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Associated Press: “The Colorado Democrat has been a vocal backer of gay rights but generally stopped short of formally endorsing same-sex marriage. However, on Monday he provided a statement in support of a gay rights group that kicked off a campaign to bring gay marriage to Colorado.”
Reuters: “Republicans from Western states are expected on Tuesday to urge a U.S. appeals court to rule state bans on gay marriage unconstitutional, an aide said, citing shifts in the cultural standpoints of some conservatives in a broad national debate.”
Bryan T. McGraw at The Federalist: “Implicit in many of the strong denunciations of the Arizona bill (and other similarly structured efforts) is the belief in compossibility: if you think that it is morally impermissible for people to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, it won’t really matter that laws that follow this sort of moral claim will tread on religious liberty rights. Our rights here are of a piece and if we think we perceive a conflict among them, we are in fact mistaken and should adjust our perceptions forthwith.”
AP: “New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who plans to skip the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade because participants are banned from carrying signs or banners identifying themselves as gay, joined the gay-friendly St. Pat’s For All Parade Sunday, saying it honors the traditions of the city by celebrating inclusion.”
New York Times: “The quiet revolt signals a broader shift in the world of big money. Clubs of elite donors in both parties are taking a more central role in shaping policy and campaigns . . . ‘The devolution of the two-party system has begun,’ Mr. Stein said.”
New York Times: “The decision by members of the Republican establishment to join gay activists in opposing the bill reflected the alarm the Arizona battle stirred among party leaders, who worried about identifying their party with polarizing social issues at a time when Republicans see the prospect of big gains in Congressional elections on economic issues.”
Peggy Noonan at The Wall Street Journal: “The constant mischief of the progressive left is hurting the nation’s morale. There are few areas of national life left in which they are not busy, and few in which they’re not making it worse. There are always more regulations, fees and fiats, always more cultural pressure and insistence.”
Washington Examiner: “‘Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other improper standard,’ NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told USA Today. ‘We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time.’”
Betsy Woodruff at National Review: “With the exception of Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.), Senate Republicans who spoke with NRO today were hesitant to comment on Arizona’s controversial bill that critics say legalizes discrimination against gay people. Jeff Flake and John McCain, the state’s U.S. senators, have both called on Governor Jan Brewer to veto the legislation. And today, Ayotte told NRO that she supports their call.”
Politico: “The Conservative Political Action Conference has rescinded its permission for American Atheists, a nonprofit that protects the civil rights of atheists, to sponsor an information booth at the conservative gathering next month.”
National Journal: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, snubbed last year after palling around with President Obama, is coming. So is GOProud, the gay-rights group that was banned for the past few years amid noisy boycotts from critics and supporters. There’s even a panel debating the merits of medical marijuana.”
KWCH: “The chairman of the Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee says the panel won’t consider a House-passed bill to protect people who refuse for religious reasons to provide goods and services to gay couples.”
Doug Mainwaring at American Thinker: “Information and opinion cascades (also Cass Sunstein and Timur Kuran) promulgated by the Left are meant to overwhelm and intimidate. They cause otherwise freethinking individuals to engage in preference falsification (choosing to publicly deny one’s true thoughts and values in order to maintain a positive standing within whatever social group they happen to find themselves in) due to the threat of social isolation.”
The Wichita Eagle: “Legislators who voted for House Bill 2453 say they have been getting angry calls and e-mails from constituents and people across the country. Some Republican lawmakers said they wish that HB2453 and the uproar it has caused would just go away. Rep. Scott Schwab, R-Olathe, called the bill toxic.”
Washington Times: “A federal judge’s opinion striking down Virginia’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage has generated emotional, visceral reactions from people on both sides of the issue. But one voice that has been uncharacteristically silent in the wake of the landmark ruling is that of former Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II.”
Washington Examiner: “Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other department staff may be continuing to solicit private donations to help an outside group promote the president’s health care law as the administration works to boost enrollment figures after a troubled fall rollout.”
San Jose Mercury News: “As he prepares to fill a surprise opening on the California Supreme Court, Gov. Jerry Brown’s track record of appointing judges strongly points toward a consistent theme — scouring the legal ranks for candidates with some intellectual firepower who might add diversity to the nation’s largest judiciary.”
Steve Forbes at Forbes: “One question congressional and presidential candidates should be asked is how we should go about restoring the rule of law to our federal government. Not even during the world wars of the last century was the executive branch as brazen in assuming sweeping and unlegislated powers, changing laws without the consent of the legislative branch and ignoring laws it didn’t like.”
R.R. Reno at First Things: “Gay rights and sexual liberation more broadly are relatively cost-free commitments for today’s Democratic Party. . . . No rhetoric is too extreme, because it’s not in the slightest degree politically dangerous. The sorts of people who don’t want gay marriage are already on the other side. The Selma Analogy is an easy applause line in the current Democratic Party coalition. . . . Prosecuting a culture war that powerful business interests either agree with or think irrelevant provides a point of unity and feel-good commitment that helps party leaders avoid divisive issues. That’s why same-sex marriage and all it represents has become so important in domestic politics today, or at least a significant part of the reason why.”
Statesman-Journal: “The second highest ranking Republican in Oregon’s House has announced her support for overturning the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.”
Albert Lea Tribue (AP): “House members whose 2013 votes went against most in their party took in as much as quadruple the cash they raised in 2011. The influx of cash could be helpful if these lawmakers face strong challengers or backlash for their votes.”
The Hill: “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will receive Planned Parenthood’s highest award at a national gala next month, the group said Friday.”
Ross Douthat at the New York Times: “Is it just a coincidence that this self-interested elite holds the nearly-uniformly liberal views on social issues that it does? Is it just random that the one idea binding the post-1970s upper class together — uniting Wall Street’s Randians and Harvard’s academic socialists, a left-leaning media and a right-leaning corporate sector, the libertarians of Silicon Valley and the liberal rich of the Upper West Side — is a hostility to any kind of social conservatism, any kind of morals legislation, any kind of paternalism on issues of sex and marriage and family? Is the upper class’s social liberalism the lone case, the rare exception, where our self-segregated, self-interested elites really do have the greater good at heart?”
CNN: “Tunisia’s national assembly approved the country’s landmark new constitution — its first since the ouster of longtime president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali three years ago.” | More from Religion Clause.
Prince William Times: “McQuigg is represented by the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based group Alliance Defending Freedom. The organization is a ‘servant ministry building an alliance to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system and advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family,’ according to a description on its website.”
West Hawaii Today: “Ken Connelly, who is helping Alliance Defending Freedom represent McQuigg, said the legal team did not expect Herring’s action to hurt their side. ‘We believe the law should be upheld,’ Connelly said.”
Inside NOVA: “Virginia’s new Democratic Attorney Gen. Mark Herring won’t defend the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage. But Prince William Clerk of the Circuit Court Michele McQuigg will. . . . McQuigg will be represented by attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom, who she said are ‘experts in defending marriage laws.’”
Daily Times: “The participants of a panel discussion with provincial leadership of political parties stressed the need of implementing constitutional and international guarantees protecting the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan.”
The Virginian-Pilot: “Kenneth J. Connelly, one of McQuigg’s attorneys, said his client wanted to join in the fight because she feared Herring’s office might not offer a full defense of the ban, or appeal if the ban was overturned. The court granted her motion last week.”
Michael Barone at National Review: “The result of the Court’s superseding of this process has been that abortion has become a national political issue. Initially, the abortion issue split both parties. More recently, it has come to define them.”
Martinsville Bulletin: “‘Less than two weeks ago, Mark Herring took an oath and swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of Virginia,’ House Speaker William J. Howell said in a statement. ‘I am very concerned about his announcement today and the dangerous precedent it sets with regard to the rule of law.’”
Christian Post: “Although citizens and groups are guaranteed freedom of speech, the IRS does not extend that right to churches, says the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) an organization which seeks to protect Christians’ ‘right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.’”
Attorney general wants court to strike down Virginia marriage protection amendment | Washington Post
Chicago Tribune: “Herring also will say that the state’s law will be defended in the Norfolk challenge. Norfolk clerk George Schaefer is represented by a private lawyer paid by the state’s Department of Risk Management. Prince William clerk Michele McQuigg, who asked to intervene in the case, is represented by the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom.”
Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Casey Mattox at The Bell Towers: “This must all be very frustrating for abortion supporters. Pro-lifers aren’t supposed to be here anymore. We are supposed to have given up. And yet we are on the march.”
The Bell Towers: “On January 17, you waged an attack against political conservatives, including those ‘who are right-to-life,’ and declared that ‘if that’s who they are and they’re the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.’ Do you honestly believe that a New Yorker must agree with you politically in order to be a true New Yorker?”
New York Times: “In a famously left-leaning Hollywood, where Democratic fund-raisers fill the social calendar, Friends of Abe stands out as a conservative group that bucks the prevailing political winds. . . . Now the Internal Revenue Service is reviewing the group’s activities in connection with its application for tax-exempt status.”
WorldNetDaily: The House of Representatives will vote Friday on legislation to force the Obama administration to reveal Obamacare enrollment data and other key figures so lawmakers and the public can see whether the goals are being met and the right people are signing up.
AP: Tunisia’s Islamist prime minister announced his resignation Thursday in favor of a caretaker government that will supervise new elections later this year and complete the North African country’s long delayed transition to democracy.
NC Register: “We don’t want this pro-abortion executive team to think it is their job to dismantle the protective laws that have been put in place by the pro-life elected representatives of Virginia — who were also put there by solid pro-life voters,” explained Olivia Gans Turner, president of the Virginia Society for Human Life. She said the fear among pro-life leaders is that McAuliffe will target the state’s crisis-pregnancy centers in retaliation for regulations that force the state’s abortion businesses to conform to codes for ambulatory surgical centers.
The Hill: “Let me be clear, until the IRS proves that it can responsibly manage its current funds, the IRS will not see one more dime in taxpayer funding,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said at a hearing in June 2013.
Washington Times: In an unprecedented show of opposition to abortion, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is delaying the start of the party’s annual winter meeting so he and other committee members can join the March for Life on the Mall, The Washington Times has learned.
AP: Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said Monday she is abandoning her effort to unseat Republican incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming.
WorldNetDaily: “Every Californian regardless of ideology should be encouraged by this ruling that strongly supports the fundamental right to have referendum signatures counted when they are delivered to county clerks ahead of the referendum deadline. These rights are too important for the secretary of state, or a county clerk, to play politics when they don’t like a particular referendum,” said Brad Dacus, the president of PJI.
George F. Will at the Washington Post: In “Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter” (Stanford University Press),Ilya Somin of George Mason University law school argues that an individual’s ignorance of public affairs is rational because the likelihood of his or her vote being decisive in an election is vanishingly small. The small incentives to become informed include reducing one’s susceptibility to deceptions, misinformation and propaganda. And if remaining ignorant is rational individual behavior, it has likely destructive collective outcomes.
The Hill: Republicans need a net gain of six seats to reclaim the Senate majority, and are gunning for Democratic incumbents in conservative-leaning states like Arkansas, Alaska, North Carolina, West Virginia and Louisiana.
Alec Torres at Education Views: As the lead plaintiff in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which has recently left the U.S. District Court for California’s Central District and will soon be on its way to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Friedrichs argues that forcing her to financially support union activism for political agendas she disagrees with violates her First Amendment rights.
Breitbart: House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp said, “The committee has reviewed thousands of tax exempt applications. The new regulation so closely mirrors the abused tea-party group applications, it leads me to question if this new proposed regulation is simply another form of targeting.”
The Economist: Yet strategists and pollsters report that—even after controlling for such variables as race, age, religiosity and income—marital status is a powerful predictor of Democratic voting (whereas married women and older widows lean slightly Republican).
LifeSiteNews: For Massachusetts’s social conservatives, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back: Karyn Polito, Republican candidate for lieutenant governor and former state senator, recently reversed her long-held opposition to same-sex “marriage” and announced she now favors the redefinition of marriage to include homosexual couples
CNSNews: Although the Republican Party Platform opposes abortion and homosexual marriage, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which provides funds to GOP candidates, is providing money to two Republican candidates who are homosexual, and who support gay marriage and abortion.
The Hill: Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) lit into conservative activist groups for a second straight day, saying they have “lost all credibility” by attacking a bipartisan budget deal before it came out.
Washington Examiner: One congressman’s beef with the National Republican Congressional Committee over its support for gay candidates will likely have little effect on the committee’s operations or fundraising. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., has tried to persuade other lawmakers and the committee not to support the campaigns of gay candidates, Politico first reported.
Russell D. Moore at First Things: A transformed American culture calls for a new and different Evangelical engagement of politics.
AP: Fully 20 percent of U.S. adults become rich for parts of their lives, wielding outsize influence on America’s economy and politics. This little-known group may pose the biggest barrier to reducing the nation’s income inequality.
FRC Washington Update (12/6/2013): The tension started earlier this year, when House leadership started throwing its weight — and significant money — behind two activist homosexual candidates. Understandably, that bothered conservatives like Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), who refused to give his party a pass. “GOP leaders can do whatever they want to do” in donating to gay Republicans, he said, but they shouldn’t force other members to contribute through the funding arms like the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). While Forbes has been blasted for his comments, he knows — as well as we do — that this debate is about a lot more than someone’s sexual preference.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: Winning a battle that costs you a war is no victory. The silver lining from President Obama’s and Senate Democrats’ unprecedented power grab last week is that now a conservative Republican president can appoint a Supreme Court that will restore the Constitution to its historical place in our nation’s life, revitalizing limited government and safeguarding fundamental rights.
Politico: “As a conservative Republican, I believe that we have been stupid to let the Democrats demagogue the contraceptives issue and pretend, during debates about health care insurance, that Republicans are somehow against birth control,” Jindal wrote in The Wall Street Journal. “It’s a disingenuous political argument they make.”
Scott Clement and Sean Sullivan at Washington Post: Fewer than one in five liberals (18 percent) preferred hearing secular greetings such as “Happy Holidays” from shops and businesses in a 2012 Pew Research Center poll; at least as many preferred “Merry Christmas” (22 percent), while a whopping 60 percent said it “doesn’t matter.” But holiday greetings matter much more for conservatives, among whom 60 percent said they prefer “Merry Christmas” vs. just 7 percent for more secular holidays.
Jonathan Strong at National Review: As he was ascending to the pinnacle of power in the Senate Republican conference almost exactly seven years ago, Mitch McConnell planted the seeds of a feud that could conceivably end his career this May
Breitbart: Recent polling shows that an election wave of anti-ObamaCare sentiment is growing, and it is not only likely to hand the GOP control of the United States Senate, but might wipe out as many as 12 Democrat seats–many of which looked safe just a few months ago.
Wall Street Journal (via Google): Sen. Mark Pryor, speaking to a group of college officials, recently offered a biblical solution to Washington’s gridlock. Politicians should follow the teachings of Jesus, the two-term Democrat said, quoting from the Sermon on the Mount. Dale Leatherman, an administrator at a Baptist college, warmed up to the Arkansas senator after those remarks but said he still couldn’t imagine voting for Mr. Pryor next year.
Christian Institute: A “key reason” for the Tories losing support to UKIP is the Conservatives’ “modernising agenda” on issues like gay marriage, The Sunday Telegraph has said.
Reuters: “Congress’s determination that all three kinds of advertising posed a significant threat to public programming is supported by substantial evidence,” Circuit Judge M. Margaret McKeown wrote for the majority. | Opinion: Minority Television Project v. FCC
The Hill: A new administration proposal to limit the political activity of tax-exempt groups could fall short of forcing “dark money” out of campaigns, experts say. The new Treasury and IRS proposals, which are expected to spark extensive debate, would bar so-called 501(c)(4) organizations from counting certain political activity as part of their social welfare work.
Des Moines Register: Bob Vander Plaats, an evangelical Christian activist who is influential in Iowa politics and is considering running for U.S. Senate, launched a new book over the weekend.
Education Views: Parents of a sixth grade student at the Milam Elementary School in Tupelo, Mississippi were shocked when their daughter brought home a political beliefs worksheet that teachers told students to fill out.
LifeNews: “Universities should recognize the constitutionally protected freedoms of pro-life student groups just as they do for all other campus organizations,” said Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker. “We commend Eastern Michigan University for revising its policy and giving all student organizations equal access to mandatory student fees.”
Washington Post: “It’s bruising people,” former senator Alan K. Simpson says of the topic of pretty much everyone’s conversations these days. “When you get a call from Dick or Lynne, and you love them, you don’t want to say no. It’s got Wyoming in a turmoil.”