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Archive for October, 2012

Rants was right; retain Wiggins

I was pleased to see that former Republican Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives Christopher Rants spoke out in favor of retaining Iowa Supreme Court Justice Wiggins.

Rants pointed out that legislators realized all along that Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act was flawed and likely to be overturned if challenged in court based on rulings in other states. That’s why he wanted a constitutional amendment.

When the law was challenged and struck down by both the district court and Iowa Supreme Court, he realized that the courts ruled as they had to.

Furthermore, Rants reminded us that Iowa Supreme Court Justice Wiggins was appointed by then Gov. Branstad and has been a fair judge in other cases. Rants concluded by stating, “The last thing we want in Iowa is a court that is engaged in political campaigns, raising money from PACs and worried about their poll numbers.”

As an attorney, Republican and Iowan, I agree with former Speaker Rants. Please join me in voting to retain Justice Wiggins and keep an independent judicial system in Iowa.

- Candi Schickel is from Mason City.

This article was published in The Globe Gazette.

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By David Lampo.

Marylanders have an important decision to make this Election Day: whether or not to affirm their belief in the traditional American principle of equal rights for all, or instead to continue a system of special rights for some. A “yes” vote on Question 6 would sustain the Maryland legislature’s recent historic vote that gave gay and lesbian couples to same right to marry as heterosexuals. A “no” vote would repeal marriage equality, perpetuating the unequal system of granting all the legal privileges and perks of marriage to heterosexual couples only.

National polls today show a modest majority of Americans in favor of marriage equality, but Republicans have traditionally opposed it. As a Republican myself, I find it troubling that many in my party seem so willing to let their private religious values trump the most important political value of all: the value of personal and religious liberty that all Republicans supposedly share. There is no clearer violation of the traditional Republican belief in equal rights before the law than when we relegate gays and lesbians to second-class citizenship simply because of their sexual orientation.

There is no doubt that we have seen rapid and not always welcome cultural changes in America. Where once Americans were almost all deeply religious, today nearly one in five professes no religious faith at all, and Americans in general are much more secular. Where once most Americans got married, now fewer than half do so. Many Republicans have simply had enough, and they want to help preserve a past that seems to be slipping further and further away.

By fighting to continue our current discriminatory system that gives special legal rights and economic privileges only to heterosexual couples, however, Republicans effectively repudiate the very principles of limited government and individual freedom they supposedly believe in. Moreover, they tarnish those principles in the eyes of younger voters, who overwhelmingly favor marriage equality.

Freedom is our most cherished political legacy. As Republicans, we believe in freedom of choice in both our economic and personal lives because it’s the right thing to do, and because we believe those values are consistent with our nature as rational beings who can make their own choices. Freedom for some, however, should mean freedom for all, as Dick Cheney has poignantly reminded us.

Many conservative opponents of marriage equality also fail to make the critical distinction between the civil and religious parts of marriage, two very different things. People of faith, of course, vary widely in their beliefs about homosexuality and gay rights. While many conservative Christians believe unequivocally that the Bible condemns homosexuality and same-sex unions, other Christians, including many mainstream Protestants, do not. That is why churches, whether pro-gay or anti-gay, should be free to define marriage however they like and sanction only those marriages they believe are consistent with their own religious values.

It’s for that very same reason that the civil part of marriage — the marriage license — also needs to be walled off from any particular set of religious beliefs. If we truly value religious freedom, Republicans cannot allow the government to impose one particular interpretation of the Bible on everyone else. It is simply wrong to claim the right of religious freedom and conscience for oneself but deny it to those who disagree with you.

Contrary to the claims of some opponents of Question 6, nothing in the law would force any church or religious institution to sanction same-sex marriage or perform same-sex ceremonies. Nor would the free speech rights of clergy who oppose same-sex unions be abridged in any way. That would also be a gross violation of religious liberty that the proponents of Question 6 do not propose or support.

Question 6 simply recognizes Maryland’s great diversity of religious values and faiths by saying that one’s sexual orientation should not be a barrier to enjoying all the legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage. By voting yes on Question 6, Republicans can reaffirm their commitment to both religious tolerance and the individual liberty that forms the philosophical basis of our party.

Read the article from The Baltimore Sun.

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The lead group seeking to uphold Maryland’s same-sex marriage law on Monday announced it had received a $250,000 contribution from Paul Singer, a prominent New York-based hedge fund manager — and a major donor to Republican candidates.

The contribution is among the largest that has been made to Marylanders for Marriage Equality, which last week reported having raised $3.3 million for Question 6, the same-sex marriage measure that will appear on next month’s ballot.

In its announcement, the group played up the partisan affiliation of Singer, who has been a major donor to the campaign of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and reportedly gave $1 million to help underwrite the cost of the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Singer, who has a gay son, has also given millions in recent years to further the cause of same-sex marriage.

“His investment in the equality and dignity of Marylanders reflects the growing bipartisan support to get Question 6 over the finish line in these critical final weeks,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay-rights group heavily involved in the Maryland effort.

Singer’s donation comes as both sides of the same-sex marriage debate are trying to marshal resources for television ads in the three weeks that remain before the election.

Marylanders for Marriage Equality was set to debut a new ad Monday in the Washington media market featuring Julian Bond, chairman emeritus of the NAACP, who argues that “Maryland’s gay and lesbian families … should share in the right to marry.”

The Maryland Marriage Alliance, the lead group opposing Question 6, last week reported having raised $838,621 for its campaign. In its television ads, the group has argued that children are better off with both a mother and a father.

Read the article from The Washington Post.

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from The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch.

Why Gay Marriage?

Everyone has their own opinions about marriage and what it means to be a couple. But, what about the economic impacts of gay marriage? Well as it turns out, gay marriage could give a much needed boost to the U.S. economy.

When Gavin Newsom legalized gay marriage in San Francisco (for a short period of time), over 3,000 gay couples flocked to San Francisco to get married. The average cost of a wedding: $25,631 (doesn’t include the cost for gifts or the honeymoon). Now that would equal out to be $76,893,000 injected straight into California’s economy, which would give it a much needed boost considering that California’s unemployment rate is 10.7% and San Francisco’s unemployment rate is 7.6%.

Assuming that once you factor in the added amounts of tourism, consumer spending, gift buying, and honeymooning that total comes out to $100 million, legalizing gay marriage in San Francisco now would help create 2,000 temporary jobs with pay and benefits totaling out to be $50,000 per job. That seems impressive, considering all you have to do is do one swipe with a legislative pen to reap the benefits.

Now of course the states and cities that do this earlier will reap the lion’s share of the benefits, as those waiting to be married flood to those places just as couples from 20 states and Europe flocked to San Francisco.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 646,464 same-sex couples in the U.S. in 2010. Of those, 131,729 were identified as married. So let’s assume that if gay marriage were legalized that most if not all of those couples would get married or “legally married.” That would result in $16,569,518,780 being injected into our consumer-based economy. Assuming that $16.5 billion and change turned into $50,000 a year jobs (the national average), you would create about 331,391 jobs! Now to be fair, these jobs would only be temporary and some of them would be lost after the surge in marriages, there are several other factors you need to take into account.

One, in 2000 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that there were 358,390 gay couples in the U.S. Over the course of 10 years, that number has grown by 80%. Assuming this growth continues as society becomes more accepting of homosexuality, there is a lot of potential for future economic growth.

In the beginning if gay marriages were legalized there would be a boom in economic growth that would cool down after most of the marriages were performed, there would be enormous growth in gay couples that would continue to have weddings which would keep a lot of those jobs in the long run. By 2020, assuming 50% growth, there would be 969,696 gay couples in the U.S. So over that decade 323,232 more marriages would have to be performed and paid for, which is another $8,284,759,392 for the U.S. economy, again not including gifts or honeymoons or increased levels of tourism.

Europe could also play a big factor in this theoretical gay marriage economic stimulus. France and England both don’t recognize gay marriage as marriage but as domestic partnerships through a ridiculous legal framework. Germany also doesn’t recognize gay marriage to its fullest. If some of those well-educated and wealthy western Europeans were to come over to America to get married or to move here permanently, then that right there would result in even more jobs in the U.S.

Everyone has different opinions on gay marriage, and those who oppose it oppose it for reasons that aren’t economical. But after looking through the data and seeing all the potential benefits, isn’t this something we should at least consider? We spent $787 billion of taxpayer’s money on a failed economic stimulus package, so why not try something that brings families together and doesn’t cost tax payers a dime. In fact, it saves taxpayers money, as it is much cheaper for the IRS to process joint income tax statements than it is to process them individually.

Plus once those couples are married they have to play by the same rules as everyone else. For example, if you file separate tax forms and one of them doesn’t make that much, there is a good chance that they will pay little to no income taxes (like over half of the U.S. population). But if they were married, then they wouldn’t be eligible for those kinds of deductions and would pay “their fair share.” This would increase tax revenue and reduce the cost of processing tax returns.

More jobs, more tax revenue, less money wasted on the IRS, seems like a good deal to me.

– Callum Turcan

Read the article from The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch.

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from Minnesota Star Tribune.
Article by: KEN MEHLMAN

Ken Mehlman is former Republican National Committee Chairman and now a businessman in New York City.

What do Clint Eastwood, Dick Cheney, Ted Olson, and John Bolton have in common? All are strong, lifelong conservatives. Each has fought on behalf of smaller government. And all support the freedom of same-sex couples to marry.

As Minnesota voters consider the proposed constitutional marriage amendment, right-leaning voters should consider why these prominent conservatives believe the freedom to marry is consistent with our values.

Conservatives have built a broad coalition, united around a single goal: more freedom, less government. It’s key to our heritage and inherent to our DNA.

Freedom of Americans across all races is why the Republican Party was founded. And our most important accomplishments, from the economic growth unleashed when we’ve lowered taxes and reduced regulation to the fall of the Berlin Wall, have resulted when we promoted freedom. Our concept of freedom is based in the Declaration of Independence, where every American was provided by their creator, not government, with the right to pursue happiness.

As former Vice President Dick Cheney noted in explaining why he supports civil marriage for all American couples, “freedom means freedom for everyone.” He’s right.

What freedom is more basic and personal than the right to marry the person you love?

If we are serious in our belief that every citizen is endowed by his or her creator with the right to pursue happiness, then how can this not include the freedom to marry? What could be more central to a person’s happiness? And alternatively, if we want a smaller, less obtrusive government, shouldn’t individuals and not politicians decide who they can marry?

Maximizing freedom isn’t the only conservative value enhanced by allowing civil marriage for same-gender couples. It will promote stability, responsibility and commitment — family values that we often encourage in public policy. Marriage encourages people to think beyond their own needs, to create loving households, to build a support network so people can be cared for in sickness, old age and hard times.

Shouldn’t we want these conservative values to be available to all families? As Ted Olson — solicitor general for President George W. Bush and who has successfully argued some of the most important conservative cases before the U.S. Supreme Court — recently wrote: “The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this.”

Finally, this amendment is not necessary to religious liberty, and could instead inhibit the rights of private institutions, including churches and synagogues. Because some churches want to marry same-gender couples while others don’t, states that have permitted marriage expressly include a conscience clause. These states simply permitted civil marriage licenses by government officials, while private institutions like churches can either choose to marry same-gender couples or not marry based on their beliefs.

But this amendment would put a one-size-fits-all government mandate on all private institutions, including our churches, by telling them that any marriage they choose to perform is null and void for the purposes of Minnesota.

As Republicans, we respect the individual and work to empower people to live as they see fit, with as little intrusion by the government as practical. This idea is grounded in an important Judeo-Christian value that we should all treat others as we would like to be treated.

Put yourself in your neighbor’s shoes. How would you feel if, even though you paid the same taxes, potentially served in the same military and followed the same rules as your neighbor, your government denied you the freedom to marry the person you loved in ceremony?

Same-sex couples want to marry for reasons similar to other couples. They want a lasting bond that can endure through good times and bad, through sickness and health, and that will bring stability as they continue life together.

Clint Eastwood, Dick Cheney, John Bolton and Ted Olson are not alone. Recent surveys today show that more Americans favor the freedom to marry than oppose it. Among Republicans, the number has increased by 50 percent in the past three years, and a majority of conservatives under 30 favor this basic freedom.

This isn’t surprising. The freedom to marry is consistent with core conservative and American values — limited government, personal responsibility, commitment and, above all, freedom for all.

Read the article from the Minnesota Star Tribune.

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from Washington United For Marriage.

WA State Representative Maureen Walsh, whose floor speech in favor of the bipartisan marriage law this winter generated over 2-million YouTube views, talks about her own marriage and why it influenced her support for the freedom to marry.

Read more from Washington United for Marriage.

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