NOM’s Brian Brown Hates (The Particular Way) That DoJ Is Defending DOMA

The DOJ brief amounts to collusive litigation, failing to even offer to the court, much less vigorously defend, the reasons Congress laid out in the statute when it passed DOMA—especially responsible procreation. This is an attack not only on marriage, but on the prerogatives of Congress. The Executive branch should not attempt to exercise this kind of retroactive line-item veto over a bill passed by Congress.

—Brian Brown, the adorable Smiling Bigot of the National Organization for Marriage, happens to be just as furious with the Obama administration defending DOMA as you. But for very different reasons: While you hate seeing the White House's attorneys continue to find reasons to say the law is constitutional, Brown thinks DoJ is throwing the case. Now you go! [via]


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Chris Brown: I Love My Gay Fans

CHRIS BROWN RAZ B X390Chris Brown, accused of homophobia in a Twitter feud with a fellow rapper, says his remarks
were directed only at Raz-B.
Advocate.com: Daily News

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Massachusetts Veterans Call on Senator Scott Brown to End DADT

Wow.  I just returned from a great press event hosted by HRC and MassEquality at which three Massachusetts veterans told stories about their service under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and called upon Senator Scott Brown to fulfill his commitment to vote for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before senators leave for the holidays.

Travis Hengen was discharged from the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 2 under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” ending a nearly 12-year career as an interrogator and counterintelligence agent.  Over the span of his career, Travis grew increasingly frustrated with listening to fellow soldiers discuss their private lives, all the while being forced to keep his own life a total secret. In June 2002, Travis decided to no longer hide his sexual orientation and came out to his commander, triggering a discharge process that lasted for seven months.  Despite the humiliation of being investigated, Travis never regretted his decision to serve or to be honest about himself.  Since his discharge, Travis has graduated from San Diego State University with distinction with a B.A. in International Security and Conflict Resolution.  Travis currently lives with his husband in Boston where he is completing a M.S. degree in Healthcare Emergency Management at Boston University School of Medicine.

Michael Young is a straight supporter of repeal and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served from 2004 through 2007 with 3rd FAST  Company, Security Force Battalion on missions in the U.S. and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  FAST (Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team) is a unique unit responsible for guarding government and military targets around the globe whenever they are threatened.

John Affuso enlisted in the Army in 1986 and completed infantry basic training at Fort Benning.  After receiving his commission through the Army ROTC program at Rutgers University, he became a Signal Platoon Leader in the 50th Armored Division of the New Jersey Army National Guard.  John is an Honor Graduate of the US Army Signal Officer Basic Course at Fort Gordon.  After choosing to not re-enlist, in large part due to DADT, he was honorably discharged from the US Army Reserve in the mid 1990’s, having attained the rank of first lieutenant. Like Senator Brown, John is a graduate of Boston College Law School.

When I returned to the office after this event, I was thrilled to see the ABC News report that Senator Brown will support the stand-alone DADT repeal bill.

“Sen. Brown accepts the Pentagon’s recommendation to repeal the policy after proper preparations have been completed. If and when a clean repeal bill comes up for a vote, he will support it,” said Brown spokesperson Gail Gitcho.

Having been in Massachusetts several times this year working with HRC and MassEquality organizers, it’s extremely gratifying to see Senator Brown’s most recent statement.  With just days left in the current session of Congress, the time is now to repeal DADT.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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Scott Brown supports DADT repeal, and it’s not a question of ‘time’

From ABC’s The Note:

Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown today voiced his support for a stand-alone repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, bringing the bill one vote over the 60-vote threshold that it will need to reach if and when the Senate votes on the measure in the coming weeks.

“Sen. Brown accepts the Pentagon’s recommendation to repeal the policy after proper preparations have been completed. If and when a clean repeal bill comes up for a vote, he will support it,” said Brown spokesperson Gail Gitcho.

Brown’s backing means that – on paper – supporters of the repeal have 61 senators in favor of the bill. On Wednesday Republicans Olympia Snowe of Maine and Lisa Murkowski both announced their support for the stand-alone repeal. The House passed the clean repeal on Wednesday and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has vowed to bring it to a vote in the Senate before the end of the year.

However, Reid has warned that bringing the bill to a vote in the Senate is not an issue of support, but rather of time.

Wrong. The Senate didn’t hold any votes at all from last Friday until Monday afternoon – how busy can you be to take a 3 day weekend off? The Senate can stay in until January 3. No more bull about time being the enemy. I don’t even want to think of what will happen if we end up having the votes to pass the bill and it gets scuttled because some Democrat claims we just didn’t have time. Make time.




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MassResistance angry with Scott Brown; Scott Brown’s clearly done something right

At an earlier, Coakley-ier time, Brian Camenker from the Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group MassResistance was all kinds of into Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA):

6A00D8341C503453Ef0120A8D24D02970B

( click to play audio clip)

But now — oh, but now. Well here, let’s let Brian MassResistance tell you what went down:

On Wednesday afternoon Brian Camenker of MassResistance spoke at length with Brandon Acheson, a staffer in Brown’s Washington, DC office who has been explaining Brown’s position on this issue to constituents since the announcement. It was very disappointing, to say the least. It appears that Brown has become just another disingenuous, disconnected Washington politician.

Here’s some of what Brandon told us:

Brown’s statement in the MFI voter guide. Brandon indicated he didn’t know who MFI was and that Brown never authorized any statement about his position — that it must have been a miscommunication. “Sen. Brown never made a firm commitment that he would vote against it,” Brandon told us. However, MFI’s president, Kris Mineau, told that Boston Herald, “When Sen. Brown ran for election, he said he would support the current policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ In fact, MFI worked closely with Brown and hosted several events for him in this campaign. They even hold a birthday party for him each year (even though he’s pro-choice).

Interestingly, in that same article the Herald also reported that: “Brown’s spokeswoman, Gail Gitcho, said Brown changed his tune after President Obama ordered the Pentagon to review the policy. At that point, Brown said he would keep an open mind to its finding, which came out this week.”

Sleazy lame-duck session. We asked Brandon why Brown doesn’t support waiting a few weeks and letting the newly elected Congress decide this — that using a lame-duck session was offensive to people. He avoided answering the question directly, but indicated that Brown had no problem with a lame-duck session passing controversial bills. But he’s insisting that two things get passed first: (1) full extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, and (2) a bill to continue funding the federal budget. Both of those appear to be in the works as part of the horse-trading going on to get this bill passed.

Repealing the current law makes bold statement. Repealing the current law (see text above) makes the statement that homosexuality is compatible with US military service. Does Brown agree with that? Brandon wouldn’t answer that. Instead, he said that Brown has been in the military for 31 years and is comfortable with his position. (Would he be comfortable showering next to someone sizing him up? Well, we didn’t ask that.)

41st vote against Obama agenda? We reminded him that Brown ran as “number 41″ and his base back home read that as their protection against the Obama agenda being pushed on them. But now Brown seems to be doing just the opposite. Brandon wouldn’t comment on that, either. He seemed to indicate that Brown was not concerned about opposition from conservatives back home, or the concept that they were his “base” of support.

Needless to say, the entire conversation was depressing and angering.

Scott Brown announces full support for repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” [MassResistance]

Depressing and angering — or promising and in tune with the 2 out of 3 Americans who support military fairness? We’ll let you, Scott Brown, and the Bay State voters who prefer political advice from people not monitored by the SPLC make that determination.




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Republican Cosmo Model Scott Brown Will Vote To Repeal DADT

Military vet and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown says he's down with repealing the law that keeps gay soldiers from pinning up his magazine spread.


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Sen Scott Brown, R-MA, Supports DADT repeal

Confirming information tweeted by John King of CNN, Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachuttes has released a statement from his website:
Dec 03 2010

Scott Brown Statement On Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) today issued the following statement on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy:

“I have been in the military for 31 years and counting, and have served as a subordinate and as an officer. As a legislator, I have spent a significant amount of time on military issues. During my time of service, I have visited our injured troops at Walter Reed and have attended funerals of our fallen heroes. When a soldier answers the call to serve, and risks life or limb, it has never mattered to me whether they are gay or straight. My only concern has been whether their service and sacrifice is with pride and honor.

“I pledged to keep an open mind about the present policy on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Having reviewed the Pentagon report, having spoken to active and retired military service members, and having discussed the matter privately with Defense Secretary Gates and others, I accept the findings of the report and support repeal based on the Secretary’s recommendations that repeal will be implemented only when the battle effectiveness of the forces is assured and proper preparations have been completed.”

Apparently an announcement was expected, from Salon, Is Scott Brown Boxed In on DADT?

According to his office, Brown will announce his position after committee’s hearings wrap up today, but it seems clear which way he’s leaning. If he does opt to support repeal, it won’t by itself change much. With Mark Kirk’s swearing-in last week, Republicans now have 42 seats in the Senate, so Democrats need two GOP votes to break any filibuster (at least for the next few weeks). But if Brown is willing to buck his party, it could be a sign that the chamber’s few other moderate Republicans — essentially, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and maybe Richard Lugar and the retiring George Voinovich — are willing to cross over, too.

Granted, it isn’t a commitment to defy the GOP filibuster. But, it is very good news, moving the conversation in the right direction and I’ve never felt more optimistic.

Update:
Here’s an excerpt from MassEquality’s press release. MassEquality was heavily involved in lobbying Sen. brown. Emphasis added.

“While we are happy that Sen. Brown has said that he will support repeal of the law, our work is not over. Sen. Brown’s support to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will mean little if he is not one of the 60 senators needed to prevent a Republican filibuster preventing a vote on the Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”


Update from Lurleen: And check out this video from ThinkProgress. Sen Udall today asked each admiral down the line whether they could implement the changes if charged to do so. “Yes”, “yes”, “yes”…

Seventeen years ago when open service was last debated in the Senate a similar panel was asked the wrong question, whether homosexuality was compatible or incompatible with military service. We all know the answer. Times have changed, have they not?
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GOP Senator Scott Brown will support DADT repeal

This is great news, and it helps shift momentum our way. Specifically, it puts more pressure on other GOP moderates like Snowe and Collins, and also on Dem conservatives. What remains to be seen is whether Brown supports cloture on the defense bill itself (there are various cloture votes). He could support cloture on DADT but not support it on the bill, thus taking DADT down anyway. So more details need to come out. But still, this is good news.

“I have been in the military for 31 years and counting, and have served as a subordinate and as an officer. As a legislator, I have spent a significant amount of time on military issues. During my time of service, I have visited our injured troops at Walter Reed and have attended funerals of our fallen heroes. When a soldier answers the call to serve, and risks life or limb, it has never mattered to me whether they are gay or straight. My only concern has been whether their service and sacrifice is with pride and honor.

“I pledged to keep an open mind about the present policy on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Having reviewed the Pentagon report, having spoken to active and retired military service members, and having discussed the matter privately with Defense Secretary Gates and others, I accept the findings of the report and support repeal based on the Secretary’s recommendations that repeal will be implemented only when the battle effectiveness of the forces is assured and proper preparations have been completed.”




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Kamala Harris Likely to Replace Jerry Brown as California’s AG

Here in California, we have been waiting since election day to find out who will replace Jerry Brown as our next attorney general. The race has been a nail-biter, with the lead see-sawing between pro-marriage equality Democrat Kamala Harris and Republican Steve Cooley. Provisional and vote-by-mail ballots are still being counted, however it looks like Kamala Harris has definitively pulled ahead. I have been following the race via the facebook page of Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti, who has been providing a fascinating and detailed analysis of the vote-counting. Garcetti finally called the election for Harris yesterday.

The race has some implications for the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case. Readers will recall that current AG Jerry Brown and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to appeal Judge Walker’s ruling in favor of marriage equality on behalf of the state of California, which means there is now an issue as to whether anyone has standing to appeal. As Constitutional Law scholar David Cruz explained in a post for our blog, if no one has standing to appeal, the case will end with Judge Walker’s ruling intact and marriage equality restored to California. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal is set to hold its hearing on the standing issue on December 6, 2010. (C-SPAN will broadcast it.)

Whereas Harris promised during the campaign not to defend prop 8, Cooley said he would. Although the consensus among my lawyer friends and me is that it is too late for a new AG to appeal Judge Walker’s ruling, I nevertheless think a Cooley victory would have the potential to create some mischief. On the one hand, if the Ninth Circuit were to deny standing to the proponents of prop 8 while Cooley were AG, the pro-prop 8 crowd could make political hay out of his inability to intervene. On the other hand, if the Ninth Circuit were to grant standing and allow the case to continue, Cooley could write an amicus brief that could have some sway with the court.

The bottom line is that it is good news that Harris is poised for victory. If she wins, this entire issue will be moot. California will have elected by popular vote an AG who publicly took the position that she would not defend prop 8. The anti-marriage equality crowd will not be able to argue that California’s failure to appeal was due to an accident of timing. Go Kamala!




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Students Call on Senator Brown for DADT Repeal

I am so excited to be on the ground in Massachusetts right now, putting everything that I have into making sure that the Senate hears our voice when it comes to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Already I have been hard at work, this time with student at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. It goes without saying that college students are more familiar with email and twitter than faxes and letters.  However, I recently joined students here who got together to hand-write letters to Senator Scott Brown urging him to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

One student had this to say:

“Senator Brown,

As a student at Brandeis University, an institution founded upon and permeated by social justice, I urge you to vote to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.  I recognize the many valuable and indispensable members of the Armed Forces are gay, lesbian and bisexual.  Forcing these service people to conceal a significant facet of their identity for fear of their job security is unfair and negates the ideals of justice supported by my university and my country.  The majority of your constituents share my opinion, and I sincerely hope that you will honor them and the military personnel who have been affected by this law.”

This is just the first of several upcoming events here in Massachusetts to help mobilize local advocates to push the Senate to repeal this outdated law. This coming Tuesday, students and veterans will be discussing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at Wheaton College. One of these veterans will be Travis Hengen, who met with Senator Brown’s office earlier this year to urge him to support repeal.

I hope that you will consider joining us for this event. Keep visiting HRC Back Story in the coming weeks to hear about all of my work here on the ground.

What: Discussion with veterans on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
Where:
Wheaton College
26 East Main Street
Norton, MA 02766
Mary Lyon Hall
When:
Tuesday, November 16th at 7 pm


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

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