Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NH State Senate votes to Allow Gay Marriage

By NORMA LOVE | Associated Press Writer
1:41 PM CDT, April 29, 2009
CONCORD, N.H. - The state Senate has voted to make New Hampshire the fifth state to allow gay marriage.

The 13-11 vote came after a 45 minute debate over an emotional issue that drew 500 people to the Statehouse for a hearing earlier this month.

The vote establishes a two-tier system with a civil marriage and a religious marriage license. The House now must consider the proposal, which is similar to one it rejected earlier this year.

Gov. John Lynch has said marriage is a word that should be reserved for the union of a man and a woman, but he has not said specifically that he would veto the bill.

Arlen Specter: the Real Lesson

Yesterday, Penn. Senator Arlen Specter annouced that he was switching from the Republican to the Democratic Party, and the political spin-doctors have been working overtime on what this means.

Michael Steele, Chair of the GOP, wrote in an email, "I hope Arlen Specter's party change outrages you. …He told us all to go jump in the lake today." He further referred to Specters "left-wing voting record" and alluded to Benedict Arnold.

Actually, the allusion to Benedict Arnold may be apt. Arnold was a patriot who fought for the colonies in a number of campaigns, and who switched sides only after coming to believe that the Colonies cause was doomed. In Specter's case, he has seen that the GOP has already lost. Or, to use McCain strategist Steven Schmidt's words, "The Republican Party is virtually extinct in the Northeast."

Specter was no liberal. He was a center-right moderate, who rarely received an extreme 0% or 100% voting record from any interest group. But those who do not toe the Theocratic Party line in the GOP are regularly rounded up as heretics, and Specter was simply going to be their latest victim.

Those who criticize him point to the fact that this was based on political expediency, since there has been a sfift of 200,000 voters from Republican to Democrat in Pennsylvania.

But apparently, they miss the point in revealing that very statistic.

One Republican who understands the current crisis in the GOP is Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, one of the last remaining Republican office-holders in New England. In today's New York Times, she writes,

"In my view, the political environment that has made it inhospitable for a moderate Republican in Pennsylvania is a microcosm of a deeper, more pervasive problem that places our party in jeopardy nationwide.

There is no plausible scenario under which Republicans can grow into a majority while shrinking our ideological confines and continuing to retract into a regional party. Ideological purity is not the ticket back to the promised land of governing majorities — indeed, it was when we began to emphasize social issues to the detriment of some of our basic tenets as a party that we encountered an electoral backlash.

It is for this reason that we should heed the words of President Ronald Reagan, who urged, “We should emphasize the things that unite us and make these the only ‘litmus test’ of what constitutes a Republican: our belief in restraining government spending, pro-growth policies, tax reduction, sound national defense, and maximum individual liberty.” He continued, “As to the other issues that draw on the deep springs of morality and emotion, let us decide that we can disagree among ourselves as Republicans and tolerate the disagreement.”

Oh, that the GOP in New Hampshire and Maine - and nationally - would listen to those words.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Open Letter to the New Hampshire GOP re: Gay Marriage.

My name is Thom Simmons, and I urgently want to address the imminent vote on gay marriage.

I am 49 years old and a lifelong Republican. I was raised in an ardently Republican household, and have served on multiple Republican committees in a number of states, including the Advance Team for the Reagan Presidential campaign in 1980. In addition, I have always been an active church member.

And yet, in spite of all that, I am one of those who have almost given up on our party as I see us pandering relentlessly to an extreme and shrinking(though vocal) Theocratic base. The hopelessness I feel about our party’s direction is one of the reasons we see New Hampshire lurching from “Red” to “Blue....” and why, in Steve Schmidt's words, "the Republican Party is virtually extinct in the Northeast."

I am also a gay man, and chair of the New Hampshire Bears, the largest gay men’s organization in New Hampshire. One little-known fact about our 200+ members is that of those I have personally met, the majority were once married, heterosexually, some for many years. (Myself, I was married to my wife for almost 23 years, and we have a number of adopted children)

How could a man “turn gay?’’ How could a man live all those years and decide he was “gay” after all that time?

Well, he doesn’t.

Instead, he is barraged from the time he is a child with the message that to be gay is to be abnormal, evil, sinful, wrong, weird, disgusting, and shameful. And so, many, many of us try beyond reason to be what we are not, to fit into a box that someone else built and shoe-horned us into. And after years of exhausting fights with ourselves, we finally accept who we are.

We heard the taunts in grade school, we heard the snide remarks in the locker room, we hear our ‘friends’ tell jokes at the expense of gays, and we see TV parody us as limp-wristed feather-boa-wearing caricatures.

And now, more than ever before, we see our own government telling us, “you’re equal, but not ‘the same.’ You can have water and drink from a fountain, but you can’t drink from our fountain, because you are just Different.” The same arguments that justified segregation when I was a child are now being used to suggest that “civil unions” are somehow “good enough.”
They are not.

They send a strong message that while we will be ‘tolerated’ because it is the politically correct thing to do, we will not be accepted as fellow Americans with equal rights to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

Please end the enforced inferiority. Gay men deal with many issues as they struggle with their sexuality, and to be set aside as “not good enough” or “not the same” by government is unacceptable. Mr. Sununu's comments about this bill being "garbage," and making snide references to San Francisco, is precisely the nasty politics that Democrats, Republicans, and Independents have all rejected here in the Granite State.

As a traditional Republican, I know that it is not the job of government to impose a culture, or a theology, or a ‘blueprint for life’ on its citizens. It is the job of government to preserve liberty and establish a level playing field.

New Hampshire has always been in vanguard of freedom and liberty. Please, I beg you, take a stand that puts what is right above what may be expedient.

Thank you
Thom Simmons
11 Richmond Rd
Fitzwilliam, NH 03447

Monday, April 20, 2009

Civil War in the Republican Party: Liberty vs Theocracy....Restoring the Party of Goldwater and Reagan

Finally, after the worst electoral drubbing in 34 years, the GOP is re-examining its strategy of pandering to Dixiecrats and Theocrats. Basic civil rights - and the right of people to live their own lives - is finally finding its voice within the Republican Party.

From Christine Todd Whitman, former GOP Governor of New Jersey:

"The government should have no say about marriage, and the plank in the Republican Party platform that calls for preserving marriage between a man and a woman should be scrapped...Furthermore, the U.S. military should not differentiate between homosexuals and heterosexuals...I am somebody who believes in the separation of church and state and that the government, frankly, ought to be out of the business of marriage entirely...I just think it would make the issue easier if it was civil marriage for everybody...[Bloggers note: apparently Whitman reads this blog]’s [same-sex marriage] not going to threaten my marriage. I mean my 35th anniversary is on Monday. It’s not going to threaten my marriage to have a gay couple married....We can't succeed nationally as a party that only has 31 percent of the American people behind it.”

And concerning the military: “I don't care if he is straight, I care if he can shoot straight.”

And, from Meghan McCain (John McCain's daughter):

"Tonight I am proud to join you in challenging the mold and the notion of what being a Republican means...I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people's lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends, and yes, I am a Republican....Most of the old school Republicans are scared shitless of that future...There are those who think we can win the White House and Congress back by being “more” conservative..."

Have YOU contacted YOUR State Senator yet?