Debunking the Myth That Same Sex Marriage Lost Anthony Weiner's Seat to a Tea Party Candidate

There is a quiet effort to pin the failings of Democrats to beat a Tea Party candidate in the 2011 special election to fill Anthony Weiner’s House seat in NY District 9 on the passage of the same-sex marriage law in NY State. However though a small number of voters may have voted on this as their prime issue, the history of previous Congressional elections in that district prove that support of LGBT issues including marriage do not jeopardize Democratic candidates.

 

 

In 1998, Congressional-member Charles Schumer beat incumbent Senator Al D’Amato and a special election was held to fill Schumer’s seat in the 9th district. As Democrats have held the seat since the 1920’s the Democratic Primary was seen as the de-facto election to fill the seat. The Democratic primary contenders were city council-member Anthony Weiner who previously served as Schumer’s Chief of Staff, former NY Assemblywoman and City Council Member Melinda Katz from the Queens portion of the district (also a strong record on LGBT issues) and Noach Dear, a NY City Council-member from the Brooklyn side a former City Council-member and ultra-Orthodox Jew who has been a very outspoken anti-LGBT bigot.

More Details on the Hawaii Civil Unions Vote

The Democratic sponsor of Hawaii’s civil unions may face a tougher than normal re-election fight in the wake of the April 29th vote to grant gays and lesbians the right to join civil unions. Still, State Rep. Blake Oshiro was heartened by the outcome:

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Here's a radical idea on marriage. . .

In recent weeks, states such as Connecticut, Iowa, Maine and Massachusetts have enacted laws providing for same-sex marriages.  Other states like New York and California are embroiled in heated debates on whether they should allow gay marriage within their borders.  Georgia is one of those states that banned same-sex marriage five years ago via constitutional amendment.

In case you didn't know, five years ago I was legislative aide to Georgia state Representative Karla Drenner (D - Avondale Estates).  Five years ago, Representative Drenner was one of the public faces opposing Senate Resolution 595; the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in Georgia.  From the claims of "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" to the reasoning of marriage equality, five years ago, I heard nearly every argument there was for and against gay marriage; and there's one argument that always stood out to me.

According to a 2004 study by the Congressional Budget Office, there are 1,138 statutory provisions "in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving 'benefits, rights, and privileges.'" Once a straight couple gets "married," they become eligible for a range of benefits including the ability to file jointly on their income tax returns as well as being able to inherit an unlimited amount from their deceased spouse's estate without being subject to the estate tax.

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IA-Sen: Could Grassley face a primary challenge from the right?

Angry social conservatives are speculating that Senator Chuck Grassley could face a primary challenge in 2010. The religious right has been dissatisfied with Grassley for a long time (see here and here).

After the Iowa Supreme Court struck down the state's Defense of Marriage Act, Grassley issued a statement saying he supported "traditional marriage" and had backed federal legislation and a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. But when hundreds of marriage equality opponents rallied at the state capitol last Thursday, and Republicans tried to bring a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to the Iowa House floor, Grassley refused to say whether he supported their efforts to change Iowa's constitution:

"You better ask me in a month, after I've had a chance to think," Grassley, the state's senior Republican official, said after a health care forum in Mason City.

Wingnut Bill Salier, who almost won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in 2002, says conservatives are becoming "more and more incensed [the] more they start to pay attention to how far [Grassley] has drifted."

Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn denies that party activists are unhappy with Grassley. I hope Salier is right and Grassley gets a primary challenge, for reasons I'll explain after the jump.

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An Independents View: Support Same Sex Marriage

I am a christian, a bona fide independent, and a happily married man (15 years this fall).  My wife and I are willing to cross to either side of the aisle for legislation that we feel makes our country better. We voted for Obama last year, and have in the past supported Reagan, Clinton, and Dean, Gingrich, Webb, and Feingold.

I've never voiced support for same sex marriage, and had in the past criticized the GLBT for being mostly reactive. The primary focus of the GLBT seemed to be to get several lawsuits in place that would set precedent law and essentially -  legislate from the bench. The last wave of this approach will find itself dashed against the rocks of the California Supreme Court this week, when they will decide not to overrulle proposition eight.

So that approach wasn't epic fail. But it was not successful either.  And I was a critic of it. Still am.

And now I say, in all seriousness - that my view of Same Sex Marriage is that its time to get legislation in place to legalize it. Why?

Well, first off - for personal reasons. My uncle was a priest in the episcopal church that helped get the issues surrounding this topic out into the world. We supported him, and still do. His son is gay. That means I have a very happily married gay cousin (they went to Spain to get hitched and now spend their days in a sun bleached Casa de Playa).

And because, I honestly believe that if two people want to have the legal right to have a marital squabble, for the sake of the Good lord, just let them! The types of recognition that are provided by society here - really aren't so valuable that they'll be really  missed - these two lovebirds can file a joint tax return, get someone out of the hospital, adopt kids, etc.  - Let them have it. The IRS can handle the workload and I am sure the hospitals are happy to see family and friends and spouse around their cold white walls. Don't get me started about kids. I swear, they're like donuts. One is great... two.. three... you get the picture.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly to my many friends in the GLBT community - its because now, if you seek this process through legislation. You will win. And thats what I'm here for. I helped my deep red state to get carried for Obama by 68% of the primary vote. And I am more than willing to help these guys finish their agenda.  As long as I can play golf every now and then on the weekends, I'm game for it.

I supported Dean in 2004 - I did so because the guy could balance a budget - not because he was some kind of champion for civil unions. But trust me, the masterminds behind his campaign were the GLBT - they were the first 100k of his campaign. The fact that Dean ran a somewhat badly managed campaign (a fact that Joe Trippi will try to deny) more or less killed support amongst my crowd for him - we saw the most money ever raised online - disappear all too rapidly offline. Again, the leadership of the GLBT at the time was largely to blame. And of course, Joe. But he will deny that.

But as to the issue of civil unions -  Dean, as governor of Vermont - wanted  Vermont legislature decide the issue. Not the courts. Hello, was anyone listening?  Today, it looks like Civil Unions will go one step farther in Vermont - and we'll see same sex marriage legalized. Good for them. And through the right channel - the legislative channel. No expensive lawsuits. No legislation from the bench.

And if the majority support it, then it should be so. Remember,
the religious fundamentalists were the ones who got our economy out of balance in the first place with their pie-in-the-sky foreign and economic policies championed under the Bush administration.

Independents don't care about whether government is smaller, or bigger, we care about whether or not its doing its job right. Is it the role of government to tell them they can't be there at that morning coffee as husband and wife?

Those states that adopt - through legislation - same sex marriage will likely get a boost to their economy.  Seriously, this is a bottom line kind of decision. Gays are, almost to a fault, a bit more wealthy and educated than your standard man off the street. Living in San Francisco for many years taught me this.

As Dean said - the legislative branch is the right branch of the government to decide the issue. And thats who's deciding the issue these days.

I met someone last week who was arrested on an anti-sodomy charge. I thought to myself. For God's sake, why would anyone want to pay attorneys, cops, judges, prison officials, and the whole retinue of probation officers and clerks - to keep people from a good orgasm? To be sure, sodomy is not exactly my cup of tea.  But so what.  The concept of having laws to keep people from doing it , is to my mind bizarre. Even if it wasn't safe sex. Its still their choice.

Further, I spoke with this person (I was giving them a ride) and found that the courts pressured a guilty plea. If this person (I am referring to this person carefully because they're in the process turning from he, into a she..) didn't plead guilty - they would register them as a felony sex offender in the sex offender database. It would ruin their career - the sex offender database is online. They were the valedictorian of their class, but for a night of harmless activity - they're now a felon?!

So. I decided. Hey. The GLBT are barking up the right tree this time. AND there are people out there that this kind of legislation will really help.

My question is. Ok. So yeah, Same sex marriage isn't a big deal and it might be a good idea to get it done.  What do I do, to help out?  Is there anything I can do to help this person (who is now camping out in one of my friends office building - a person with a perfect 3.9 GPA on their way to college!) ?
Would there be any way that any of us indies out there, who quite honestly - have cared less - about this issue - lend support to the effort?

Which states are good candidates to go next in the legislative process to legalize same sex marriage?

Thanks!

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