to support same-sex marriage celebrated its one-year anniversary Tuesday. Iowa Republicans for Freedom, which calls itself a conservative group “with the mission of protecting individual liberty, limiting government intrusion, and increasing conservative support for marriage for same-sex couples” was founded by former state Sen. Jeff Angelo last year.

Read the full article from The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

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Iowa digest

Gay Marriage proponents celebrate anniversary: A Republican group founded to support same-sex marriage celebrated its one-year anniversary Tuesday. Iowa Republicans for Freedom, which calls itself a conservative group “with the mission of protecting individual liberty, limiting government intrusion, and increasing conservative support for marriage for same-sex couples” was founded by former state Sen. Jeff Angelo last year.

“I know that the future of marriage equality in this country rests with conservatives as we saw in New York and New Hampshire and here in Iowa,” Angelo said. “I invite conservatives who truly believe in small government and in individual freedom to stand with us in support of our fellow Iowans.”

Read the article from The Quad-City Times.

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One Year Ago

Dear Iowa Republicans for Freedom Members,

Happy Anniversary IRFF!

A year ago, I took a chance and sent an op-ed into the Des Moines Register entitled “Why My View on Same-Sex Marriage Has Changed” and that turned into something bigger than anything I could ever have imagined. I received overwhelming support for taking a stand on marriage equality and that was what inspired me to create Iowa Republicans for Freedom.

Since then, we have grown to over 130 members and I am proud to say that we have five prominent Iowa Republicans on our advisory board. Together, we are making the conservative case for marriage in Iowa and we are making a difference! Click here to read our press release announcing the anniversary.

As IRFF members, it comes as no surprise to you that conservative support for marriage equality is growing. Last year, four Republicans in the New York state legislature were crucial votes in the passage of New York’s marriage equality law. Just a few months later, a Republican majority in the New Hampshire House of Representatives defeated an amendment that would have repealed New Hampshire’s marriage equality law. Prominent Republicans have also voiced their support for the freedom to marry, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Bush Administration Solicitor General Ted Olson, first daughter Laura Bush, and former Vice President Dick Cheney. We are in good company and our ranks continue to grow.

With the help of our visible and vocal supporters and advisory board members, IRFF has had very positive media stories in newspapers and on TV stations around the state which means we are reaching even more Iowans. I encourage you to visit our website www.iowarepublicansforfreedom.com to check out all of the latest news.

On the anniversary of IRFF’s founding, I write to you with one request: keep the conversation going. Keep spreading the word about Iowa Republicans for Freedom and what we believe in. It’s time we start to be more confident about talking about this issue among our fellow Republicans. I have found the more I talk about my support for marriage equality, the more people I find who agree with me! If you find more folks who support the conservative case for marriage, have them sign up and become part of our community! We encourage you and your friends to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

I also ask that you consider taking the following platform plank language with you to introduce at the Iowa State Republican Convention on June 16th:

Republican Platform Language:
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.

Thank you for standing with us this year. Together we can send a clear message that support for the freedom to marry is not a partisan issue. It is not about politics, it is about the values that we hold dear: family, freedom and fairness.

Sincerely,

Jeff Angelo
Iowa Republicans for Freedom

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