Monthly Archives: August 2011

Iowa Governor: No Connection Between Gay Marriage Debate and Waterloo Teen’s Slaying

The Des Moines Register:

There’s no connection at all between Iowa’s debate over gay marriage rights and the death of Waterloo teen Marcellus Andrews, the governor said today.

“I think it’s inappropriate to try to link these two,” Republican Gov. Terry Branstad said during his weekly press conference at the Capitol.

A reporter said the homicide could have been related to the sexual orientation of the victim, then asked Branstad what his role was as governor to control the tenor of the debate over gays rights, given the heat of the controversy over the marriage issue here.

... Waterloo police have stressed that they think the beating was prompted by a long-running dispute. Andrews happened to be sitting on the porch of a friend when the dispute broke out, they said.

... Gay marriage has been legal in Iowa since an Iowa Supreme Court ruling in 2009, but social conservatives continue to push the split-controlled Iowa Legislature for the right to vote to change the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

Update: Catholic Charities to Appeal Ruling Favoring Illinois in Civil Unions, Foster Care Dispute


Catholic Charities plans to appeal a judge's decision allowing the state to stop working with the group on adoptions and foster-care placements, an attorney for the not-for-profit agency revealed Monday.

Peter Breen said the group will ask for a stay of Sangamon County, Ill., Circuit Judge John Schmidt's Aug. 18 ruling that sided with the state, which severed work with Catholic Charities after the agency refused to recognize Illinois' civil union law. Breen said the charity also will ask the judge to reconsider, then take the matter to a state appellate court if Schmidt declines.

This Expert Witness in the Prop 8 Trial Was Right

NOM Chairman Maggie Gallagher writes at NRO:

A story relayed to me by one of the Prop 8 trial participants: After Judge Walker announced he would videotape the trial but only for his own personal use, one of the expert witnesses scheduled to testify dropped out. Why, given that the videotape would be sealed?

“I’ve been around the block enough times to know that if the tape exists, it will be used,” he said.

If news accounts are correct, he was right. Judge Walker looks likely to win his celebrity case.

The Payoff: Cuomo Set to Reap Huge Financial Rewards for Passing SSM

Ben Smith at Politico:

With same-sex marriage legal in the state in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reaping the political rewards: A source emails over an invitation to a $12,500 per person "intimate evening" fundraiser on Sept. 21 with Cuomo.

It will be hosted by medical-supply heir Jon Stryker, who is probably the biggest donor to gay causes in the country; and Jonathan Lewis, son of Democratic megadonor Peter Lewis.

"Having delivered on marriage equality in New York is going to get Andrew a lot of gay love, not to mention gay money. There is no one more passionate, and effective," my source emails.

North Carolina Speaker of the House: Marriage is The People's Decision

Rep. Dale Folwell of Forsyth County is the Speaker of the North Carolina House, he writes in in the Winston-Salem Journal about imminent efforts to allow the people to vote on marriage:

Elected officials have lost the public's trust. Voters are fed up with business as usual in politics. Pushing the decision and power to constitutionally define marriage out of Raleigh and into the voters' hands will help restore confidence in our political system and our society.

The 120 members of the N.C. House of Representatives and 50 members of the N.C. Senate have two choices. They can either trust the state's 6 million voters to define marriage, or they can abdicate the decision to one activist judge. It will be a vote over who our elected officials think are more important, themselves or the voters of North Carolina.

For some, defining marriage has become a deeply emotional issue, and the fairest way to mediate such a controversial public policy issue is to trust the people and let them have the freedom to decide.

... North Carolina is not alone in debating whether to amend its constitution. Legislators in Minnesota have already approved putting this question before that state's voters in 2012. Indiana and Pennsylvania are also considering putting the question on their ballots.

ACLU's Melissa Goodman: We Made Sure the Religious Liberty Exemptions are Very, Very Narrow in NY's SSM Law

Contra New York Assemblyman David Weprin, the ACLU is making clear that religious liberty is NOT protected by NY's same-sex marriage language:

CNSNews: Rick Perry Signs NOM Marriage Pledge

Matt Cover reporting for CNS News:

Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed a pledge from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) pledging to oppose same-sex marriage and advance a constitutional marriage amendment.

Perry joins front-runner and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) in signing the pledge promising to defend traditional marriage.

The pledge lists five commitments concerning the natural understanding and legal definition of marriage.

47% Oppose, Only 42% Favor SSM According to 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll

We're guessing the "I don't knows" and "no responses" are also opposed:


Vander Platts: Sen. Gronstal's Refusal to Let Iowans Vote on Marriage Will Lead to His Defeat in 2012

In Iowa, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal still refuses to let the people of Iowa vote -- even if it costs him the next election:

Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal said he intends to block efforts in the Iowa Legislature next year to refer a gay marriage ban to voters.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Gronstal said he knows his stand against letting voters decide whether to amend the Iowa Constitution to ban gay marriage could hurt him with some constituents, but he was willing to take the risk.

... Bob Vander Plaats, who heads the conservative group The Family Leader, speculated that Gronstal's position would hurt him in his bid for re-election.

"I think my political assessment of his decision is it will lead to his defeat in 2012," said Vander Plaats, who led the campaign to remove the three Iowa Supreme Court justices. "Obviously he'll be a top target of ours."

Vander Plaats said he would seek to repeat the successful campaign against the justices in his effort to defeat Gronstal.

"Anytime you stifle the people's voice, people are going to hold you accountable," said Vander Plaats. --Associated Press

As Herman Cain Visits Florida, Local Reporter Wonders Why He Hasn't Signed NOM's Marriage Pledge

Virginia Chamlee at the Florida Independent:

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain will be in the Sunshine State this week, for stops in both Tampa and Sanford.

... Cain, the self-made millionaire and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has done fairly well in recent straw polls, but is arguably not as well known as other GOP hopefuls like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann.

Though he has made known his stance on abortion (he is against it), Cain has been less vocal about his stance on gay marriage. Though he has lambasted President Obama for his failure to defend a federal ban on gay marriage, he has yet to comment on a pledge drafted by the National Organization for Marriage, which Perry signed.

(We wonder, too.)

Weprin Cancels NY-9 Debate, Blames Irene

Gotham Gazette:

Democratic congressional candidate and State Assemblymember David Weprin has withdrawn from [yesterday's] scheduled debate with his GOP rival, Bob Turner. The two men are locked in a tough contest to succeed Anthony Weiner in the Ninth Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens.

... Holden, though, was not accepting the hurricane as a reason for Weprin’s change in plans. “This stinks to high heaven,” Holden said.

He said the candidate’s people had been voicing concern about the debate for the past week, expressing fear it could get disorderly and pressing for a forum instead of an actual debate. Holden said he had promised that the debate would be well run – no placards allowed and some police on hand – but he added, “I can’t guarantee you’re not going to get tough questions.”

The cancellation “is going to backfire for Weprin big time, “Holden said. “Anybody who would do this would not be a straight shooter in Congress.”

The New York Times:

David I. Weprin, a Democrat in the State Assembly, pulled out of the event at the last minute, saying that Tropical Storm Irene, which had long since dissipated, had disrupted his schedule.

It was an eyebrow-raising explanation, especially given that his Republican opponent, Bob Turner, had been evacuated from his home in the Rockaways during the storm, yet still planned to make the debate.

... In a playful act of political theater, the Turner campaign dispatched a volunteer to drive the route between Mr. Weprin’s campaign headquarters and the debate site to demonstrate how little time it took (22 minutes “if one is willing to brave two turns and several traffic lights,” the campaign reported.)

... A civic association staff member wrote and published an article on the group’s Web site Monday assailing Mr. Weprin, who was selected as the Democratic nominee for Congress by local party leaders.

By bowing out of the debate, the article said, Mr. Weprin “was living up to his reputation as a career politician relying on appointments and back-door politics to survive in the complicated Ninth Congressional District.”

Massachusetts Parents Win Federal Right to Prevent Intrusive Sexual Questioning of Their Children

CitizenLink reports:

A Massachusetts middle school passed a new policy yesterday, changing its “passive consent” system for parents — who might be concerned about sexually explicit surveys administered to students — to one that ensures they will only be given to students whose parents have given express written consent.

Arlene Tessitore and The Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties law firm, filed a federal lawsuit in June against the Fitchburg City School Committee. Tessitore’s two daughters were told they had to complete a survey asking about their sexual thoughts and birth control practices. The school said parents had been sent an “opt-out” form; without that, parents were assumed to have given their consent. Tessitore said she never received any form, and was appalled by the questions her daughters were asked.

The school’s new policy brings it into compliance with the federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment.

... “This is a huge victory for parental rights,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Parents are the ones who should decide whether they want their children to be mined for information about their personal thoughts, beliefs or practices. We take it seriously when government officials try to short-circuit that essential parent-child relationship.”

Pro-SSM Senator Admits Getting WA State Lawmakers to Approve SSM in Election Year Will Be Tough

The Seattle Times buries the lead, but the implication is clear:

Two key Democratic state lawmakers are considering a major push to try and pass a gay-marriage law in Washington next year.

Sen. Ed Murray and Rep. Jamie Pedersen, gay lawmakers from the 43rd District in Seattle, said they're in early discussions and have to run the idea by community and legislative leaders.

... "The Senate has always been a problem," Murray said. "I know we do not have enough votes in the Democratic caucus in the Senate to pass marriage and that it would require ... a bipartisan vote, with some Republicans voting for it."

Currently, it appears they're a few votes short, he said.

The House may have enough votes to pass the legislation. "But there's never been a hard count, saying this year in an election year, will you vote for this bill? That has not happened," Murray said.

And why should it matter that 2012 is an election year? Oh, that's right -- because marriage has consequences for lawmakers who presume to redefine it.

Santorum: Gay Activists on Jihad Against Me Over My Stand for Marriage

And he's not giving up!

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said the gay community has "gone out on a jihad" against him for his stance against gay marriage.

"So the gay community said, 'He's comparing gay sex to incest and polygamy, how dare he do this,' and they have gone out on a, I would argue, jihad against Rick Santorum since then," the former senator said at a campaign stop in Spartanburg, S.C., on Friday.

Santorum (R-Pa.) has been an outspoken critic of bothLawrence v. Texas, a 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck down state sodomy laws, and state laws that allow gay marriage.--The Hill

Marriage Amendment Awareness Campaign Launched at Minnesota’s State Fair

The Catholic Spirit reports:

Within sight of the main gate of the Minnesota State Fair, Michael Blissenbach offered literature about marriage to people on their way to and from The Great Minnesota Get-Together.

Blissenbach and other volunteers were the point persons in the launching of what is expected to be a 15-month effort to inform voters in Minnesota about the importance of supporting an amendment to the state constitution that would preserve the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

“A lot of people are taking the literature,” said Blissenbach, a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hastings. “And even if they don’t they’re very respectful about it. They’ll say ‘No thanks’ or ‘We don’t agree.’”

... Volunteer Andy Servi, from St. John the Baptist in New Brighton, pointed to the “wisdom of the ages” that he felt should be convincing. “Cultures throughout history found that marriage of one man and one woman benefited society.” Servi was joined in staffing the coalition booth by his wife, Richel and their 20-month-old daughter, Riana.

... Gene and Gloria Hippe, Wilmar residents and members of St. Mary parish there, stopped at the booth Aug. 26.

“I don’t want to see marriage breakdown any more than it already is,” Gloria Hippe explained.

Gene Hippe added, “It comes down to a child needs a mom and a dad. It’s something so basic that we haven’t thought about it until it’s threatened.”