UPDATE: 90 of 98 House GOP support bill against issuance of same sex marriage licenses

Capitol

This post has been updated throughout to reflect additional co-authors.

Ninety of the 98 members of the House GOP have signed onto a bill that would bar the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses, more than any other piece of legislation explicitly targeting the LGBT community.

A vote is scheduled today (Tuesday, May 12) for HB 4105, known as “The Preservation and Sovereignty of Marriage Act,” by Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia. It would preempt an anticipated summer Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality.

37 co-authors and a joint author have signed on since Monday, April 27. Recent coauthors include last minute hold outs Reps. Rodney Anderson of Irving, a co-author as of yesterday (Monday, May 11) and J.D. Sheffield of Gatesville, a co-author as of Friday, May 8. Additionally Reps. Giovanni Capriglione of Southlake, Byron Cook of Corsicana, Charlie Geren of Fort Worth and Brooks Landgraf of Odessa, who have earned the ire of arch-conservative groups, have signed onto the bill.

University of North Texas Associate Professor of Political Science Matthew Eshbaugh–Soha said legislators could have any number of reasons to sign onto the bill.

In general, “I suspect this was a deal, either pushed by the sponsors of the bill (please support this and I will support you later) or interest groups (who have found the time and resources to attract support),” he wrote via e-mail. “Knowing the facts behind which bills can help to tell which particular story is the right one.”

Of the eight remaining Republican legislators whose names are absent, there is no single ideological reason; they range from Tea Party Republicans to the more traditional business-friendly Republicans – the latter of whom are more likely to steer clear of discriminatory legislation.

For instance, Empower Texans and others back Rep. Craig Goldman of Fort Worth, while other legislators have earned their ire. They include Dallas County Reps. Jason Villalba and Linda Koop, both of Dallas, and Morgan Meyer of Highland Park. Other missing signatories include Reps. Sarah Davis of West University Place, Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi and John Smithee of Amarillo. The final Republican, House Speaker Joe Straus, neither authors nor sponsors legislation and also abstains from voting.

HB 3567 by Rep. Scott Sanford comes in a near second with 83 signatories, including three Democrats. That bill is also scheduled for a vote today. Reps. Goldman and Smithee are among its co-authors.

Its companion SB 2065 by Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, reasserts a clergy member’s right to refuse to perform a marriage that is against their religious beliefs.  It passed the Senate yesterday, on a 21-10 vote with Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, joining all Republicans. It is scheduled for a final procedural vote today.

—  James Russell

Everybody is running for the GOP presidential nomination

Operation_Upshot-Knothole_-_Badger_001Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced her presidential campaign for the 2016 GOP nomination this morning (Monday, April 4). Yesterday (Sunday, April 3) retired neurosurgeon and Obamacare critic Ben Carson also announced his campaign. Meanwhile former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee plans to announce his campaign tomorrow (Tuesday, April 5).

They join an already packed tent that includes three senators (Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio).

Huckabee is a perennial candidate for office who moonlights as a Fox News host when not mulling a presidential run; he’s the most likely to appeal to the socially conservative grassroots. Carson meanwhile has never run for office, giving him outsider appeal.

Carson and Huckabee regularly spew anti-LGBT venom; venom that likely packs their campaign coffers too.

Both have used colorful language to describe the LGBT community. Carson in 2013 was forced to withdraw as commencement speaker at John Hopkins University in Baltimore for comparing same-sex marriage to pedophilia.

Of course Huckabee’s choice words and metaphors are the most widely known. A Southern Baptist minister trained at Fort Worth’s Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he has repeatedly denounced same-sex marriage in particular, comparing it to alcoholism.

Along with fellow Republican presidential candidates Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, he appeared in a documentary claiming the push for marriage equality threatens traditional Christianity.

But Fiorina has approached LGBT issues more delicately in comparison. The former corporate executive was the 2010 Republican nominee for the Senate in California, running against pro-LGBT stalwart incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer. Though she largely dodged details in 2010, she stated her belief that marriage is an institution between a man and woman. But she also acknowledged the changing views on same-sex marriage at the time. She supported civil unions and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Despite the historic Republican wave, she still lost to Boxer by 10 points.

But don’t worry, more straight white men are expected to announce their GOP bids soon, including former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. So start popping the popcorn folks, this election season’s gonna be fun.

—  James Russell

Rick Perry to New Hampshire audience: Keep on farmin’ in the free world

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Freedom fighter and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Do you remember the good old days? When government didn’t get in the way of good ol’ Texas wheat farmers selling their product to Soviet Russia? Before the era of big government was over — unless you were in the banking industry? Before that closeted Communist President Jimmy Carter lead a boycott against the 1980 Moscow Olympics over its invasion of Afghanistan?

No?

The half-dozen young people listening to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry talk yesterday (Thursday, April 16) in rural New Hampshire probably don’t either.

Thankfully for Perry, who is mulling his second presidential bid, most of the attendees at his “youth summit” were geriatric.

At Milford High School, Perry said that former President Jimmy Carter’s boycott of the 1980 Olympics was devastating for business if you were a wheat farmer, like Perry was – and for the kids.

“Remember 1979?” Mr. Perry asked the audience. “Remember where we were in 1979? No. 1, we were at 20 percent interest rates. Our kids were boycotted from going to the Olympics. President Carter made that decision. He didn’t let our wheat to be sold to Russia. I know. I was a wheat farmer.”

But Carter just didn’t kill business. As an advocate for youth around the world, Perry said he’s mad because the 1980 boycott killed so many young athletes’ dreams.

“These are kids who in some cases had spent their entire lives working to go represent America,” he said. “To use them as a tool, I think was in particular bad judgment, and I don’t think it had a bit of influence.”

After addressing the Most Pressing Issue of the Day, Perry bounced back from his 2012 campaign blunder. This time he remembered all three of the government projects he’d abolish: Common Core, No Child Left Behind and, of course, Obama’s ruthless reign of healthcare terror.

Since Texas can’t secede from America, he told the crowd, let’s make America become Texas. Perry touted his economic record in the state, dubbed the “Texas [$7.25 an hour] Miracle.” Watch me make the Texas Miracle into the American Miracle, he declared. Under President Perry, you too will be able to sell your wheat and take your ice skates to Russia.

Evoking a song by that other famous Canadian (the one not running for president), President Perry basically told the crowd: under me, you’ll be farmin’ in the free world.

—  James Russell

Gotcha: Cruz and Santorum asked if they would attend a gay wedding

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

A radio host caught two Republican 2016 presidential hopefuls off guard yesterday (Thursday, April 17) when he asked if either would attend a same-sex wedding, according to Politico.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, a conservative Republican, told host Hugh Hewitt he would not. While Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who announced his presidential campaign this month, dodged the question altogether.

“That would be something that would be a violation of my faith,” Santorum said.

“I haven’t faced that circumstance. I have not had a loved one go to a, have a gay wedding,” Cruz responded.

The question came after Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who announced his presidential campaign on Monday, April 13, told a television host he would attend a same-sex wedding. Rubio opposes same-sex marriage.

“If there’s somebody that I love that’s in my life, I don’t necessarily have to agree with their decisions or the decisions they’ve made to continue to love them and participate in important events,” Rubio told Fusion’s Jorge Ramos on Wednesday, April 15.

Rubio said that as a devout Roman Catholic, said he would also attend a friend’s second wedding after a divorce, even though he said his faith looks down on divorce.

—  James Russell

Powerful GOP Rep. Byron Cook supports supplemental birth certificate bill

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State Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook, R-Corsicana.

State Affairs Chairman and Republican Representative Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, voiced his explicit support today (Wednesday, April 15) for legislation that would allow same-sex couples and legal guardians of a child to receive a supplementary birth certificate reflecting both of their names.

Cook’s announcement came following Dallas Democrat Rep. Rafael Anchia’s moving speech in support of the bill, HB 537.

“I want everyone to know I support [the bill] too,” Cook said after asking for Anchia’s comments to be included in the House’s written record.

The move was a milestone for the bill that has languished in the House for the past three sessions. Cook chairs the powerful State Affairs committee, which recently heard comments for and against the bill. He is also a close ally of House Speaker Joe Straus.

Cook expressed skepticism to opponents of the bill during a March 18 State Affairs committee hearing, telling one opponent he “struggled” with her opposition to the measure, according to the Texas Tribune.

“That’s a terrible indictment on one group to be real honest with you,” Cook told conservative legislative analyst Julie Drenner with the group Texas Values during the hearing.

You can watch Anchia’s moving speech and Cook’s statement below.

—  James Russell

Ted Cruz’s Presidential Campaign’s No Good, Very Bad First Day

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Sen. Ted Cruz, R-A Cave.

I wrote earlier today how, after his presidential campaign announcement, Sen. Cruz failed to buy TedCruz.com and TedCruzforAmerica.com. Though he snatched up TedCruz.org, the guy’s team can’t even get the donor link together.

According to The Hill, the donor link did “not offer encryption for online transactions, the level of security illustrated by a padlock next to the URL on most common browsers.” Meaning someone could steal your credit card number.

Which is funny since, after that was resolved, the security certificate revealed the alternative site domain was “Nigerian-prince.com.” That site parodies those spam e-mails you get from long lost “beloved relatives” who want to give you a billion dollars in exchange for your Social Security number.

Birds of a feather stick together, y’all.

As if it didn’t get any worse, the Liberty University crooners surrounding him were so *not* into it. Though Liberty, an evangelical Christian university, attracts a certain type, that doesn’t mean they fit neatly into Cruz’s 1984-esque wet dream of an America where everyone received the Most Likely to be Ted Cruz honor in their yearbook. (Qualifications: Beating Commies with Bibles.)

Yeah even some of those freethinking Communists dissed the dude.

Look I know running for president is pretty much the epitome of #YOLO but Christ almighty, Ted Cruz, get your shit together.

 

—  James Russell

UPDATED: Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign’s first big blunder

Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is a former solicitor general who helped shut down the government.

This post has been reflected to update just how much Sen Ted Cruz’s web presence sucks.

Dude. Y’all. The guy is a sitting senator running for president who let Tedcruz.com slip between his fingers. It’s his damned name! What the hell is wrong with this guy?!?!?

Original post:

You know, if you’ve had your eyes on the presidency since your first Senate election, you should probably, you know, prepare in advance. Not only do you need staffers, fundraisers, dark money PACs and unpaid interns, you also need an adept web presence. (see: President Barack Obama)

Which brings me to Sen. Ted Cruz, who launched his presidential campaign this morning. The firebrand freshman senator forgot to buy Tedcruzforamerica.com. So instead of a beaming Cruz-as-superman welcoming the Chosen Ones to his campaign bunker, you are redirected to…Healthcare.gov, a portal for President Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.

And Cruz’s nemesis.

Maybe you remember Cruz and others forced a 16 day government shutdown in 2013 by refusing to vote for a budget bill that didn’t repeal the entire ACA. After Congress passed a clean budget bill, Cruz and his right-wing allies were slammed for their actions. Backbenchers, fringe types, they were called.

Naturally those are fightin’ words. And Cruz, the humble junior senator from Texas, is all ready to fight regardless who criticizes him.

Because when does criticism ever stop Cruz?

Never.

Duh.

—  James Russell

California GOP recognizing Log Cabin

The California Republican Party voted Sunday (March 1) overwhelmingly to charter Log Cabin Republicans of California as an official affiliate of the state GOP.Screen shot 2015-03-03 at 10.13.35 AM

The vote was 861-293.

John Musella, whose term as chair of LCR-California began the same day the state GOP voted to recognize the group, said the vote “sends a strong signal that the Republicans’ ‘big tent’ has room for everyone.”

The Texas GOP, however, must have its own tent, and that tent still has a “No Gays Allowed” sign hanging on the door.

The Texas GOP just last year refused to allow Log Cabin Republicans and a second LGBT Republican group, Metroplex Republicans, to have booths at the state convention. It was at that same convention that the Texas Republican Party adopted a platform that called for “reparative therapy” for LGBTs — a discredited practice of trying to convert gays to straights.

And Republicans nation-wide seem to be more in line with Texas Republicans than with California Republicans. The GOP is still fighting desperately against the apparently inevitability of marriage equality, and the Conservative Political Action Committee — CPAC — refused to let the national Log Cabin group sign on as a sponsor of the annual CPAC conference.

Even in California, there are plenty of Republicans who disagree with recognizing Log Cabin, and the state party platform itself says homosexuality is unacceptable: “We believe public policy and education should not be exploited to present or teach homosexuality as an acceptable ‘alternative’ lifestyle. We oppose same-sex partner benefits, child custody, and adoption.”

The state party also has a bylaw that prohibits recognition of organizations focused on “lifestyle preferences.”

—  Tammye Nash

LCR-Texas holding Lobby Day on Thursday

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LCR-Texas Chair Jeff Davis

Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT Republican organization, will be hold its LCR-Texas Lobby Day on Thursday, Feb. 12, and LCR leaders are encouraging LGBT Republicans and their GOP allies to register for and participant in the event.

Issues LCR wants to address with Texas lawmakers include low taxes, the Second Amendment, the right to privacy, protecting children and parental rights and promoting the Texas economy, according to Jeff Davis, LCR-Texas chairman.

LCR-Texas Lobby Day begins with check-in at the Capitol Rotunda at 8:30 a.m. (with breakfast provided). Introductions and instructions are set for 9 a.m., followed at 9:30 a.m. by meetings with lawmakers.

Lunch will be provided at noon, and the afternoon — from 12:30-4 p.m., will be filled with more meetings with legislators.

Lobby Day closes at 5 p.m., and the day winds up with a happy hour at Rain, 217 W. 4th St., beginning at 6 p.m.

RSVP here so that organizers can have a more accurate count of those attending, which will help with coordinating and planning, Davis said.

For more information about LCR-Texas and its legislative agenda, go here.

—  Tammye Nash

Same-sex couple buys JebBushforPresident.com

As I wrote yesterday, the 2016 GOP presidential primary is in full swing.

Candidates are rallying the base, forming political action committees and laying their ground game.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has done all of that. But somehow Bush forgot to purchase JebBushforpresident.com.

One’s man mistake is another man’s opportunity. Or, in this case, a gay couple’s opportunity. According to to Business Insider, CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater work in the tech industry and live in Portland, Ore. The tech bears told B.I. they bought the domain in 2008.

Here’s the text (click on the image to see a larger version if you are having trouble reading it):

Bears Jeb Bush

I’ve sent an email to the couple. I’ll update this post later today if I hear from them.

—  James Russell