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Will state GOP amend abortion, marriage stances?

Several California county GOP chairpeople are pushing to make sure the party doesn’t soften its stances against same-sex marriage, abortion rights, illegal immigration and gun control at its convention this September in Anaheim.

CA-GOP logoEight county chairs – including two from the Bay Area – wrote a memo to California Republican Party delegates last week urging support for the party’s current platform.

“We believe this is an excellent platform, reflective of our principles as a party,” the memo said. “It is one that Republicans have united around before and one that is consistent with Republican values nationwide. Tampering with the existing document at this juncture will divide the party and discourage the Republican voters.”

The chairs wrote that they expect the party’s drafting committee might amend four key planks at its meeting next Saturday, Aug. 1 in Los Angeles.

“There may be an effort to significantly change the language and message of three of these planks – Family/Marriage, The Right to Life, and Immigration. Also, we believe we may see an attempt to dilute a fourth plank – The Right to Bear Arms,” the memo said. “If this takes place, these four re-written and significantly weakened planks will be reflected in the Draft Platform. These changes would then make it to the Floor for a vote by all State Delegates at our Fall 2015 State Republican Convention.”

“It is crucial that these four planks be upheld rather than be incrementally chipped away,” the memo concluded. “This Platform will serve to motivate our numerous volunteers and voters who will be needed to Get Out the Vote and rally around our candidates in 2016.

The memo was signed by Alameda County GOP Chairwoman Lori Drake; Calaveras County GOP Chairwoman Vicky Reinke, Contra Costa County GOP Chairman Rohit Joy, Del Norte County GOP Chairwoman Karen Sanders, Fresno County GOP Chairman Fred Vanderhoof, Humboldt County GOP Chairwoman Annette De Modena, Mariposa County GOP Chairman Richard Westfall, and Siskiyou County GOP Chairman Richard Marshall.

The California Republican Party’s current platform says that because family is the foundation on which American society has grown and prospered, “we support the two parent family as the best environment for raising children, and therefore believe that it is important to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.”

On abortion rights, the current platform says the party supports “laws that protect unborn children from partial birth, sex selection, and tax-payer funded abortions, and abortions performed as a form of birth control or on minor girls without their parent’s notification and consent.”

“We believe that the question of abortion is a matter that should be left to the people through their elected representatives, not usurped by the United States Supreme Court, and believe that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be reversed,” the platform continues.

On immigration, the state GOP’s current platform says controlling the border and enforcing all current laws is the only way to be fair to those who’ve come to the country legally. English should be the government’s official language, it says, with all election ballots and other government documents in English only. It calls for a worker visa program with tamper-proof, biometric ID cards for participants and heavy fines for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. It calls for cross-deputization of state and county law enforcement personnel so immigrants who’ve come here illegally can be deported immediately upon completion of any criminal sentences. And it calls for “the termination of all federal and state benefits to illegal aliens other than emergency medical care.”

And on the right to bear arms, the state GOP’s current platform says “one of the first acts of a totalitarian society is to disarm its people. California’s gun control laws only serve to disarm law abiding citizens, not criminals. We oppose any further gun control legislation and support the right of all California citizens to own and bear guns and ammunition for any lawful purpose.”

The platform calls for statewide legislation setting reasonable criteria to let law-abiding citizens carry concealed weapons, and supports “allowing citizens to use deadly force to protect lives and property. We also support including all of these rights in the California constitution.”

“Finally, we call for the elimination of waiting periods to purchase firearms and instead support complete implementation of instant background checks,” the platform says.

See how these platform planks compare to polls of Californians’ public opinion, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, July 27th, 2015
Under: gun control, Immigration, Republican Party, Republican politics, same-sex marriage | 1 Comment »

Arnold terminates marriage-equality opponent

Like many on Facebook, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to use an image of himself overlaid with rainbow colors as his new profile picture to show support for the Supreme Court’s marriage-equality ruling. One of his Facebook followers took issue with that, and the Governator’s response was… classic.


Posted on Saturday, June 27th, 2015
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, same-sex marriage | 1 Comment »

Gavin Newsom in DC for SCOTUS marriage cases

California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom will attend Tuesday’s oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in cases challenging state laws that prohibit same-sex partners from exercising the same rights as opposite-sex partners.

Newsom’s February 2004 decision to direct San Francisco’s City Hall to issue same-sex marriage licenses catapulted him onto the national stage, even if some marriage-rights activists believe it was premature and galvanized a backlash. He announced in February that he’ll run for governor in 2018.

“Rulings upon rulings have rendered discrimination against same-sex partners unjustly unconstitutional, and I hope a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court Justices will rule in favor of equality once again,” Newsom said in a news release Monday. “But I caution against complacency in this battle against bigotry, especially where states are turning to so-called religious exemptions. Even in California, a vanguard for tolerance, there are those who continue their hateful crusade against love.”

While in Washington this week, Newsom is scheduled to address the California State Society, and to meet with members of California’s congressional delegation to discuss criminal justice reforms, economic development, and higher education. And, apparently, to find a decent lunch.

Posted on Monday, April 27th, 2015
Under: Gavin Newsom, Lt. Governor, same-sex marriage | 6 Comments »

Kashkari and Whitman sign same-sex marriage brief

Former California gubernatorial candidates Neel Kashkari and Meg Whitman are among more than 300 Republicans and conservatives who signed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Project Right Side and former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman formally filed the amicus brief Thursday evening involving four cases to be heard on April 28 concerning government recognition of the freedom to marry.

The signers “want to convey to the court that they support traditional conservative values, including the belief in the importance of stable families, as well as the commitment to limited government and the protection of individual freedom,” a news release said. “Furthermore they believe that those conservative values are consistent with affording civil marriage rights to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held marriage to be a fundamental right.”

Mehlman said the brief “adds an important and different voice in the struggle for marriage equality both before the Court and also to millions of Americans at a ‘teaching moment.’ It is another reflection of the growing national support for freedom and liberty for gay and lesbian Americans – support that clearly crosses partisan and ideological lines.”

In 2013, Mehlman submitted a brief to the Supreme Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry – the case that resulted in California’s Proposition 8 ban on same sex marriage being overturned – with 131 Republican signers.

Other signers of this new brief include former California House members Mary Bono and Michael Huffington; the consultants who have run California’s past three Republican gubernatorial campaigns – Steve Schmidt, Mike Murphy, and Aaron McLear; Josh Ginsberg, former political director for Arnold Schwarzenegger; Tucker Bounds, former communications director for Whitman; and Andrea Saul, former communications director for 2010 U.S. Senate nominee Carly Fiorina.

Posted on Friday, March 6th, 2015
Under: Meg Whitman, Neel Kashkari, Republican Party, Republican politics, same-sex marriage | 3 Comments »

Dianne Feinstein reintroduces bill to repeal DOMA

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday reintroduced her bill to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and to ensure all those same-sex couples married under their states’ laws are treated equally under federal law.

This Respect for Marriage Act is almost certainly DOA in this new GOP-controlled Congress, but Feinstein, D-Calif., toils on.

“Congress must repeal DOMA and ensure that all married, same-sex couples are treated equally under federal law, and that’s what this bill will do,” she said in a news release. “Only when this bill is passed will we be able to guarantee the federal rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage for all loving couples. I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill.”

Reps. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., introduced the companion bill in the House. “The Supreme Court has ruled that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, but Congress still must repeal the law in its entirety,” Nadler said.

The Justice Department issued a memo last June finding that without new law, married same-sex couples will still be denied certain Social Security, veteran and other benefits.

The Senate bill’s 42 original cosponsors include Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. The House bill’s 79 original cosponsors include Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco; Sam Farr, D-Carmel; Mike Honda, D-San Jose; Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael; Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo; and Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin.

Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2015
Under: Dianne Feinstein, same-sex marriage, U.S. Senate | 2 Comments »

Brown signs same-sex marriage bill into law

With a stroke of Gov. Jerry Brown’s pen Monday morning, California did away with its last statutory barriers to same-sex marriage.

Brown signed SB 1306 by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, which replaces references to “husband and wife” with gender-neutral language, bringing state statutes into line with the state and U.S. Supreme Court rulings recognizing marriage rights for same-sex couples. The bill officially takes effect Jan. 1.

“This legislation removes outdated and biased language from state codes and recognizes all married spouses equally, regardless of their gender,” Leno said in a news release.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013 let stand California’s ruling that Proposition 8 of 2008 – which wrote a ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution – was unconstitutional. By repealing Proposition 8, that ruling essentially restored the California Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling that had cleared the way for same-sex marriages; weddings resumed almost immediately.

Leno’s bill was cosponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris, Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“Although there is no question that same-sex couples can marry in California, the discriminatory language that remains on the statutory books creates confusion about the rights of same-sex couples,” NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell said in Leno’s news release. “This law makes it clear to everyone that same-sex couples can marry and that all spouses have the exact same rights and responsibilities under the law, regardless of gender.”

Posted on Monday, July 7th, 2014
Under: California State Senate, Gov. Jerry Brown, Mark Leno, same-sex marriage | 3 Comments »

Justice Dept. urges passing DiFi’s marriage bill

A Justice Department memo issued Friday on implementing same-sex marriage rights under last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision calls for passing a California senator’s bill to fully repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The report says the only way to fully implement the decision and ensure same-sex, legally-married couples are treated equally under federal law is by passing bills such as S. 1236, the Respect for Marriage Act, offered one year ago by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Feinstein introduced the bill on the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, finding a key part of DOMA unconstitutional.

“I welcome the Justice Department’s call for passage of our legislation to finally repeal DOMA once and for all and ensure that legally-married, same-sex couples are treated equally under federal law, regardless of where they live,” Feinstein said in a statement issued Friday. “The Justice Department today made clear what we have known all along: the only way key federal agencies like the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs can fully implement the Windsor decision is by enacting the DOMA repeal legislation I introduced with Congressman Nadler.”

“I commend the administration for the painstaking work it has done to go through more than 1,100 federal laws affected by DOMA and implement as much of the decision as possible. But the only way we will achieve full equality under federal law for legally-married, same-sex couples is to enact our bill.”

Feinstein’s bill has 44 co-sponsors, none of whom are Republicans. H.R. 2523, the House version of the bill offered by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has 174 co-sponsors including two Republicans: Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.

Posted on Friday, June 20th, 2014
Under: Dianne Feinstein, same-sex marriage, U.S. Senate | 1 Comment »

Texas GOP endorses ‘reparative therapy’ for gays

The Texas Republican Party now endorses what it calls “reparative therapy” for gay and lesbian people.

The party adopted this as part of its platform at its convention Sunday in Fort Worth after the Texas Eagle Forum tea party group urged endorsement of therapy to turn gay people straight. Thus the party now recognizes “the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.”

Speaking for myself, I endorse reparative therapy and treatment for Texas Republicans because, after all, who would want to live that way?

As a practical matter, the willful ignorance here is staggering. The American Psychological Association and other major health organizations have condemned such counseling, especially for minors, because of the danger of serious psychological harm.

As a political matter, it’s suicide. Consider Gallup’s trend lines:

gallup - legal

gallup - marriage

Please note that I confine this criticism to Texas Republicans. I know there are Republicans across the nation – and perhaps particularly here in California – who read news of the Texas GOP’s whack-jobbiness, do a swift facepalm and exclaim, “What is WRONG with you people?”

It’s amazing that anyone who claims to stand for conservatism, small government, individual rights and personal responsibility would simultaneously believe a political party should say anything about whom one can be sexually attracted to and/or love. It’s hypocrisy of the highest order, piled atop a foundation of bigotry based either in fundamentalist religious dogma or plain old xenophobia.

I believe the Republican Party has a future, but I also believe the Texas Republicans who are now holed up in their ideological Alamo are standing in that future’s way.

Posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
Under: Republican Party, Republican politics, same-sex marriage | 1 Comment »

Liberty Counsel touts Croatia for marriage stance

Conservative law center Liberty Counsel issued a news release Monday noting citizens of Croatia overwhelmingly – 66 percent to 34 percent – passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

Support for the amendment was organized by the Catholic church in response to a bill “that would create homosexual ‘life partners,’” the group reports.

Mat Staver“The memories of so-called ‘progressive’ regimes controlling society are fresh in the minds of Eastern Europeans. They know if the people stand united, they can overcome these ‘progressive’ ideals that wreak havoc on families and communities,” Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver said in the release, blasting the Obama administration for “working to undermine marriage and family around the world” with an ideology that “is morally bankrupt and anti-American.”

Wait. A. Minute.

Are we looking to Croatia as a model for human rights and values? The nation that saw some of the most savage and deadly ethnic cleaning of the past two decades, and that still celebrates that effort with a national holiday? Because that would be pretty remarkable, wouldn’t you say?

I’m not gonna go all Bob Dylan on y’all, but maybe we shouldn’t be taking a page from the Croats on how we do unto others.

Posted on Monday, December 9th, 2013
Under: same-sex marriage | 6 Comments »

County GOP’s support of gay marriage draws fire

California Republicans are abuzz following the Marin County Republican Central Committee’s vote Thursday to support same-sex marriage, becoming the nation’s first Republican county central committee to do so.

“We recognized that we were not providing Marin voters with a viable choice at the polls, and we looked at ways to begin correcting that perception,” Kevin Krick of Fairfax, the committee’s chairman, told my Marin Independent Journal colleague Richard Halstead.

But Harmeet Dhillon – chairwoman of the San Francisco Republican Party and vice chair of the state GOP – on Monday said the feedback she’s hearing from Republicans all around California is “pretty overwhelmingly in opposition” to the Marin GOP’s vote. She called the vote “ill-advised politically and premature at best,” and said she doesn’t know of any other county that’s considering following suit.

Harmeet Dhillon“I don’t think it’s appropriate to have platform positions at the local level that contradict what the party positions are at the state and national level,” she said. “I don’t believe in meaningless gestures, and we don’t engage in them at the San Francisco Republican Party.”

Activists have not been agitating for the San Francisco GOP to take a position on the issue, she said, “and I don’t expect that to change because they’re not single-issue voters and it’s not the most important issue for them.” Dhillon said gay Republicans like other Republicans are more focused on economic issues, and though she considers Krick a friend, she finds this decision surprising: “I don’t think it was properly aired, vetted, thought out.”

“There’s really no groundswell for taking what I think is a premature position on the issue,” she said. “It’s not decided by any stretch of the imagination in the courts, by the Legislature or by the people.”

Nor does she believe it’ll attract new voters to the party, Dhillon said: People for whom same-sex marriage is a prime issue usually disagree with the GOP on many other issues as well, so all this does is vex the party’s conservative base.

Stuart Gaffney of San Francisco, spokesman for Marriage Equality USA, said though this is a first for the Republican Party, “it confirms what we already know: Support for marriage equality is increasing on a daily basis across all spectrums of our society.”

Stuart Gaffney“It wasn’t that long ago where marriage equality might’ve been thought of as a partisan issue, but we see more and more politicians and leaders working across the aisle,” he said, noting actions like those of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman – who last year became the first GOP senator to support same-sex marriage – and the Marin GOP’s “are a result of seeing their LGBT constituents as human beings worthy of full dignity in all aspects of their lives.”

“Any politician and any political party needs to be looking at how they can put together a majority, because they need to win elections,” Gaffney said, citing a new Gallup Poll that shows 52 percent of Americans would vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.

“The numbers are only getting stronger and stronger… so any party that hopes to remain relevant needs to get on board or get out of the way. It’s a question for politicians and political parties now whether they want to be on the right side of history or not.”

UPDATE @ 1:25 P.M.: Gregory Angelo, executive director of the national Log Cabin Republicans, said the Republican Party of Washington, D.C., in June 2012 became the first GOP affiliate to officially declare its support of same-sex marriage, but Marin is the first county committee.

“This news is encouraging and only further shows what we’ve long said: that the GOP is no longer walking in lockstep on this issue,” Angelo said. “Enabling local Republican party central committees to take their own positions on marriage equality is an inherently conservative choice because it lets those closest to the ground have the ability to make policy and platform decisions that best meet the needs of their community and constituencies. That’s what the Republican Party advocates across the board.”

Posted on Monday, July 29th, 2013
Under: Republican Party, Republican politics, same-sex marriage | 10 Comments »