17 years after defeat, Senate advances gay rights bill

WASHINGTON — The Senate moved forward Monday on a bill to prohibit workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians in a dramatic 61-30 vote. But opposition from the House speaker means the bill may not get to President Obama’s desk.

The Senate vote was not without suspense. With Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., at a funeral, Democrats needed last-minute support from two Republicans to get the 60 votes necessary to prevent a filibuster. Democratic leaders went into the Republican cloakroom to plead with Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. After half an hour of voting, both voted yes.

The vote clears the way for the Senate to consider the issue for the first time since 1996, when it failed in the Senate by a single vote.

The last House effort to pass the bill succeeded,235 to 184, in a Democratic-controlled Congress in 2007. But House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, reaffirmed his long-standing opposition to the bill Monday, making it unlikely the House will schedule a vote. “The Speaker believes this legislation will increase frivolous litigation and cost American jobs, especially small-business jobs,” Boehner press secretary Michael Steel said.

via 17 years after defeat, Senate advances gay rights bill.

Fox News: You can oppose non-discrimination law because being LGBT is just a ‘belief’ | The Raw Story

Fox News anchor Bret Baier suggested to his viewers on Wednesday that a good reason to oppose a law to prevent discrimination against LGBT people was that “beliefs” like sexual orientation could “conflict with a company’s goals.”

During a segment on Fox News’ Special Report, Baier noted that Democrats were pushing to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and that meant “religious freedom” would “take a backseat to another kind of freedom.”

Reporter Shannon Bream pointed out that many religious institutions opposed the bill because they could be forced to “hire a transgender teacher.”

via Fox News: You can oppose non-discrimination law because being LGBT is just a ‘belief’ | The Raw Story.

Shutdown took $24 billion bite out of economy – Oct. 16, 2013

The United States may have dodged an economic catastrophe by raising the debt ceiling and opening the government, but it didn’t emerge from the political debacle unscathed.

The 16-day government shutdown took a $24 billion chunk out of the U.S. economy, according to an initial analysis from Standard & Poor’s.

As a result, the rating agency projects that the U.S. economy will grow 2.4% in the fourth quarter — as opposed to the roughly 3% growth rate predicted prior to the shutdown.

via Shutdown took $24 billion bite out of economy – Oct. 16, 2013.

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Support for marriage equality lowest among blacks, Republicans in Texas | Dallas Voice

A recent poll by Public Policy Polling found that 63 percent of Texas voters believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry or form civil unions in the Lone Star State.

The poll found that 34 percent support marriage equality, which is lower than a recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll. Support is still lagging among black and Republican voters, according to the PPP poll.

Among those who identified as very liberal, 74 percent support marriage equality and 18 percent are in favor of civil unions. As for very conservative voters, 4 percent support same-sex marriage and 45 favor civil unions. Eighteen percent of very liberal voters opposed any form of relationship recognition, compared to 48 percent of very conservative voters.

African-American Texans have the strongest opposition to same-sex relationship recognition, with 44 percent opposing any recognition, compared to 31 percent of white voters and 21 percent of Hispanic voters. Twenty-one percent of African-Americans support civil unions with 18 percent supporting same-sex marriage. White voters supported marriage by 33 percent and 31 percent favoring civil unions. Hispanics favored civil unions by 44 percent with 29 percent supporting marriage.

The poll also found that 75 percent of those surveyed believe employers shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate based on sexual orientation and 54 percent support the Voting Rights Act.

The poll surveyed 500 registered voters between June 28 and July 1. The margin of error was plus/minus 4.4 percentvia Support for marriage equality lowest among blacks, Republicans in Texas | Dallas Voice.

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Why Marriage Equality Is a Conservative Issue | Same Sex Married Life | 10 Thousand Couples eMagazine

Marriage equality. The phrase conjures images of gays and lesbians marching in front of state capitols, their multi-colored flags whipping in the harsh wind of intolerance, their shouts and gestures angry, hoarse, strident as they scream for this and that ‘right’, and generally make a nuisance of themselves, tie up traffic, and act like so many spoiled children. Watching them cavort, in their ragged clothes, unkempt appearance and tacky behavior, we straights are disinclined to even consider their ‘demand’ for marriage equality. Our impulse is to lock the car door, turn up the radio, take a detour to avoid this mob. What in the world could they be thinking? Marriage equality is the last thing we’d consider, even if these urchins were hetero, but a bunch of homos? Please.

Here’s why we straights need to look long and hard at the very issue that those urchins are demanding. Why, indeed, we ought to be out there marching with them, waving that colorful rainbow flag, shoulder to shoulder with that rag-tag group of warmed over hippies and recycled flower children. Marriage equality is, as any good conservative must admit if they’re honest and study its merits, a very conservative issue, indeed, an issue they need to not only accept, but embrace. Skeptical? I’m not surprised. You’ll change your mind after reading this.

via Why Marriage Equality Is a Conservative Issue | Same Sex Married Life | 10 Thousand Couples eMagazine.

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Rep. Louie Gohmert links gay marriage to bestiality | Texas on the Potomac | a Chron.com blog

There he goes again.

Rep. Louie Gohmert is back in the news after a liberal watchdog group dug up a conference call in which the Tyler Republican connected gay marriage to bestiality. Somehow, Gohmert managed to do that while talking about guns.

Right Wing Watch, a self-proclaimed watchdog on the “right-wing agenda,” reported today on comments the congressman made in early February during a conference call for the organization Tea Party Unity.

The discussion turned to gun violence and the threat of gun control, when Gohmert recalled negotiations with Democrats and their attempt to reason that limiting the number of rounds in a magazine is a small aspect that both parties could reach an agreement on.

Gohmert continued:

“Well, once you make it ten, then why would you draw the line at ten? What’s wrong with nine? Or eleven? And the problem is once you draw that limit; it’s kind of like marriage when you say it’s not a man and a woman any more, then why not have three men and one woman, or four women and one man, or why not, somebody has a love for an animal?

There is no clear place to draw the line once you eliminate the traditional marriage and it’s the same once you start putting limits on what guns can be used, then it’s just really easy to have laws that make them all illegal.”

This isn’t the first time Gohmert drew this conclusion on LGBT issues. Gohmert previously disapproved of theMatthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Bill, saying it would legalize bestiality, necrophilia and pedophilia. He made the comments during a debate on repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum also has linked gay marriage to bestiality, although he later deniedmaking those comments

via Rep. Louie Gohmert links gay marriage to bestiality | Texas on the Potomac | a Chron.com blog.

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NOM sees one-third decline in contributions for 2011 – LGBTQ Nation

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) saw a steep decline in the amount of money it raised in 2011 – dropping to $6.2 million from the $9.1 million it raised the previous year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Just two donors were responsible for funding 75 percent of the anti-gay group – the organization reported two donations of approximately $2.4 million each. The information is available in NOM’s 2011 990, which NOM made available this evening after HRC requested the documents in-person at their Washington, D.C. office earlier this morning.

“The National Organization for Marriage continues to push the notion that there is some sort of grassroots support for their discriminatory anti-gay agenda,” said HRC Vice President of Communications Fred Sainz.

via NOM sees one-third decline in contributions for 2011 – LGBTQ Nation.

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10 Florida Republicans Who Helped Make Voting More Difficult (PHOTOS)

Who is responsible for Florida’s second infamous elections debacle since 2000?

There will be plenty of blame to go around, especially when Miami-Dade County finally finishes counting provisional ballots and gets to the bottom of who declined to shore up voting operations, and when. But blame will also likely fall on conservative state legislators, who fought for two years to reduce the number of early voting days and limit registration after heavy 2008 turnout in the state for Democrats.

Obama won the most where the lines were the longest,” former state Sen. Dan Gelber (D-Miami Beach) told the Tampa Bay Times, speaking of the 2012 turnout.

Gelber called the law reducing early voting “hubris and overreaching by the Republicans, who may learn a lesson that ‘Maybe we shouldn’t abuse our prisoners that much because sometimes they’ll get back at you.'”

Citing admittedly non-existent fraud, the GOP gang reduced the number of early voting days from 14 to 8, eliminating the Sunday before Election Day disproportionately preferred, in large numbers, by blacks, Hispanics, young people and first-time voters.

As a result, many voters were squished onto a final Saturday of early voting, with lines so long the last voters in Miami cast their ballots at 1 a.m. Some voters were forced to leave lines to care for children or keep appointments, sending even more South Floridians back to the lines on Tuesday.

via 10 Florida Republicans Who Helped Make Voting More Difficult (PHOTOS).

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What Do Social Conservatives Want? | Cato @ Liberty

Social conservatives talk about real problems but offer irrelevant solutions. They act like the man who searched for his keys under the streetlight because the light was better there.

Social conservatives tend to talk about issues like abortion and gay rights, stem-cell research and the role of religion “in the public square”: “Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life, marriage and religious liberty have forgotten the lessons of history,” said Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) at the Values Voter Summit.

But what is the case for social conservatism that they’ve been making at the summit and in recent interviews?

  • Mike Huckabee: “We need to understand there is a direct correlation between the stability of families and the stability of our economy…. The real reason we have poverty is we have a breakdown of the basic family structure.”
  • Jim DeMint: ”It’s impossible to be a fiscal conservative unless you’re a social conservative because of the high cost of a dysfunctional society.”
  • Rick Santorum: “We can have no economic freedom unless we have good, virtuous moral people inspired by their faith.”

Those are reasonable concerns, but they have little or no relationship to abortion or gay marriage. Abortion may be a moral crime, but it isn’t the cause of high government spending or intergenerational poverty. And gay people making the emotional and financial commitments of marriage is not the cause of family breakdown or welfare spending

via What Do Social Conservatives Want? | Cato @ Liberty.

David Boaz: Republicans, Gay Marriage and the Sound of Social Change

Fortunately, Republicans are mostly ignoring Santorum and his allies these days. They see the long-term damage that the anti-gay crusade is doing them. Back in 2004 they thought that social issues, especially gay marriage bans, would help them win the presidential election. It wasn’t really true even then: it turns out that George W. Bush’s share of the vote rose just slightly less in the marriage-ban states than in the other states: up 2.6 percent in the states with marriage bans on the ballot, up 2.9 percent in the other states.

This year, even though President Obama and the Democratic platform have endorsed marriage equality, Mitt Romney and the Republicans are staying away from the issue. With good reason. The Washington Post reported earlier this month

via David Boaz: Republicans, Gay Marriage and the Sound of Social Change.

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