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New York Times:

Senator Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican who has emerged as one of her party’s more moderate members in the Senate, said Wednesday that she supports same-sex marriage.

She becomes only the third Republican in the Senate to do so.

In a lengthy op-ed posted on her Web site, Ms. Murkowski said that what helped change her mind on the issue was getting to know a lesbian couple from Alaska. They were a family in every sense but one, Ms. Murkowski wrote. They adopted four children. They stayed together after enduring a separation because one of them served abroad in the Alaska National Guard.

“Yet despite signing up and volunteering to give themselves fully to these four adorable children, our government does not meet this family halfway and allow them to be legally recognized as spouses,” Ms. Murkowski wrote. “This first-class Alaskan family still lives a second-class existence.”

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from New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR).

Listen to the story by clicking here

As a congressman in 1996, Charlie Bass voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples.

But in late 2012, just before leaving office after losing his bid for re-election, he changed his position, supporting a bill to repeal the law.

And now, as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of DOMA, Bass says his party must work toward greater acceptance of same-sex marriage.

“I urge all Republicans not to be caught on the wrong side of history. I think Americans across party lines, across gender lines, across philosophical lines are realizing that it’s wrong to be against allowing a loving couple to be joined together for life.”

Bass took part in a conference call Monday with U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who also supports national marriage equality.

The Supreme Court is also weighing the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a voter-passed referendum in California banning same-sex marriage.

Read the article and listen to the story from NHPR.

For immediate release:
Press Release
May 31, 2013

Des Moines, IA—On June 1, 2013, Iowa Republicans for Freedom (IRFF) celebrates its two-year anniversary. IRFF is the conservative organization that supports individual liberty for same-sex couples seeking civil marriage recognition from our government, and was founded in 2011 by former Iowa Senator Jeff Angelo.

Angelo served in the Iowa Senate for 12 years, where he was a lead sponsor on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Iowa. However, in January 2011 Angelo announced his change of position during a public hearing on the Iowa House floor for House Joint Resolution 6, a resolution to limit the freedom to marry that ultimately failed.

“In the past two years, Iowa Republicans for Freedom has continued to give a voice to conservatives who support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples,” Angelo said. “Attitudes are changing on a national level, and I have every confidence that we are winning. As our organization looks forward, we will continue to engage with more conservatives across the state about how they can get involved and what they can do to help spread the word.”
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Washington Post:

In this April 18, 2013, file photo Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton tell hundreds who turned out to rally at the State Capitol, in St. Paul, Minn. in support of a bill to legalize gay marriage that he hoped legislators will pass this year.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A national group of prominent GOP donors that supports gay marriage is pouring new money into lobbying efforts to get Republican lawmakers to vote to make it legal.

American Unity PAC was formed last year to lend financial support to Republicans who bucked the party’s longstanding opposition to gay marriage. Its founders are launching a new lobbying organization, American Unity Fund, and already have spent more than $250,000 in Minnesota, where the Legislature could vote on the issue as early as next week.

The group has spent $500,000 on lobbying since last month, including efforts in Rhode Island, Delaware, Indiana, West Virginia and Utah.

Billionaire hedge fund manager and Republican donor Paul Singer launched American Unity PAC. The lobbying effort is the next phase as the push for gay marriage spreads to more states, spokesman Jeff Cook-McCormac told The Associated Press.

“What you have is this network of influential Republicans who really want to see the party embrace the freedom to marry, and believe it’s not only the right thing for the country but also good politics,” Cook-McCormac said.

In Minnesota, the money has gone to state groups that are lobbying Republican lawmakers and for polling on gay marriage in a handful of suburban districts held by Republicans. So far, only one Minnesota Republican lawmaker has committed to voting to legalize gay marriage: Sen. Branden Petersen, of Andover.

“I think there will be some more. There are legislators out there that are struggling with this,” said Carl Kuhl, a former political aide to former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. Kuhl’s public affairs firm is contracted by Minnesotans United, the lead lobby group for gay marriage in Minnesota and main recipient of American Unity’s Minnesota spending.

Gay marriage’s fate in Minnesota may rest with the House, where support is seen as shakier than in the Senate. A handful of votes from Republicans could put it over the top. Nearly two dozen House Republicans represent more socially moderate suburbs and might be candidates to vote yes.

House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he has encouraged advocates of the marriage bill to round up Republican votes, if nothing else than to send a message to Minnesota residents that it’s not a partisan proposition. But that will be politically risky; the main opposition group to same-sex marriage, Minnesota for Marriage, has said it will seek consequences for Republicans who stray on gay marriage.

Part of American Unity PAC’s original mission was to spend money on behalf of Republican gay marriage supporters. Many GOP lawmakers have faced primary challenges funded in part by anti-gay marriage groups such as the National Organization for Marriage, which argue that the lawmakers had betrayed the party’s core principles.

Since forming the lobby group last month, American Unity also spent money to win over Republican lawmakers in Rhode Island, where last week all five Republicans in the state Senate jumped on the gay marriage bandwagon. Rhode Island is on track to legalize gay marriage by next week, which would make it the 11th U.S. state where gay marriage is legal.

There are also plans to lobby federal lawmakers on gay rights issues.

“We intend to work on this effort until every American citizen is treated equally under the law,” Cook-McCormac said. Other wealthy, traditionally Republican donors giving money to the group include Seth Klarman, David Herro and Cliff Asness.

Though only one current GOP officeholder in Minnesota is on record supporting gay marriage, a handful of prominent Republicans have spoken out in favor of it. They include former state auditor Pat Anderson and Brian McClung, who was spokesman for former Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Prominent Republican donors including former politician Wheelock Whitney and businesswoman Marilyn Carlson Nelson have also lent support and donated money.

Since it first formed to campaign against last fall’s gay marriage ban and then shifted to pushing for its legalization at the Capitol, Minnesotans United has been building Republican alliances, hiring multiple lobbyists with Republican ties.

Read the article from Washington Post.

Des Moines Register:

written by David Kochel.

Dawn BarbouRoske, center, and her partner, Jen BarbouRoske, right, celebrate with daughters McKinley, left, and Bre after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled to legalize gay marriage in 2009. / Christopher Gannon/Register File Photo

Four years ago, Iowa blazed a trail for equality in America’s heartland. Our state proudly reaffirmed the commitment to the fundamental individual rights enshrined in the Iowa Constitution by allowing loving and committed same-sex couples to marry.

In choosing freedom and equality over fear, our state honored the commitment to one another, not just as fellow citizens but as neighbors, and we demonstrated for the nation that we are stronger when we stand up for all our families.

Four years later, here’s what we’ve learned: The corn still grows tall, the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers still flow strongly in the spring, and no state can match the beauty or bounty of our rolling hills and farmland. In short, nothing changed when Iowa enacted the freedom to marry. Nothing changed, except that now more kids are living in stable, two-parent homes than before, and more families enjoy the freedoms and protections of the rest of us. Marriage equality is pro-family.

As a Republican, I believe that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right. I believe that our Constitution is intended to ensure liberty, justice and equality. While I respect the views of fellow conservatives who disagree, time has shown that traditional marriage advocates are on the wrong side of history. And as more Iowans welcome new families into our communities, the pace of acceptance will quicken.

Even though the majority of public opinion was not behind their unanimous decision at the time, the justices on our Supreme Court upheld their responsibility by ruling to protect the rights of gay couples rather than yield to threats from the opposition.
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Log Cabin Republicans:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) has a full-page ad in Politico today calling on the Republican Party to grow the proverbial “big tent” by dropping its opposition to granting equal rights to the LGBT community. The ad is a part of LCR’s relaunch efforts, which will more aggressively challenge the GOP to not be beholden to the vocal minority within the party that oppose rights for gays and lesbians.

View the ad here:http://www.logcabin.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/lcr-big-tent.pdf

The ad features two men looking down on a comically small tent with one remarking, “Reagan’s Big Tent Isn’t What it Used to Be…”. The ad then goes on to say: “If the Republican Party wants to win future elections and set this country back on sound financial footing, it must put an end to its obsession with opposing equal rights for LGBT Americans. The GOP’s focus should be on bringing together existing members, reclaiming former Republicans, and attracting new voters. According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, the freedom to marry is supported by 81 percent of adults younger than 30. If you don’t make the tent bigger, you might as well fold it up and go home.
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Associated Press:

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A former top aide to Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Wednesday publicly urged Minnesota GOP legislators to back legalized gay marriage or risk alienating young voters.

Brian McClung, who was deputy chief of staff to Pawlenty, made his case in a Star Tribune commentary piece due for publication Thursday but also spoke with The Associated Press. He said he is willing to go directly to Republican lawmakers considered persuadable on the issue ahead of legislative votes on gay marriage. Those votes are expected before the Legislature adjourns in mid-May.

McClung said by resisting gay marriage the GOP is ignoring a generational gap on the issue and coming off as out of touch.

“We risk closing the door on an entire generation of voters,” McClung told AP.

He added that by resolving the issue this year, the GOP can keep the focus on economic matters when they face voters next.

“By the time of the 2014 elections, it would be beneficial for us to have this as a settled issue and have us get back to the broader issues that we all support — like less spending, lower taxes and more accountability,” McClung said.
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