More great work by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring - thank you! Also, check out the "flip" of this post for selected quotes from Virginia's brief in the Bostic case (oral arguments will begin on May 13). As Herring's office says, "Hopefully this will make it a little easier to identify the conclusions of the Commonwealth's arguments, as well as some of Attorney General Herring's more noteworthy points."
According to Rep. Frank Wolf, speaking earlier today on the House floor, "regardless of your views on marriage, any American who values the 1st Amendment should be deeply troubled that [former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich] was essentially driven from his job because of his personal beliefs...about traditional marriage." In Wolf's view, "the chilling effect it will have on the broader issues of free speech cannot be overstated." Wolf adds that "Amurica" (as he weirdly pronounces it) has "never been defined by mob rule," and supposedly "what happened last week was not debate, it was stifling of debate...the silencing of dissent...the compromising of two of our nation's most cherished principles - freedom of speech and freedom of religion." And, Wolf concludes, "the implications are vast and deeply troubling."
Except that this is mostly wild hyperbole and hysterics, two things which Frank Wolf has specialized in over the years, and factually questionable at best. In reality, the resignation of (now former) Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich does NOT have "vast" implications for "Amurica," nor does it have anything whatsoever to do with the 1st Amendment. For starters, the 1st Amendment deals with the government, not the private sector, stating that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech."
Let's repeat: the 1st Amendment has to do with Congress. What the 1st Amendment does NOT have anything to do with is such things as specifying that a private company must employ someone it doesn't want to employ. You'd think a Republican, if anyone, would appreciate that. Guess not. Of course, there are laws - and rightfully so! - against companies firing people because of their religion, race, ethnicity, etc. But that's not what the 1st Amendment talks about. Personally, I don't believe that Mozilla should have fired Eich based on his religious beliefs. Fortunately, that isn't what happened. Instead, as the New Yorker explains, what unfolded was an "uprising within the Mozilla community: a public petition was circulated demanding that he step down, the dating site OkCupid recommended that its customers stop using Firefox, and some Mozilla employees (though far from all of them) called for his resignation." The problem, in the end, wasn't "that he took a political stance," but that " Eich's stance was unacceptable in Silicon Valley, a region of the business world where social liberalism is close to a universal ideology." But it's even more than that; it's about the potential future of Mozilla.
Mozilla is not like most companies. It's a wholly-owned subsidiary of the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, and is just one part of the broader Mozilla community, which includes thousands of open-source software developers and other volunteers around the world. These people still do much of the work behind Mozilla's products-contributing code, technical support, design improvements, and so on. This means that Mozilla depends on the goodwill of its supporters more than most corporations do; it relies on their willingness to donate their services in pursuit of the broader Mozilla project, which is all about keeping the Web transparent and accessible. If it alienates them, Mozilla's entire mission will be at risk.
So, there you have it: Mozilla made a business decision (to the extent it pressured Eich out, which is actually hard to determine exactly), one presumably that was based on its (or its community's) perception of its/their own self interest. Whatever the case may be, the decisions had absolutely NOTHING to do with the government, except insofar as its former CEO had supported efforts to have the government discriminating against one group of Americans and depriving them of their rights to equal protection under the...yes, Constitution! Ironic, ain't it? Also amazing that Frank Wolf, after all these years in public life, still doesn't get it. He can't retire soon enough.
As a Virginia Democratic political blogger who lives in the 8th CD, I get pitched on stories by the various 8th CD Democratic candidates fairly frequently. Some of the pitches are good ones (e.g., newsworthy, interesting), some of them are "meh," and some are...well, let's just say, not worth blogging about.
One of those "definitely not worth blogging about" pitches came a couple weeks ago, when I was informed that - are you sitting down now? - a certain 8th CD Democratic candidate was against gay marriage back in 1997. I'm being snarky here not because this isn't a serious issue, but for several other reasons:
1) Back in the late 1990s, according to Gallup, support for same-sex marriage was very low, in the 27%-30% range (vs. opposition in the 60s).
2) Overwhelmingly, prominent Democratic politicians weren't out front of public opinion on this issue. For instance, in 1996, Bill Clinton said upon signing the deplorable "Defense of Marriage Act," "I have long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages and this legislation is consistent with that position." Also in 1996, Clinton said to The Advocate, "I remain opposed to same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman." That was pretty much the typical position of Democratic politicians back then, with very few exceptions. For instance, Al Gore said he agreed with George W. Bush's statement in a debate that "I'm not for gay marriage. I think marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman." Finally, a gay friend of mine notes that not even Howard Dean was for same-sex marriage in 2003 (let alone 1997), and that in the 2003-2004 Democratic presidential primaries, only Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, and Carol Moseley Braun were for same-sex marriage. Nobody else in the 2003/2004 Democratic primary field had "evolved" that far, including eventual 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry (he said that "for historical, cultural and religious reasons, most in American society regard marriage as a 'union between a man and a woman,'" and that he supported "civil unions"). (Also note that neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama were for same-sex marriage in 2008)
3) As for Virginia Democrats, other than the courageous Chuck Robb, I'm not sure if any other prominent one supported same-sex marriage back in 1997. That's to Chuck Robb's credit, and everyone else's detriment I suppose, but again, support for same-sex marriage was clearly a minority position back in 1997, one that very few politicians were willing to adopt publicly. (Note: Jim Moran and Bobby Scott both voted against DOMA in 1996)
Thanks to Catherine Read for the video of Joel McDonald speaking to the Democratic Party of Virginia earlier today. It's a powerful and moving speech, positive and unifying, despite what was undoubtedly a difficult, emotional week. Great job by Joel; I recommend his speech to everyone!
It will be fascinating to see how Terry McAuliffe et al respond to this. Clearly, sentiment in the Virginia Democratic "base" is strongly against Mayor Dwight Jones, who opposes marriage equality, to be the next DPVA Chair. Among other evidence, note that the Blue Virginia poll is now running overwhelmingly against Jones. The bottom line is that marriage equality at this point is a core principle of the Democratic Party, one which Dwight Jones disagrees with. Also worth noting is that, in the 8th CD primary, so far four candidates - Adam Ebbin, Patrick Hope, Mark Levine, and Bill Euille - have issued statements opposing Jones (at least unless he changes his position opposing marriage equality). I encourage the remaining candidates to add their voices...
You are receiving this as a member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia.
Maggie Sacra, Chair of the LGBT Democrats of Virginia, today spoke about the submission of Dwight Jones, Richmond City Mayor, to be Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, saying, “In response to the many phone calls and emails members of our board have received regarding Mayor Jones’ opposition to marriage equality, and frankly, in response to our own concerns and alarm, the LGBT Democrats of Virginia held an emergency meeting today of our board. After a unanimous vote, we are releasing the statement below to our State Central Committee, our statewide elected officials, and our legislators.”
The statement reads: “Given repeated opportunities over the past few years, Mayor Dwight Jones has consistently refused to endorse marriage equality. LGBT Democrats of Virginia is extremely disappointed with the consideration of Mayor Jones for Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia. We oppose his nomination and call on Virginia Democrats to seek pro-equality nominees at all levels of the Party and public office."
I strongly recommend this video to Ken Cuccinelli, "Sideshow Bob" Marshall, E.W. Jackson, and to everyone who ranted against Attorney General Mark Herring for announcing that he would no longer defend Virginia's anti-gay bigotry amendment, etc. It beautifully exposes the anti-gay bigots as having no rational arguments whatsoever. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Check it out and see for yourself.
Fascinating, horrifying and hilarious all at the same time...check out Del. "Sideshow" Bob Marshall's Facebook page for more, including comments by a "staffer" posting as "Bob Marshall" for some strange reason. I've captured it, just in case either Del. Bob Marshall or "Bob Marshall" try to delete it.
Looks like Attorney General Herring was right all along, and everyone who said he was wrong were, well, wrong. The bottom line is that the U.S. constitution trumps the state constitution, and under the U.S. constitution we all have to be treated equally under the law and not discriminated against just because a majority feels like it. Why is that such a difficult concept for right wingnuts like Bob Marshall to understand? Here are a few highlights from the ruling, which you can read in full on the "flip." Enjoy! :)
*The plaintiffs are found to have standing. A key reason: the plaintiffs "suffer humiliation and discriminatory treatment on the basis of their sexual orientation," which opposite-sex couples so not likewise suffer. Furthermore, "This stigmatic harm flows directly from current state law." Any further questions?
*On legal precedent, the court writes: "doctrinal developments in the question of who among our
citizens are permitted to exercise the right to marry have foreclosed the previously precedential
nature of the summary dismissal in [the Baker v. Nelson decision of 1971]. The Baker summary dismissal is no longer binding."
*"Marriage is a fundamental right...protected
by both the Due Process and Equal Protection
Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment." Isn't that exactly what Mark Herring said? :)
*There is "no dispute" that the Marshall-Newman, anti-gay-marriage amendment, "Plaintiffs and Virginia citizens similar to Plaintiffs are deprived of that right to marry." That, obviously, is BLATANTLY unconstitutional.
*"Because marriage is a fundamental right, therefore, Virginia's Marriage Laws cannot be
upheld unless they are justified by compelling state interests and are narrowly drawn to
express only those interests." #FAIL and #FAIL some more.
*"The state's compelling interests in protecting and supporting our children are not furthered by a prohibition against same-sex marriage," just as bans on inter-racial marriage weren't so furthered. The fact is, "The for-the-children rationale rests upon an unconstitutional, hurtful and unfounded presumption that same-sex couples cannot be good parents." Utterly and maliciously false.
*Bottom line: the Virginia anti-gay-marriage amendment (and laws) fail under the U.S. Constitution's 14th amendment and specifically its Equal Protection Clause. As if that's not enough, "Virginia's Marriage Laws fail to display a rational relationship to a legitimate purpose, and so must be viewed as constitutionally infirm under even the least onerous level of scrutiny." The court clearly states that the main reason these anti-gay-marriage laws are in place is anti-gay animus and prejudice. And that's not sufficient reason to discriminate under the U.S. Constitution, which right wingers like Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson, Mark Obenshain, Bob Marshall, etc. (falsely) claim to revere so much. Sorry guys, you and your bigotry lose!
P.S. We're all eagerly awaiting the heartfelt apology to Mark Herring by all the right wingers who slandered him (as well as by everyone who supported discriminating against an entire class of Virginia citizens). Any time now. :)
Great work by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring; I'm prouder today than ever for having supported him and worked to get him elected. :)
STATEMENT OF ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING ~ Following oral arguments in same-sex marriage case ~
Richmond--Attorney General Mark R. Herring released the following statement after oral arguments were heard today in Bostic v. Rainey, a challenge in federal court to Virginia's ban on marriage for same-sex couples.
"Today was a very significant day in the journey towards full equality under the law for all Virginians. I am proud to say that the Commonwealth of Virginia stood on the right side of the law and the right side of history today in opposing this discriminatory ban.
"This case is fundamentally about whether Virginia can legally treat same-sex couples as second-class citizens, or whether the U.S. Constitution truly guarantees equality under the law. But this is more than an abstract legal debate. The answer to this question affects the lives of thousands of Virginians who are our friends, our neighbors, coworkers, fellow parishioners at our churches, our brothers and our sisters, and they deserve to be treated exactly the same as all other Virginians.
"Although we have much to be proud of, there have been times where brave Virginians have led the fight for civil rights while their state stood against them. Whether it was the right to a public education regardless of race, the right to marry the person you love regardless of skin color, or the right to attend state colleges and universities regardless of gender, Virginia has too often found itself on the wrong side of landmark civil rights cases. The injustice of Virginia's position in those cases will not be repeated this time. Today, the Commonwealth of Virginia got it right."
Great speech yesterday by Del. Eileen Filler-Corn, as the debate over marriage equality - and specifically whether or not Attorney General Mark Herring should defend the anti-gay-marriage amendment to the Virginia Constitution - rages on. Also note that Del. Filler-Corn spoke after Del. "Sideshow" Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), a rabid homophobe and co-author of Virginia's anti-gay-marriage amendment (also the exact opposite of the young, tolerant generation Del. Filler-Corn references), gave a speech about impeaching Attorney General Herring for his stance against bigotry in Virginia.
As you're probably aware, the far-right, theocratic, and otherwise cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs wing of the Virginia Republican Party is in full meltdown mode over Attorney General Mark Herring's gay marriage announcement the other day. Case in point: Ken Cuccinelli's Facebook page, and specifically the comments in reaction to his posting of the image to the far right (appropriately enough) of this post. Check out a few examples of the insanity below, not to mention the utter idiocy (e.g., English grammar totally optional and typos mandatory, such as spelling "liar" as "lier;" "riddled" as "riddeled;" "election" as "Ellection;" "Presidential" as "Presidental;" "break" as "brake;" etc.; etc.) and anti-LGBT hysteria. Craaaaaaaazy!
Allegations of Democrats Stealing the Election via "Voter Fraud," etc. *"i knew this was going to happen the moment i saw how the elections were riddeled with voter fraud. they wish to push their anti gun, pro abortion and pro gay agenda as quickly as possible."
*"I would not be surprised if these elections were rigged. Obama, was not elected with majority."
*"We MUST clean up VOTER FRAUD=NOW, BEFORE the Upcomeing Nov. 2014 Election's, & the 2016 Presidental Ellection!!! NOW!"
*"if we do not stand to liberals and their affinity to brake the law and cause voter fraud we will have a divided and destroyed United States."
*"Thank God Glenn Beck exposed the fraud between Libertarians and the Democrats."
*"DC has taken over our state and I think the election here in NOV. was all about FRAUD !!!!!"
Northern Virginia Needs to Go! *"Man, what a sad time for VA. It sickens me to see such a great state turning into one of the liberal petri dishes of the north. NOVA just needs to be given to DC."
*"If Fairfax would join DC and leave Virginia we would be a much different state ... large percent of people in N VA are imports and bring the NJ NY mindset with them ....."
*"Can the Commonwelth rid Themselves of Fairfax and Arlington counties then we would be Red Again need to start a remove Northern VA from the rest of VA."
*"Take Arlington and separate it from the rest of the state and give Arlington to DC. Problem solved."
For years, the Republican Party has been a weird alliance of wildly disparate groups you'd think would not be able to coexist. Yet somehow, the culture warrior/theocratic/"American Taliban" wing (Pat Robertson, Mike Huckabee, Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson, etc.) has managed for several decades now to share the same "tent" as the Wall Street/pro-business/corporate welfare/Chamber of Commerce wing (pre-2012 Mitt Romney, the Bush family, Bill Bolling, etc.), the "neoconservatives" (John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, etc.), the "libertarians" of various stripes (I'd argue that most Republicans, like Ron and Rand Paul, who claim to be "libertarian," actually are not really libertarian on social issues at all), and even the Tea Party (right-wing extremists and populists like Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Steve King, etc.). Of course, there's overlap between many of these factions (e.g., McCain is a "neoconservative" and also a pro-crony-capitalist Wall Street Republican, with occasional overtures to the extremist wing, such as his insane/desperate pick of Sarah Freakin' Palin as his running mate in 2008). Still, it's kind of amazing to me that this party has held together as well as it has, given the fundamental contradictions between its different components.
Well, here in Virginia, we may now be seeing a Republican schism, if not a splintering, over a key "social issue" - namely, gay marriage (and LGBT equality, more broadly). What brought this to the surface in recent days was Attorney General Mark Herring's announcement that Virginia would no longer defend the anti-gay-marriage ("Marshall-Newman") amendment in court. On the Democratic side, this announcement was greeted overwhelmingly with praise and celebration (with a few, predictable exceptions, like corrupt/homophobic "Democrat In Name Only" Del. Johnny Joannou) On the Republican side, though, the reaction has been all over the place, from foaming-at-the-mouth rage to pro-forma condemnation to "meh" to actual support for what Mark Herring did. A few examples.
1. Foaming-at-the-Mouth Rage: Predictably, raging homophobe and theocrat Del. "Sideshow Bob" Marshall went NUTS, talking about "a Pearl Harbor attack on the people of Virginia" and ranting that "the advocates for this are the gay, lesbian, BISEXUAL and transgendered...well the bisexuals have to have at least one of each to be satisfied." Marshall was joined by 30 fellow GOP delegates in condemning what Mark Herring said (although interestingly, there are 36 other GOP delegates who did NOT join "Sideshow Bob"). In addition, "Sideshow Bob" was joined by the even-more-extreme-if-that's-humanly-possible Sen. Dick Black, who ranted, "I don't know what the difference between a dictatorship and this is." Finally, Marshall and Black were joined by...let's just say, some of the more excitable, less moderate voices in the Virginia right-wing blogosphere, some of whom even raised the prospect of impeaching Mark Herring (LOL, as if THAT is going to happen!) and generally spoke in apocalyptic terms about the end of the rule of law, chaos, anarchy, and god knows what else (gays rampaging in the streets?). It would be amusing if it weren't so disturbing in its rabid, anti-LGBT bigotry.
A few classic quotes by crazy, extremist Delegate "Sideshow" Bob Marshall (R, of course) from his interview on the Kojo Nnamdi Show's Politics Hour a bit earlier today. Even by "Sideshow Bob" standards, this is crazy. I'm talking Dick Black/Eugene Delgaudio-level crazy. A few classic quotes by "Sideshow Bob," responding to questions about Attorney General Mark Herring's (correct) decision that the Marshall-Newman/anti-gay-marriage amendment violates the U.S. constitution:
*Should Moses and Jesus apologize to anybody for affirming that marriage is between one man and one woman?"
*"I mean, who's Mark Herring, Louis XIV...Why didn't he tell everybody when he was running for office what he was doing, no he kept this very cleverly to himself and sprung this like a Pearl Harbor attack on the people of Virginia after he takes an oath to defend the constitution."
*"Let me tell you what's going on: Republicans for years now have been wanting to duck all these social issues, and their refusal to face up to this....their refusal to frame the issue in terms that the people understand the common good - because marriage is most essentially beneficial to the common good..."
*"Who gave [Mark Herring] the ability to become prince, prophet, and wordmaster? Nobody. This is a total act on his own effort to take power to himself."
*[Yelling at Christina Bellantoni, sitting in for Kojo Nnamdi as host of the show] "OH GET OFF IT, DON'T TELL ME THAT [Marshall's anti-gay-marriage amendment has created hardship for same-sex couples in Virginia]...you can do anything you want, [but] you can't pretend you're married if it's two guys."
*"The advocates for this are the gay, lesbian, BISEXUAL and transgendered...well the bisexuals have to have at least one of each to be satisfied. Don't tell me this is not coming. This is to attack and undermine the most fundamental relationship between human beings that comes directly from the creator and ought to be protected by the laws of man."
Right wingers and homophobes (but I repeat myself) "outraged" over Attorney General's announcement that he will not defend Virginia's unconstitutional anti-gay-marriage amendment need to read this. Badly. Now. (great job by Josh Israel!)
And Herring’s description of his obligation is also absolutely correct. The oath of office for the Attorney General of Virginia - which Herring took earlier this month - includes a solemn vow first to "support the constitution of the United States" and second to support "the constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia." Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution makes clear that the federal constitution takes precedence over state constitutions - so when the two are in conflict, it is absolutely up to the Attorney General to make that decision. As the person duly elected to make that judgment, Herring, rather than an un-elected lobbyist or state legislators who choose to ignore the federal constitution’s supremacy, is exactly the person tasked by Virginia’s citizenry with determining which laws to defend.
Moreover, two recent Republican Attorneys General of Virginia — both Family Foundation favorites who had the support of HowellandMarshall — also made clear that they would not defend what they believed to be unconstitutional. In 2003, then-Attorney General Jerry Kilgore joined dozens of his counterparts from other states in signing a brief claiming that he was duty bound to challenge any statute he believed be unconstitutional. A year later, the Family Foundation’s Cobb donated to his gubernatorial campaign and she even served on one of his advisory boards.
Herring’s immediate predecessor, Ken Cuccinelli II, also refused to defend laws he deemed unconstitutional. Last year, one of his spokesmen noted, "If the attorney general's analysis shows that a law is unconstitutional, he has a legal obligation to not defend it." Indeed in 2009, Cuccinelli himself said in a debate, "I will not defend what I, in my judgment, deem to be an unconstitutional law." "If I determine it not to be constitutional," he explained then, "I will not defend it. My first obligation is to the Constitution and the people of Virginia." That pledge did not stop the Family Foundation and from frequentlyhostingCuccinelli at events, accepting his sponsorship, and cheer-leading for his political career.
Earlier this week SB248, the nondiscrimination for state employees bill, was killed in committee. If passed, SB248 would have prevented our state employees from being discriminated against based on a number of factors, including sexual orientation and gender identity.
It's devastating that our Republican colleagues in the Senate opposed a measure that would have permanently protected our state employees from discrimination. How can we make Virginia the best place in which to do business if we don't start with protecting our state employees?
The more things change, the more they stay the same...at least when it comes to Virginia Republicans and homophobia (or pandering to the homophobes in their grassroots ranks). #FAIL
HOUSE OF DELEGATES QUASHES GAY MARRIAGE BAN REPEAL WITHOUT HEARING
Richmond, Virginia – On Wednesday, January 9, 2014, Chairman Delegate Mark Cole announced that the Privileges and Elections Committee would not be hearing any constitutional amendments this session – instead waiting until next session.
“Virginia Republican’s refusal to even consider same-sex marriage is backwards and proving increasingly archaic,” said Delegate Surovell. “Marriage is about loving, committed couples who want to make a lifelong promise to take care of and be responsible for each other, in good times and bad.”
While Black said he's worked with Ebbin on other issues, he likened same-sex marriage to polygamy and incest.
"I don't think it can really be redefined," said Black about marriage. "I think you can enact legislation that there's marriage that's not based on a normal physical union of two people but you can have people who very much desire to marry a first cousin and government says you can't do that."
Speaking about exclusively supporting marriage between one man and one woman, he later added that "I don't have to justify my position because my position is justified by the entire scope of human history since the beginning of time."
Although Black opposes both same-sex marriage and polygamy, he cast polygamy in a more favorable light than homosexuality.
"When you talk about polygamy, at least it functions biologically. I think you can make a stronger argument for that and certainly there have already been initiatives for there to say that polygamist marriages should be authorized also."
Continuing on polygamy, Black said, "It's just more natural" than homosexuality.
"You actually have cultures over history that have permitted it," said Black. "You really don't have cultures that have permitted same-sex marriage. So this is an extension and I think it would be very difficult over the long run to deny polygamist marriages if you're saying love is the foundation" of same-sex marriages.
Raving homophobic bigot Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA's 4th district) strikes again, according to Politico:
Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes, a senior House Republican eyeing a powerful committee chairmanship, is causing friction with some of his colleagues by pushing the House GOP campaign arm to deny support for some of the party's gay congressional candidates.
Forbes has waged a lengthy crusade to convince his colleagues and the National Republican Congressional Committee brass they shouldn't back some gay candidates. His efforts on Capitol Hill were described to POLITICO by more than a half-dozen sources with direct knowledge of the talks.
It's not as if this is an isolated incident with Forbes. Remember, this is the same person who canceled an event with an anti-LGBT hate group (the "American Family Association") only under a great deal of pressure. Also note that the Human Rights Campaign gave Forbes a ZERO rating in 2011-2012 for his abysmal voting record on LGBT issues. He's also terrible on many other issues (e.g., zero ratings from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood), yet somehow he keeps getting reelected in a district won (narrowly) by Tim Kaine in 2012.
Why is that? In part, it's because the district was gerrymandered after the 2010 census to make it safer for Forbes. Of course, Virginia could have gone for nonpartisan or bipartisan redistricting, as Bob McDonnell promised in 2009, but instead "incumbent protection" ruled the day. And, sadly, even though Republicans get the lion's share of the blame, powerful Democrats signed off on this one. Which means that raving homophobe Randy Forbes is likely to remain in Congress in 2014 and beyond. Ugh.
Tomorrow, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) is raising cash for the anti-gay hate group the American Family Association. Today, the hate group's "leader" Bryan Fischer had this to say about Russian President Vladimir Putin and his violent, anti-gay crackdown. Sadly, this is typical for Fischer, who says bigoted, insane, extreme stuff every day. For more, see Right Wing Watch's YouTube channel. If you can stand it, that is.
Another day, yet another example of how far out of the mainstream Republican Attorney General nominee Mark "Criminalize Miscarriages" Obenshain is, even by the standards of hard-core conservatives. First, check this out:
On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Todd Hughes' nomination to be a judge on the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals on a 98-0 vote, making him the first out gay federal appellate judge in the nation's history.
Among those 98 Senators voting "yea" on the nomination of an openly gay judge were: Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, James Inhofe, Mitch McConnell, and assorted other ultra conservatives.
Now, contrast that with what happened when an openly gay judge was up for a confirmation vote in the Virginia State Senate. That's right, Mark Obenshain walked out of the Virginia Senate, rather than sully himself by voting on the nomination of a gay judge. In other words, when it comes to LGBT equality, Mark Obenshain is so far out of the mainstream that he wouldn't even do what Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, James Inhofe, and Mitch McConnell were capable of doing earlier today - voting on an openly gay judge's nomination, and even (gasp!) voting "yea!" It says a great deal, none of it good, about Mark Obenshain.
P.S. I almost forgot to mention that Obenshain voted in 2011 to allow discrimination against gay and lesbian employees in the Virginia state workforce. Also in 2011, Obenshain voted against letting state Virginia government workers share health benefits with their same-sex partners. It goes on and on like this, anti-LGBT vote after anti-LGBT vote by Mark Obenshain. Of course, he's on a ticket with two other raging homophobes, so what else would we expect?
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