Archive for November, 2012

It’s fair to say the GOP doesn’t have a reputation for being supportive of gay rights. But nearly half of Republicans under the age of 44 back same-sex marriage, a position at odds with the GOP platform. That’s why some Gay Republicans argue that in the long run, Republican support for same-sex marriage is inevitable.

“This is a rapid change, and it is something that the Republican Party will have to incorporate as it goes forward and looks ahead to victories,” Casey Pick of the Log Cabin Republicans told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts Tuesday.

Pick also pushed back against criticism of the group for endorsing Mitt Romney in the presidential election.

“Lesbian voters like all Americans are multifaceted individuals, and when you speak about the potential for the fiscal cliff and damage to the economy, we considered the economy when we made our endorsement,” said Pick, adding: ”After meeting with the candidate and speaking with the campaign frequently, we did come to the conclusion that we felt we could work with a Romney administration on issues like workplace non-discrimination.”

But Pick acknowledged that the group disagreed with Romney’s opposition to same-sex marriage, and noted that that disagreement was a significant part of why Log Cabin Republicans exists.

“We are Republicans who can speak to other Republicans to make the conservative case for these issues,” she said. “We have watched the United States move very rapidly on these issues over the last 10 years, and as much as President Obama had a process to evolve on the issue of marriage, the same is also true for Republicans, more and more of whom today are coming to support even the freedom to marry.”

Read the article from MSNBC.

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by David Lampo, Author, ‘A Fundamental Freedom: Why Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians Should Support Gay Rights.’

This election was a watershed day for gay rights with the successful passage of three state initiatives in Maryland, Washington, and Maine to legalize same-sex marriage. We also saw the defeat of a constitutional amendment in Minnesota that would have inserted a prohibition on same-sex marriage into its constitution, a measure long sought by Rep. Michele Bachmann, making its defeat all the sweeter. The eight-year-long string of defeats in statewide votes on gay marriage is finally over.

But even though gay rights issues rarely came up during the general election campaign, the country remains deeply divided on gay rights and same-sex marriage. President Obama won only narrowly after a bitter and divisive campaign. Although Democrats retain a majority in the Senate, Republicans remain fully in control of the House and actually picked up a governorship, giving them a total of 30. Since the states will be the primary battleground for same-sex marriage and other gay rights measures, these governors will play a very important role in those fights.

Consequently, one fact about the future of gay rights and marriage equality remains crystal clear: full equality for gay and lesbian Americans will not come without the support of more elected Republicans, at every level of government. The widely held premise that only the support of Democrats is needed to bring us full legal equality is ludicrous, and any movement built on such a premise is destined to fail.

The challenges ahead are huge: Even after the Democratic sweep in 2008 of both houses of Congress and the presidency, the Employment Nondiscrimination Act failed to pass the Senate. The Defense of Marriage Act is still the law of the land. Only nine states and D.C. have marriage equality, and 30 states have constitutional amendments prohibiting gay marriage that will be difficult to undo. Most states don’t have even civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, and two-parent adoption by gay couples is prohibited in most states.

The only real bright spot during the past four years was the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), made possible only with the votes of eight Republican senators, but with the House still firmly under Republican control, any further legislative progress on gay rights at the federal level will require a new strategy.

That strategy must begin with the acknowledgement that support for gay rights within the Republican Party rank and file is far greater than what conventional wisdom tells us. The fact that even most Republicans are not aware of this support is understandable given the very visible role that the Religious Right has played in the Republican Party, but there is in fact a huge disconnect between rank and file Republicans and elected Republicans on gay issues.

Recent polls show that

  • 66 percent of Republicans support employment nondiscrimination legislation (Greenberg Quinlan poll).
  • A majority of Republicans are satisfied with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (National Journal poll).
  • 57 percent of Republicans support either same sex marriage or civil unions (Fox News poll).
  • Only 37 percent of Republicans support a federal marriage amendment (National Journal poll).
  • 49 percent of young Republicans (18-29) support marriage equality (Public Religion Research Institute poll).

If gay rights supporters are interested in building a lasting and effective coalition to build on this year’s victories, it is time for them, especially their allies in the Democratic Party, to stop demonizing Republicans and start crafting a strategy and message that can help increase the support for gay rights among both rank and file Republicans and their leaders in Congress and the state legislatures.

Read the full article from The Huffington Post.

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from KING 5 News.

SEATTLE – Will Washington become a destination for same sex weddings? Right after voters approved Referendum 74, the advertisements started.

For the past decade, event planners Alex Martin and Kristen Tsiatsios have worked to make weddings magical. Their business is called Jubilee Event Engineers.

“It’s a serious part of our business, for like 6 or 7 years more than half of our weddings have been gay weddings,” said Martin.

The ceremonies have had it all, except state recognition that marriage is legal. But on Election Night voters decided to change that in Washington.

“Signing a piece of paper and having the government say, ‘yes we bless this,’ I think it is bringing in a lot of couples who were not considering this,” said Tsiatsios.

A report by the Williams Institute finds that over the next three years Washington will see an economic boost of $88 million dollars to the state’s economy.

The report does not account for gay and lesbian wedding tourism.

“This is going to be one more reason to the tip the scales to come to Seattle or the Puget sound area,” said Martin.

Marriage licenses for same sex couples will be issued beginning Dec. 6. Ahead of that date, special promotions are popping up. One example is the Edgewater Hotel which has come up with the “Plunge with Pride” wedding package for gay and lesbian engaged couples.

Read the article and watch the video from KING 5 News by clicking here.

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Iowa Panel: The New Normal

What is next for the future of marriage and LGBT equality here in Iowa? Join One Iowa, Lambda Legal, Iowa Republicans for Freedom, and others for an opportunity to talk about what is in store for LGBT Iowans and how we move forward as advocates and allies.

The forum will take place on Thursday, November 15 at 10:30 am at the Pappajohn Education Center, Room 201, 1200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines.

Speakers include: Donna Red Wing, One Iowa Executive Director; Eric Lesh, Lambda Legal Fair Courts Project Manager; Former Republican State Senator Jeff Angelo, Iowa Republicans for Freedom; Connie Ryan Terrell, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa and Justice Not Politics.

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It’s not just same-sex couples in Maine, Maryland and Washington who are celebrating the recent legalization of gay marriage — the state treasury also has something to sing about. New research suggests that marriage equality will boost the states’ economies in a big way.

The Williams Institute at UCLA Law reported Monday that wedding spending by same-sex couples in the three newest states to approve gay marriage may generate more than $166 million over the next three years.

The Institute estimates that same-sex couples in Maine will collectively spend $15.5 million, Maryland couples will spend $62.6 million and Washingtonians will spend $88.5 million on weddings. The estimates are based on 2010 U.S. Census data and each state’s average wedding spending. The researchers assumed that half of the states’ same-sex couples (that’s nearly 18,000 of about 35,000 gay couples in all three states combined) will marry within three years.

Though same-sex marriage is already legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Washington, D.C., Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts, on Nov. 6 voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington were the first in the country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote (in the other states, marriage equality was legalized by state legislation). Minnesota voters also rejected a ban on same-sex marriage.

Economists have followed gay marriage’s impact on the wedding industry and local economies since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex unions in 2004. The Williams Institute found that from May 2004 to September 2008, the Massachusetts economy enjoyed a $111 million boost as a result of gay marriage legalization.

And in July, CNN Money reported that the legalization of gay marriage in New York boosted New York City’s economy by $259 million in just one year.

“The same number of people have been getting married every year for the last 20 years,” Carley Roney, co-founder and editor in chief of TheKnot.com, told The Daily Beast. “Gay marriage is literally the only thing that has the potential to change the size of the wedding industry.”

Read the article from The Huffington Post.

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Most election cycles voters are faced with various questions and referendums when they enter the voting booth. I write today highlighting one of the most important and controversial questions that Maryland voters will have the final say on. Question 6, The Civil Marriage Protection Act, will be one with which many will struggle.

As a life-long Republican, I wholeheartedly support the passage of this measure. Some may feel that it is contradictory to be a staunch Republican who supports marriage equality. It is not. I became a Republican because I believe in limited government, both in our citizen’s wallets and in their private lives. Today, a growing number of Republicans and conservatives alike are endorsing civil marriage equality. Dick Cheney, Laura Bush, Clint Eastwood, Grover Norquist, Theodore B. Olson, David Frum, Margaret Hoover, Ken Mehlman, and Mary Matalin have all been vocal proponents. In Maryland, a group of Republicans in favor of Question 6 has been very active.

At a time when divorce is more and more common, who are we to look down upon two people who want to create loving, stable, two-parent homes for children to grow up in? How can anyone say that a child is better off living in an orphanage as opposed to having two caring, albeit same-sex parents? We, as a society, should celebrate when two consenting adults make a life-long, loving commitment to each other, not forbid it. In today’s world, there is hardly such a thing as a “normal” family. Allowing same-sex marriage will only strengthen the institution, not destroy it.

I agree that no religious institution should be forced to recognize or perform these marriages, as this would go against the very core of our Constitution. However, the Declaration of Independence clearly states that citizens have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We are a country founded on freedom, and if I may borrow former Vice President Cheney’s line, “freedom means freedom for everyone.” This is a civil issue, not a religious one.

In closing, while I respect the opinions of those on the other side of this issue, (many of whom are very close friends), I ask that you join me in casting your ballot in favor of Question 6. This Republican and many others will proudly be voting for Gov. Mitt Romney and Question 6 in November. This is an idea that’s time has come. Look past the party line and consider this a human issue, not a partisan one.

Featured in The Baltimore Sun, written by David Karl Schoenbrodt Myers, vice chairman of the Howard County Republican Central Committee.

Read the article from The Baltimore Sun.

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