Republicans retreat on "gay marriage"

Politico

Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer

Just a few years ago, House Republicans were trying to etch their opposition of gay marriage into the Constitution.

Now? They’re almost silent.

It’s been one of the swiftest shifts in ideology and strategy for Republicans, as they’ve come nearly full circle on same-sex politics. What was once a front-and-center issue for rank-and-file Republicans — the subject of many hotly worded House and Senate floor speeches — is virtually a dead issue, as Republicans in Congress don’t care to have gay marriage litigated in the Capitol.

Even more than that, Republican leadership has evolved, too. It has quietly worked behind the scenes to kill amendments that reaffirm opposition to same-sex unions, several sources told POLITICO.

It’s not like the GOP has become a bastion of progressiveness on gay rights, but there has been an evolution in the political approach — and an acknowledgment of a cultural shift in the country. Same-sex relationships are more prominent and accepted. There are more gay public figures — including politicians — and it’s likely that many Washington Republicans have gay friends and coworkers. Just as important — there’s also a libertarian streak of acceptance on people’s sexuality coursing through the House Republican Conference.

“In one decade, what’s shocking on TV is accepted as commonplace in the other,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), a veteran of the culture wars of the 1990s. “It’s the same with sexual mores all over that if you look at campuses and universities, they have a lot of gay pride clubs and so there has been a deliberate and effective outreach to the younger generation about being more accepting of same-sex relationships.”

But there’s also a political strategy at work: The economy has displaced moral issues in today’s politics. Ask most House Republicans today if they have deep convictions about gay relationships, and it hardly registers.

“I personally have deep convictions about my children having a financially stable country that they can live in,” Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) said in an interview. “I want my daughters to have the opportunities that I had, and that’s what concerns me. That’s what keeps me up awake at night, not worrying about who’s sleeping with who.”

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), a 32-year veteran of Congress, never a man of many words, simply said, “I don’t hear it discussed much.”

Even die-hard social conservatives like Texas Republican Louie Gohmert aren’t digging in.

“That’s not something we’re focused on now,” Gohmert said.

-----National party operatives have taken notice. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions all did fundraisers in the 2010 cycle with the national gay and lesbian GOP grass-roots organization, Log Cabin Republicans.

The group’s Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said that while the three party leaders got flak for doing the events, they stood their ground.

“Twenty years ago they would have thrown us under the bus,” Cooper said. The group recently hosted a 40th birthday fundraiser for Priebus.

Even among the most conservative ranks there has been some softening. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) — who holds a 93 percent lifetime score with the American Conservative Union — recently attended a Log Cabin Republican meeting in Houston. Poe’s office said his “views on same-sex marriage have not changed, however, he found that there were plenty of things they did agree on and he really enjoyed listening to what they had to say.”

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Leadership, too, has played a role. At the top levels of House Republican leadership, aides have tried to “quell” legislative proposals on the sanctity of marriage.

Read this story at dyn.politico.com ...

 
 
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In addition to the 15 Catholic bishops scheduled to speak at Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom locations, countless other influential speakers from all walks of life will also be addressing rallies throughout the country this Friday, March 23.

The speakers at the more than 130 Rally sites represent a wide array of backgrounds and professions, including members of Congress, physicians, college presidents, pastors, radio hosts, law professors, heads of organizations, publishers, religious sisters, pregnancy resource directors, and rabbis.

The New York City Rally will feature several big names, including Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and pastoral associate of Priests for Life; Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Msgr. Philip Reilly, and Mother Mary Agnes Donovan, Superior General of the Sisters of Life. 

Continue reading ...


 
 
 
 
Greeley Gazette 

March 14, 2012

Jack Minor

A federal judge has ordered a Missouri school district to unblock its web filters and give students access to sexually explicit material by the middle of March.

A US District Judge issued a preliminary junction against the Camdenton R – III School District banning them from using filtering software. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the district claiming it was deliberately restricting access to homosexual themed sites, while allowing students to view what it claims are “anti-LG BT sites that condemn homosexuality.”

In issuing its ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri said the district's custom filtering system "systematically allows access to websites expressing a negative viewpoint toward LGBT individuals by categorizing them as 'religion,' but filters out positive viewpoints toward LGBT issues by categorizing them as 'sexuality.”

Joe Ortwerth, executive director of the Missouri Family Policy Council, says, “When you consider that there's a federal law on the books that obligates school districts to ensure that their computers do not allow access to materials that might be pornographic for minors, this judge's action -- considering that -- is pretty shocking.”

The ACLU’s website claims that schools cannot block LGBT sites claiming that to do so is a violation of the First Amendment. “Programs that block all LGBT content violate First Amendment rights to free speech, as well as the Equal Access Act, which requires equal access to school resources for all extracurricular clubs, including gay-straight alliances and LGBT support groups.”

Among the sites the ACLU says students have a right to view is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. The site provides a link to “It Gets Better” which is a program advocating the homosexual lifestyle founded by Dan Savage, a “gay” sex columnist.

Savage is known for his vulgar and raunchy columns. He was also responsible for “bullying” Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum by creating a “Google bomb” that attached a vile sex term to the candidate’s name.

Savage has engaged in other hateful comments such as saying on Bill Maher’s television show, “I wish all Republicans were f***ing dead.” And has said on HBO that he wanted to rape Santorum.

The ACLU disputes that it is advocating students be allowed to view pornographic material, however, by disabling the filters in order for students to view “safe sites” sexually explicit sites will be permitted as well.

The Alliance Defense Fund, which filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the school, noted that the “sexuality” filter blocks access to over 8,200 websites of which 7,800 would not be blocked by using the “adult” or “porn” filters and that many of the 7,800 sites contain sexually explicit materials.

The brief provided examples of specific sites that would not be blocked by the filter that provided access to pornographic images and pictures.

 
 
American Thinker

By Trevor Thomas

One of the greatest deceptions perpetuated by the mainstream media concerning the American political scene is the idea that whenever the "social issues" are prominent in election debate, conservatives lose.  James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal recently wrote about an upcoming book by Jeffrey Bell -- The Case for Polarized Politics -- that helps dispel this myth.

"Social issues were nonexistent in the period 1932 to 1964," notes Bell.  "The Republican Party won two presidential elections out of nine, and they had the Congress for all of four years in that entire period. ... When social issues came into the mix -- I would date it from the 1968 election ... the Republican Party won seven out of 11 presidential elections."

Bell concludes, as have many others, that American social conservatism began in response to the sexual revolution of the 1960s.  Thus, it is unsurprising that all of the most significant "social" issues in America today are sexual issues.

To borrow from pastor, author, and Christian apologist John MacArthur (as I have done before), "[w]ithin the moral realm in our society the conflict is almost exclusively about sex."  Abortion, fornication, homosexuality, divorce, and so on, he adds, are all sexual issues.

Therefore, the phrase "social issues" is a bit of a misnomer.  Topics like abortion, homosexuality, marriage, contraception, and the like are not hot political issues simply because -- as the word "social" implies -- they relate to people's personal lives.  They are hot political issues because they reside deeply in the moral realm of our culture.  We are not debating mere "social" issues; we are debating moral issues.

Being a nation that was "conceived in liberty" -- and for modern conservatism to have so wrapped itself up in the concept of liberty -- it is often seen as a contradiction that conservatives wish to "legislate morality."  However, as Edmund Burke (considered by many the father of modern conservatism) noted, "[m]en are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites[.] ... Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.  It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free."

Is there little doubt that when these words first came to Burke in the late 18th century, among other things, mankind's sexual appetite was foremost in his thought?  Since our founding we have had laws that govern moral, including sexual, behavior.  Our Founders -- and throughout our nation's history, most of our lawmakers and judges -- understood well Burke's implication that true liberty cannot exist without those "moral chains" which bind our "appetites."

For decades now, and with significant success, liberals have fought to break those Judeo-Christian "moral chains" that they have deemed unjustly binding...

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/03/social_issues_are_really_moral_issues.html#ixzz1oppgD8PN