Republican party in California vote to endorse gay group is momentous but incremental and US attorney general Eric Holder: Taking the side of equality

By Junior Mayema,

I am so happy that the republican party is now joining the majority of americans in support of LGBT rights, this is 2015 and  some people are gays and deserve the right to happiness that includes, the right to be able to get married, i hope and pray that this matter will be settled once and for all when the USA Supreme Court give its last word in June on this particular human rights challenge of our time and here is the good news below :

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A vote to recognize the Log Cabin Republicans this weekend by the California GOP was a sea change for the acceptance of gays in the party and a win for moderates.

Delegates voted 861-293 to charter the 240-member California Log Cabin Republicans — a move that gave official party designation to the group that supports gay rights and sent a signal about the direction of the party that has struggled for a unified vision.

“Every time someone says the Republican Party is anti-gay, or they don’t want you there, this shows that they do want you there, and we’ve gone as far as saying we officially recognize you and deputize you to go out and bring people into this party,” said Charles Moran, the group’s outgoing chairman.

Moran worked for the past two years with the group’s 10 California chapters to align its rules with the state party. He and others argued that the group’s mission is to promote the party and its candidates to an often-skeptical public, particularly younger voters, and not about promoting LGBT legislation or values.

Log Cabin Republicans have been a visible presence for several years at the party’s twice yearly conventions, holding a popular Log Cabin Luau party with rainbow leis and free cocktails.

Yet even after Sunday’s vote, the party’s official platform states its opposition to promoting “alternative lifestyles,” and the party remains opposed to gay marriage and same-sex partner benefits, child custody and adoption.


A much bigger fight over the platform could be on tap when the party meets again in September.

The California Republican Party is the first state party to officially recognize a statewide Log Cabin group, although the Florida GOP first recognized its Broward County chapter in the 1980s, said Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of the national Log Cabin Republicans.

“From a poetic standpoint, this is a tremendous milestone,” Angelo said.

He noted that some state parties, such as New York, do not give official recognition to any groups but have long supported gay members.

Those who opposed recognition of the Log Cabin group argued that the party’s bylaws prohibit endorsing groups that promote “special agendas” or advocate for “certain lifestyle preferences.”

Assemblywoman Shannon Grove of Bakersfield cited those points in an exchange Saturday with the group’s incoming chairman, John Musella. Grove said the party has welcomed gay members but she couldn’t support the charter.

“Unless there was a commitment to celebrate the pro-family platform from the Log Cabins, there’s no way I could support it,” Grove told Musella in front of several reporters. “This is a pro-family organization and I think the bylaws speak clearly about that.”

Musella later sent a tweet to Grove inviting her to dinner at his home with his husband “to chat family values.”

State Sen. Mike Morrell of Rancho Cucamonga invoked President Ronald Reagan’s 1976 admonition to Republicans not to compromise “on political principles for political expediency” in urging fellow delegates against recognizing the group.

Moran said the group was formed in 1977 to back Reagan in his opposition to the Briggs Initiative, a 1978 California ballot measure that would have banned gay people from teaching in public schools. Reagan wrote an op-ed against the measure and was blamed by supporters for its defeat.

Others were still miffed that the group did not endorse President George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election.

“Symbolically it represents a real change and a recognition by the Republican Party, particularly the California Republican Party, of changing attitudes on gay marriage and gay and lesbian issues,” said Benjamin Bishin, a political science professor at the University of California-Riverside who studies minority groups in politics. “It seems that in recent years social conservatives have been winning out and I think that’s what makes this so significant.”

Californians have had a dramatic change of heart on gay rights issues in the last 15 years.

Just 39 percent favored same-sex marriage in a 2009 poll by the Public Policy Institute of California. In September 2013, 61 percent of Californians favored gay marriage, while 53 percent of Republicans were opposed.
The vote for inclusion may soften the Republican brand in California, but the party still has a long way to go in gaining a broader foothold with the electorate. Its registration has fallen to 28 percent, and many at the weekend convention were more focused on the dearth of viable candidates for competitive races such as next year’s U.S. Senate contest.

And here is another great news below :

Nothing justifies excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage.

Over the next several months, the Supreme Court will decide whether state restrictions on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. As the court considers that momentous question, the Department of Justice will make clear that our answer is an unequivocal “yes.”

This week, the Justice Department will file a briefsetting forth our position that state bans on same-sex marriage violate the fundamental constitutional guarantee of “equal protection of the laws.” It is clear that the time has come to recognize that gay and lesbian people deserve robust protection from discrimination.

Nothing justifies excluding same-sex couples from the institution of marriage. Denying them the right to marry serves only to demean them and their children, to degrade the dignity of their families and to deny them the full, free and equal participation in American life to which every citizen is entitled.

Marriage bans inflict concrete harms that touch nearly every aspect of daily life for gay and lesbian couples. The bans intersect with issues as varied as workers’ compensation, taxation and inheritance, posing challenges to basic financial security. Same-sex couples living in states with bans too often face obstacles to adopting and raising children together. And restrictions on medical decision-making and hospital visitation impose devastating burdens during the moments when a partner is needed most.

The mental and emotional injuries are just as acute. A marriage ban written into state law broadcasts the state’s view that same-sex couples and their children are second-class families, undeserving of the rights and protections offered to opposite-sex couples. It creates a stigma that pervades society, encouraging individuals to harass or belittle even their loved ones because of pressures brought by their community. And it harms relationships between family members by perpetuating a destructive notion that some individuals — and some children — should be shown less love and support simply because of who they are. That is a view the Department of Justice flatly rejects. And with our brief, we will make clear that the United States stands firmly on the side of equality.

Marriage equality is an idea whose time has come. When I took office as attorney general in February 2009, only two states, Massachusetts and Connecticut, allowed same-sex couples to marry. But a seismic shift over the last six years has pushed that tally to 37, leaving fewer states with same-sex marriage bans in force today than there were with interracial marriage bans in 1967 when the Supreme Court deemed them unconstitutional.

I am proud to have had the opportunity not only to watch this great national pivot, but to take part in it. In 2011, I recommended to President Obama that the Department of Justice no longer defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which excluded gay and lesbian couples from federal marriage benefits. In my view, DOMA was indefensible, and the Supreme Court vindicated that position in a landmark decision in 2013. I will always be proud of the role that the Justice Department played in achieving and implementing that victory, which has driven a surge of court decisions securing marriage rights in states from coast to coast.

Our nation’s founders set this country on a course of continual improvement toward a more perfect union — a spirit that echoes in our present-day promise to struggling gay and lesbian youth that “it gets better.” America, by design, gets better, and we have been fortunate over the last few years to witness once-unimaginable progress with respect to gay rights. But we’re not done yet. And in the coming months, this administration — and this Department of Justice — will continue to stand with all LGBT Americans, to hold fast to our principles, and to bring about the change our citizens deserve.

Eric H. Holder Jr. is the attorney general of the United States.




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