Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bachmann, Romney, and Santorum Sign NOM's "Marriage Pledge"

Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney have signed a "marriage pledge" from the National Organization for Marriage. The pledge has five key planks that the signers agree to support.
First, the pledge binds the candidate to
"Support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification."
This is nothing new, as most of the Republican candidates have already voiced their support for such a measure.
Second, it compells signers to
"Nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and to applying the original meaning ofthe Constitution, appoint an attorney general similarly committed, and thus reject the idea our Founding Fathers inserted a right to gay marriage into our Constitution."
This plank fails to recognize the fallacy of the "original meaning" interpretation of the Constitution; that is, that we cannot truly know what the Founders meant and that the Founders were not gods made mistakes with the Constitution. Yes, the Constitution is an exceptional document, but it also has many items that modern Americans are not proud of, such as the 3/5 clause., and hence why it has been amended 27 times. The question that I would ask of NOM is, "what "original intent" and "Founding Fathers" should we go by?".

Third, the pledge states that candadites must "defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act vigorously in court."

Fourth, the candadites must make sure to

"Establish a presidential commission on religious liberty to investigate and document reports ofAmericans who have been harassed or threatened for exercising key civil rights to organize, to speak, to donate or to vote for marriage and to propose new protections, if needed."
This is not a surprising statement coming from NOM, an organization that has repeatedly been ordered to disclose campaign violations yet has refused to do so based upon this "persecution" complex. Though there may be a few examples of harrassment by gay activists, our movement as a whole is against such tactics and condemns harrassment and violence against those who disagree with us. And I also have another question for NOM. Are they only advocating for this one commission, or would they also advocate for a commission on LGBT people who have been harrassed and threatened by religious extremists because of their sexual orientation?

 Fifth, if elected president, the candadite must
"Advance legislation to return to the people of the District of Columbia their right to vote on marriage."
Though the issue of "letting the people vote" in Washington D.C. has been rejected by every federal court that has addressed the issue, NOM would still like the U.S. Congress, a body in which the residents of D.C. have no representation, to order the elected city council of the District to have a referendum. This not only shows a fundamental misunderstanding on NOM's part of how our system of government is structured - aka. representative republic - but is also shows that even if a government has to implement a policy through imperialistic means, that is fine with NOM.

Though Bachmann, Romney, and Santorum signed the pledge, one social conservative candidate declined to sign; Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.  Maggie Gallagher criticized this move by Pawlenty, saying
“Pawlenty’s communications director Ann Marie Hauser, personally informed me on Tuesday that Tim Pawlenty would not sign NOM’s marriage many people, we are scratching our heads wondering why Gov. Pawlenty, who has been a champion for marriage in Minnesota, would not commit to doing so for America.” 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NOM and FRC Launch "Values Voter" Iowa Bus Tour

The National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Councile, and the Susan B. Anthony List have launched the 2011 Values Bus Iowa Tour. Starting on August 9th, the tour will drive 1,3-5 miles and make its way through 47 of Iowa's 99 counties, ending in Ames, Iowa on August 12th.

The bus tour will be kicked off in Des Moines by the Faith Family Freedom Fund Chairman Connie Mackey, and will include participants such as Republican presidential candadites Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum. Republican candadite Michele Bachmann is also expected to participate over the four day tour. These presidential candadites will also be joined by  U.S. Republican Representatives Steve King (IA) and Louie Gohmert (TX).

Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, an organization headquartered in New Jersey, emphasised the importance of the Iowa tour and its goal of putting a social conservative in the Oval Office, saying
"President Obama has done virtually everything in his power to undermine the institution of marriage, including refusing to defend the bi-partisan Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by President Clinton. NOM is committed to ensuring that the next President is a strong and committed supporter of traditional marriage and will commit his or her administration to vigorously defending marriage in the courts, Congress and in the court of public opinion. We were the largest contributor to the effort to unseat the state judges who imposed same-sex marriage on Iowa by judicial fiat. We look forward to playing an extremely active role in encouraging the people of Iowa, including our tens of thousands of supporters, to make a difference in selecting an unambiguously pro-marriage candidate in Iowa."
Tony Perkins of the Washington D.C based Family Research Council echoed Browns sentiments saying,
"Last November, the people of Iowa reclaimed their right to govern themselves by removing three activist judges from power. We were honored to play a part in that victory with our successful Judge Bus tour that traveled the state highlighting the issue.
"The Values Bus Tour will speak to the views held by millions of American voters who want to make sure that issues impacting the family and the broader culture are understood and addressed by each of the candidates. The race is clearly wide open. Values voters will be closely watching next week's events as they determine which of the candidates are willing to do what it takes once elected to restore fiscal sanity, protect marriage, safeguard religious liberty and protect the rights of the unborn,"
Recall, that in the effort to oust the three "activist" judges during the 2010 election, NOM and the FRC allied themselves with the social conservative organization The Family Leader and its CEO Bob Vander Platts. This organization has come under fire nationally for its Marriage Vow presidential pledge; a pledge which both Rep. Bachmann and Rick Santorum signed. The pledge not only asserted (before retraction) that African-American children were better off in slavery than in modern America, but also that pornography should be outlawed, and that sexual orientation is a choice. Other Republican candadites, such as Gary Johnson and Mitt Romney, condemned the pledge, refusing to put their name on the document.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tennessee Senator Stacey Campfield Responds To "Don't Say Gay" Bill Statement of Governor Haslam

Tennessee State Representative Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) is defending his "Don't Say Gay" bill from recent criticism by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Haslam, though seen as a moderate Republican compared to Tennessee's more conservative dominated legislature, came under fire earlier this year from gay rights groups for his signing of HB600, a bill which repealed the city of Nashvilles sexual orientation protection ordinence.

The bill, known nationally as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, prohibits the teaching or mentioning of homosexuality between kindergarten and 8th grade. Though supporters, such as Senator Campfield, assert that the bill is ideologically neutral, and allows families to discuss the sensitive topic of sexuality when parents feel their children are ready, many have noted that the bill actually ostracizes LGBT students since it promotes heterosexuality as the only form of sexuality that can be discussed by teachers.

Governor Haslam, in an interview with the The City Paper's Jeff  Woods, stated his feelings about the "Don't Say Gay" bill,
“The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill didn’t pass and probably is never going to pass...‘Don’t Say Gay’ is real sexy and yada yada yada. It’s not going anywhere.
Senator Campfield sharply responded to Governor Haslam's words regarding the bills passage,
"I partially agree with the governor that some in the media have an unhealthy obsession with this bill. But I disagree with the governor saying that it is not going to pass. Families across the state believe this is something that should be discussed with young children in the home, not with some radical in the classroom."\
The President of the Tennessee Equality Project, Chris Sanders, responded to the Governors words as well, stating on the TEP website,
 First, it's good to know the Governor doesn't think the bill will pass. It did, however, pass in a modified form in the Senate. I hope the Governor shares his views with Rep. Bill Dunn in the House. Second, the Governor's right when he says that "somethings wrong with that picture." But it's not the media coverage. It is a public outrage when Tennessee lawmakers try to disappear an entire group of people in our public schools and make life more difficult for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students. The media is naturally going to cover that. What's wrong with the picture is legislative leadership that won't rein in their extreme members who push such bills

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