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Entries in Gay Marriage (195)


NHDP - Four Years Later, NHGOP Still On The Wrong Side of History And Out Of Step With NH Voters 

Concord - Four years after New Hampshire enshrined marriage equality into state law, the New Hampshire Republican Party and its elected officials are still on the wrong side of history and standing in opposition to the majority of New Hampshire voters.  Numerous public opinion polls show that the majority of Granite Staters and Americans support marriage equality. [UNH Survey Center; Washington Post, 3/2013]
Monday, June 3rd, 2013, marks the fourth anniversary of New Hampshire becoming the first state in the nation to legalize marriage equality without court involvement.  Since that time, thousands of loving New Hampshire families have been able to marry and enjoy equal protection under state law.
"Four years ago today, Governor Lynch signed marriage equality into Granite State law.  Four years later, it is long past time for New Hampshire Republicans to join the majority of New Hampshire in supporting marriage equality for all citizens," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley.  "Voters deserve an answer from Kelly Ayotte, Jeb Bradley, Bill O'Brien and other New Hampshire Republicans; why do you still refuse to support equal marriage rights and protections under the law for all loving New Hampshire men and women?"

Not only is the New Hampshire Republican State Committee's opposition to equal rights listed in the official Party Platform that was ratified by the delegate members of NHGOP, but New Hampshire Republican leaders have actively sought to deny equality to Granite Staters. []

  • Senator Kelly Ayotte refuses to support equal rights, has promised to help repeal New Hampshire's marriage equality law and opposes repeal of discriminatory federal statues.  [Youtube]
  • As a member of Congress Frank Guinta backed an effort to ban same-sex marriages. [Concord Monitor, 11/4/2012]
  • Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley voted against equal marriage rights both in Concord [HB436 Roll Call] and Washington.  He even voted in favor of enshrining inequality in the United States' Constitution. [Roll Call 387]
  • As House Speaker Bill O'Brien made repealing marriage equality a legislative priority for House Republicans.  [Nashua Telegraph,11/11/2012]
"Unfortunately New Hampshire Republicans havelurched so far to the right they are out of touch not just with the majority of Americans, but even with members of their own party nationally.  This is further evidence that the NHGOP has lost any connection to traditional New Hampshire values in its desire to become the face and voice of the Tea Party and radical social conservatives," continued Buckley.

Fred Karger Interviewed on Future of GOP in Washington Times

Here are Part I and Part II of an extensive interview I had with Joseph Cotto, of the Washington Times, on the future of the Republican Party.  I thought that you might enjoy it:

Fred Karger on how he is building an LGBT-friendly Republican Party
Photo: Used with permission of Fred Karger Photo: Adam Bouska
Thursday, April 4, 2013 - The Conscience of a Realist by Joseph Cotto

Joseph Cotto

FLORIDA, April 4, 2012 — The Republican Party is in transition.

On one side, social conservatives are clamoring to maintain power amid a cultural climate which increasingly counters their views. On another side, libertarians are making strides in blending social liberalism with virtually unregulated free market capitalism. On yet another side, traditionalists are seeking a return to what might be described as the Eisenhower Era; utilizing various philosophies to achieve this end.

Finally, moderates, who have largely been maligned since the passing of Nelson Rockefeller, sense that there might be a place for them amid the shuffle.

Perhaps Fred Karger fits best into this group. A career political operative, he rose to prominence by consulting on the campaigns of notables such as Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole. His most famous cause, though, is not for a single politician, but an extremely divisive issue: same-sex marriage.

Karger brought much attention to the matter when he ran for the GOP’s presidential nomination during last year’s primaries. In doing so, he became the first openly gay candidate for the presidency. These days, he furthers the interest of not only LGBT rights but also of reasonable Republican politics as a commentator.

In this first part of our discussion, Karger tells us about advocating for LGBT rights within the GOP, if he thinks many of the Party’s anti-LGBT stances will fade away with increasing electoral support for same-sex marriage, how the Religious Right has changed the GOP, whether or not he believes that Ron Paul libertarianism is a positive influence on the Party, and what he expects the future to hold for LGBT Republicans.

Joseph F. Cotto: When one considers the Republican Party, LGBT politics are not something which typically come to mind. Is advocating for LGBT rights within the GOP really as quixotic as it sounds?

Fred Karger: The GOP is slowly coming around. Not all that long ago the Republican Party used to be the leader in civil rights. Now more and more Republican elected officials and leaders are coming out for LGBT equal rights. With 81% of 18 to 29 year olds supporting marriage equality, it’s just a matter of time.

Cotto: With increasing electoral support for same-sex marriage, do you believe that many of the GOP’s anti-LGBT stances will fade away?

Karger: We are coming off electoral victories for marriage equality in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington just last November. The Oregon Republican Party stripped anti-gay language from its 2012 party platform in a shift toward the political center. Illinois’ GOP Chairman Pat Brady recently came out for marriage equality. Illinois will soon have a legislative vote on the issue.  I live for the day when the Republican National Committee helps lead the way toward equality for all Americans just as our first Republican president did 150 years ago.

Cotto: One of the Republican Party’s key voting blocs is the Religious Right, which consists of fundamentalist Christians. Needless to say, these voters do not tend to support LGBT politics. Has this proven to be a problem for LGBT Republicans?

Karger: The Religious Right wants to cleanse the GOP of people who do not agree with them 100% of the time. I learned from Ronald Reagan that we need a big tent Republican Party, reflecting a wide variety of views, while still maintaining core Republican beliefs. The problem that the Party is now facing is that so many reasonable, mainstream Republicans have left the Party that the primaries are now dominated by the far right.

Cotto: Across the political spectrum as of late, libertarianism has become very popular. Specifically in the Republican Party, followers of Ron Paul are storming the establishment’s gates, so to speak. Do you believe that this is a positive development?

Karger: The libertarian movement within the Republican Party is making great headway thanks primarily to Ron Paul. He has had a clear and strong message of less government, and by so effectively communicating that message, has brought in a tremendous number of young people to the GOP.

Cotto: During the years ahead, as the LGBT community’s political lobby grows stronger, the GOP will undoubtedly need its support, both electorally and financially. What do you think the future holds for LGBT Republicans?

Karger: There is a huge opportunity for the LGBT community within the Republican Party right now. I get asked all the time why I don’t switch and become a Democrat. Well, the Democratic Party is in fine shape on LGBT issues. 48 Democrat U.S. Senators are supporting marriage equality. Only two Republicans support it at the moment. Change will only happen on LGBT issues in the GOP from within, which is why I am sticking around.


Fred Karger: 'The GOP should welcome all LGBT Americans'

Photo: LGBT rainbow flag, Friday, April 5, 2013 - by Joseph Cotto

FLORIDA, April 5, 2012 — The LGBT community is gaining unprecedented influence in American politics. How might the Republican Party become more inclusive toward it?

Many believe that if the GOP becomes more socially tolerant, it could lose some elections as fundamentalist Christian voters might stay home. However, tolerance does seem necessary if the support of younger voters is sought. What can be said about this seeming conundrum?

In this second part of our discussion, Fred Karger shares his views. A career political operative, he rose to prominence by consulting the campaigns of notables such as Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole. His most famous cause, though, is not for a single politician but for an extremely divisive issue, same-sex marriage.

Karger brought much attention to the matter when he ran for the GOP’s presidential nomination during last year’s primaries. In doing so, he became the first openly gay candidate for the presidency.

Karger also tells us about whether or not he believes that antiabortion politics will continue to be a prominent feature of GOP social policy, what he learned from his presidential run, and what inspires him to continue on in his career each day.

Joseph F. Cotto: In a summary sense, how might the Republican Party become more inclusive toward the LGBT community?

Fred Karger: The day before I filed my papers at the Federal Election Commission in Washington, DC in April 2011, I met with newly elected RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Co-Chair Sharon Day and Chief of Staff Jeff Larson in their offices at the RNC. They welcomed me into the race, offered my campaign all the facilities of the RNC, included my campaign staff in all meetings and could not have been more cordial. The RNC had me on its list of 12 recommended candidates to be on state primary ballots, which was the principal reason that I was on so many.  This is the direction that the Republican Party needs to be taking on LGBT rights, and it should welcome all LGBT Americans into the GOP not just with words, but with actions.

Cotto: From your perspective, will antiabortion politics continue to be a prominent feature of GOP social policy?

Karger: Sadly, the politics of abortion will be around forever in this country. We need to respect each other’s positions on this highly emotional issue. President Reagan was a shining example of this. While he adamantly opposed abortion, he worked with both sides of the issue, while continuing to speak out loudly on his beliefs.

Cotto: Many believe that if the Republican Party becomes more socially tolerant, it could lose some elections as fundamentalist Christian voters might stay home. However, tolerance does seem necessary if the support of younger voters is wanted. What do you think about this seeming problem?

Karger: Republican leaders got a loud wakeup call last November 6th with the trouncing that Mitt Romney took against a weakened President Obama. Change is happening albeit all too slowly for many of us. Party leaders and elected officials will have to alter their ways. We cannot afford to drive away an entire generation of younger voters if we expect to survive as a political party.

Cotto: Last year, you ran for the GOP presidential nomination. Campaigning for national office is an undertaking so massive that few of us can fully comprehend it. What did you learn from your candidacy?

Karger: I was treated amazingly well for a first-time candidate. I learned how to run a national campaign on a very limited budget by concentrating my efforts in the first two early states of Iowa and New Hampshire. We did all the things that the big campaigns did only on a much more limited basis. From the very beginning, I needed to appear as a serious candidate, so it was imperative that everything that we did and said was well thought out and looked like a presidential candidate and campaign should look. The internet and social media afforded us the opportunity to communicate cost effectively and instantly.

I was very fortunate as the first openly gay candidate of either major political party to receive a tremendous amount of news coverage worldwide because of the historic nature of my candidacy. I also learned that the first time may not always be the path to the nomination.

Cotto: Now that our discussion is at its end, many readers are probably wondering how you came to be a noted political operative and voice for LGBT rights. What inspires you to continue on in your work each day?

Karger: I will forever remember the 16 year old girl who came up to me in a parade in Manchester, New Hampshire three days before last year’s primary. She said she was a lesbian who had struggled with that for years. She had driven many miles to meet me, shake my hand and thank me for running for president. She said that had made her life so much better. It gave her hope that she could do whatever she wanted to do in her life. I don’t even know her name, but she represented so many young people who sent emails, facebook messages, tweeted, and reached out to me with a similar message.  That’s what got me up each and every morning for the 2½ years that I campaigned for president and continues to motivate all my LGBT activism. I want kids growing up today to have a far easier time of it than so many of us did before them.

All the best,


OurAmericanInitiative - We are ready to light the fuse 

Four states, four Live Free campus events, and I have good news to report: From what I have seen and heard this week, America’s young people are ready to enlist in the Liberty movement.
In Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Missouri, hundreds of students turned out to Our America’s events, and they came loaded with great questions, great energy and an exciting desire to mobilize for smaller government and bigger freedom.  Next week, we go to New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah -- and I fully expect to see the same energy and excitement.  
Photo provided by Melissa Bowen.
Why does it matter that these young people will take time away from exams and papers and fun to show up in an auditorium and talk about liberty?  It matters because America, as always, is changing.  It is changing as new attitudes, new faces and new understanding of the costs of a big, intrusive government begin to have an impact on the “system”.  
Just this week, a Pew Poll showed, for the first time in their surveys, that a majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana.  Gallup, who has been asking Americans about legalization since 1969, when more than 80% of Americans opposed it, has found a similar shift.  On marriage equality, even members of that most stubborn institution, the U.S. Senate, are “evolving” at a steady pace, with even so-called conservatives expressing support for gay marriage.  That was unthinkable a few short years ago.
I personally don’t believe these are isolated issues.  As I travel the country, I am seeing these shifts as part of a larger recognition that individual freedom and liberty cannot be entrusted to the government. Young people, especially, see that -- regardless of personal opinions -- government cannot and should not choose which Americans enjoy individual rights.
Increasingly, they see that, if left to its own devices, government will produce the kind of hypocrisy that embraces alcohol use while criminalizing marijuana.  They understand that, if we let it, government will pry its way into every aspect of our personal lives, from our cell phones to our bank accounts to our computers.  And they understand that a national debt approaching $17 trillion is a greater threat to their futures than Iran or North Korea will ever be.
The Our America Initiative exists to give voice to these and other issues -- and to plant a flag around which Americans can rally on behalf of smaller government, greater liberty and real economic freedom.  Believe me, millions of Americans are ready to rally.  But they need leadership and they need organization to turn their attitudes into action.  That is precisely what the Our America Initiative is offering.
But...organizing a nationwide campus tour is no small task.  It takes time, it takes people, and yes, it takes money.  Posters and brochures have to be printed.  Radio ads have to be produced and placed.  News coverage has to be coordinated.  The same goes for our other activities, such as the Liberty Strategy Conference we are hosting in Salt Lake City next week and media tours to Washington DC and New York later this month.
Your support is critical.  If you haven’t, I wish you could join me at one of our campus events. You would see what I am seeing:  Liberty is a rocket just waiting to be ignited. Your contribution at Our America Initiative is the match that will light the fuse.
I hope I can count on your help.  With your financial support of the Our America Initiative, we can take the message of smaller government and greater freedom directly to the millions of Americans who are fed up with the status quo and ready to get to work changing it.
Have a great weekend, and stay tuned for more reports from the great events we will be hosting next week!
Thanks, as always, for your friendship and support.
Gov. Gary Johnson
Honorary Chairman
Our America Initiative
P.S.   To see more photos from our Live Free events, visit my Facebook page.

Heritage - Update on Obamacare Costs, Marriage Debate, & Immigration 

The Dangerous Allure of Medicaid Expansion
How will your state fare if your governor chooses to expand Medicare? A few states would save money when the federal government kicks in their share, but most would lose money. Regardless of whether the state or federal government pays, the massive increase in spending will ultimately be borne by you, the taxpayer. Read analyst Drew Gonshorowski's analysis of the impacts of expansion on your state in his blog post. And, check out how your own state will fare.


Obamacare Drives Up Health Care Prices
The first cost estimate of Obamacare came in at $898 billion, but after the law was passed the government revised the cost to a figure nearly double that, or $1.85 trillion. On the third anniversary of the passage of the health care law analyst Alyene Senger explains in her blog post the increasing costs and what we're likely to face in the future. Even thought the worst tax increases and mandates don't go into effect until next year, Heritage created a collection of infographics that depict the impacts Americans are already feeling because of this new law. 



Heritage's Marriage Expert Debates Piers Morgan 
Ryan Anderson, co-author of the book "What is Marriage," debated Piers Morgan and Suze Orman on CNN. Watch Anderson as he maintains his composure and sticks to the facts while facing a hostile host and studio audience. Learn his arguments by reading  "What You Need to Know About Marriage."


What is the Definition of Amnesty in the Immigration Debate?
Americans recognize the vital importance of lawful immigration in part because it brings important economic and cultural benefits to the country and to the immigrants. Congress should encourage lawful immigration and discourage amnesty, which discourages respect for the law, treats law-breakers better than law-followers, and encourages future unlawful immigration. Learn more about the history of amnesty programs and what immigration policies actually work by reading Heritage Senior Vice President David Addington's Backgrounder, Encouraging Lawful Immigration and Discouraging Unlawful Immigration.


Upcoming Events
Resource Bank Registration Deadline     April 1               Register Here
Resource Bank Meeting                          April 24-26

NHDP - Kelly Ayotte Latest US Senator to Flip-Flop on Marriage, Still Supports Discriminatory Federal Laws

Why are Bradley, Guinta, & O'Brien hiding? Will they oppose future efforts to overturn NH's equality law?


Concord - Amidst pressure from the New Hampshire Democratic Party and the majority of Granite Staters, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte flip-flopped on her support for overturning New Hampshire's marriage equality law.  While running for office Ayotte had promised the extreme right wing Cornerstone Action organization she would "help with any effort to get out law back on the right place on this." [Cornerstone Action Debate 2010] But on Thursday she changed her position saying "this is a matter for the states" and "New Hampshire's already made that decision and I respect that decision."  [NHPR, 3/28/2013]


"While we are thrilled to see Kelly Ayotte finally flip-flopping on New Hampshire's state marriage equality law, the question now is will other New Hampshire Republicans follow suit?  Does Jennifer Horn plan to amend the NHGOP's party platform?  Will Jeb Bradley, Frank Guinta, and Bill O'Brien pledge to oppose future efforts to overturn New Hampshire's law?" asked Harrell Kirstein, New Hampshire Democratic Party's communications director.  "Or will they continue to stand with the far right wing and radical conservative organizations that would deny equal rights to loving New Hampshire families."


Ayotte continues to support the discriminatory 'DOMA' law that denies New Hampshire families equal protection at the federal level. [NHPR, 3/28/2013, WMUR, 3/27/2013]  Jeb Bradley voted against marriage equality as at a state senator in Concord, and voted for a constitutional amendment against marriage equality while in still Congress. [HB436 Roll Call; Roll Call 387]  Frank Guinta also voted against marriage equality while in Washington.[Concord Monitor, 11/4/2012]  As Speaker, Bill O'Brien led numerous unsuccessful attempts to repeal New Hampshire's marriage equality law. [Nashua Telegraph, 11/11/2012]


Public opinion polls continue to show overwhelming support for marriage equality both in New Hampshire and across the nation. [UNH Survey Center; Washington Post, 3/2013]