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Friday, February 13, 2004

Bill would cut off U of M funding over embryonic stem cell research

Kevin Duchschere and Mary Jane Smetanka, Star Tribune

Published February 13, 2004
Responding to news that University of Minnesota scientists plan to use
private funding to create stem cells from human embryos, 30 legislators
signed onto a House bill Thursday that would cut off university funding if
the research proceeds.

The bill's chief author, Rep. Tim Wilkin, R-Eagan, said they wanted to get
the attention of university officials who, he said, had done "an end run"
around the Legislature.

The research, which results in the destruction of human embryos, is so
controversial that university officials didn't even seek funding in a $35
million biosciences initiative proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, an abortion
opponent. There are also federal restrictions on such research.

Frank Cerra, the university's senior vice president for health sciences,
has said the university would get embryos from fertilization clinics that
otherwise would discard them.

University researchers discussed whether to use embryonic stem cells for
research for 2 1/2 years before they decided to proceed, he said. "They
came forward and said, 'You know, there are questions of science that we
cannot answer without using these embryonal stem cells,' " he said.

University scientists have said the new science holds enormous potential
for advances in medicine, such as rebuilding damaged tissue. Wilkin said
the ethical issues involved with embryonic stem cell research "are
extremely significant and the payback is not promising, contrary to the
claims." Successful research has been conducted with adult and other stem
cells, he said.

As introduced Thursday, the bill would cut off funding for the entire
university, but Wilkin said it needs massaging. "I do intend to narrow the
scope of the funding, maybe just to the academic health center," he said.

EY: I'm curious to know what the Minnesota Citizen's Concerned for Life is
about this one.

If the legislature is going to take this stand, they should also ban In
Vitro Fertilization in this state - since IVF procedures produce an excess
of embryos - some of which get destroyed.

Kerry and Fonda Photos

Some of these are fakes according to a vanity post on Free Republic:

FAKE "2nd photo" of Kerry-Fonda at rally
Vanity | Feb. 11, 2002 | Self

Posted on 02/12/2004 2:47:30 PM PST by Madstrider

Hey, Freepers: I don't know who PhotoShopped that fake "2nd photo" of Kerry and Fonda at the antiwar rally, but you should know that you came within AN EYELASH of causing a huge embarassment.

Thank goodness Raoul made a phone call, so Kristinn just got a call from somebody who is a longtime press friend of FR who was about to go nationwide with the "2nd photo" story. You've got no idea how close this was to being a train wreck.

I am told NewsMax actually got suckered on this.

The same veterans who had circulated the original Fonda-Kerry photo apparently got hold of the PhotoShop fake and didn't know it was a joke. So when these veterans contacted the press Thursday morning claiming to have a second photo -- man! A lot of valuable time was wasted as reporters contacted Associated Press trying to verify the existence of this fake photo.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE be careful with this kind of stuff.

EY: Yup, the campaign is definitely starting.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Big Gun Borrell Guilty

Why would anyone try to carry a gun onto an airplane? This guy is one of the co-sponsors of the anti-gay bill to repeal the human right act as it applied to gays.

Legislative "Defenders of Marriage" Soiling the Sanctity of Marriage

While these characters are busy trying to defend the institution of marriage from gay people, they are soiling the sanctity of their own marriages.

Exhibit A from Oklahoma

Here's KTOK's story:

Lawmaker Under Investigation
Thursday, February 12, 2004 at 5:45pm

KTOK has learned state Representative Mike O'Neal's under investigation amid allegations of sexual battery.

Fellow Republicans won't identify the suspect, but we've learned Oklahoma City Police are looking into allegations of sexual battery involving state Representative Mike O'Neal at an Oklahoma City hotel Tuesday night. House Minority Leader Todd Hiett wouldn't identify O'Neal by name, but says he is aware of the investigation and he also plans to get to the bottom of it.
Hiett says he questioned the suspect himself, this morning, but would not tell us the reaction he received. O'Neal is a Republican from Enid who's among those sponsoring legislation to keep marrige in Oklahoma between a man and a woman. According to the heavily redacted police report he made a lewd suggestion to a woman at the Holiday Inn on North Robinson Tuesday
night and grabbed her buttocks. The woman told police she sprained her ankle trying to get away. Our attempts to reach Representative O'Neal have been unsuccessful and he's not returning our phone calls. So far, no charges have been filed. (jc)

Meanwhile in Georgia - the exwife of the Senate Majority leader (who is cosponsoring a constitutional amendment defending marriage) is going public about their messy divorce - that was because of infidelity.

from the article in Southern Voice:

Stephens' proposed amendment is not the first time a prominent Georgia politician has attacked gay relationships despite his own marital difficulties.

While a member of Congress, Republican Bob Barr was the primary sponsor of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law banning gay marriage, despite having been married three times.

As Georgia attorney general from 1981 to 1997, Michael Bowers defended the state's sodomy law to the U.S. Supreme Court, winning a 1986 ruling that found no "fundamental right" to homosexual sex. Bowers also won a protracted legal battle after firing lesbian attorney Robin Shahar in 1991 after learning of her planned religious commitment ceremony with her female

But in 1997, Bowers - then a candidate for governor in the Republican primary - acknowledged a long-term extramarital affair, in violation of Georgia laws against adultery and fornication. His paramour told the media at the time that the two had engaged in sodomy during the course of their relationship.


Marc Yeager, president of the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, a gay GOP group, last week criticized lawmakers for labeling gays as the biggest threat to marriage. If politicians were truly interested in protecting the "sanctity of marriage" they would pass stricter laws relating to infidelity and adultery, Yeager said.

Stephens said he has never sponsored a constitutional amendment or any other form of legislation - that would increase the penalties for adultery, and he has no immediate plans to do so.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Organizating Black Leaders to favor Marriage Equality

Check out the National Black Justice Coalition:

About the Coalition Board of Directors The Marriage Campaign Personal Statements Our Supporters Timeline FAQs The National Black Justice Coalition is an ad hoc coalition of black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered leaders who have come together to fight against discrimination in our communities.

The goal of the organization in 2004 is to build black support for marriage equality and to educate the community on the dangers of the proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

and from the FAQ.....

Will black leaders support marriage rights for gays and lesbians?

Many black leaders already have. Marriage supporters include civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, former Senator and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rep. John Lewis, Rev. James Forbes and Rev. William Sinkford. And the list is growing everyday!

We hope to work with the NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Urban League, Congressional Black Caucus and Leadership Conference on Civil Rights on this issue as well. Most of these groups have been very supportive of other civil rights issues affecting gays and lesbians.

EY: I hope this organization works to get some Black conservatives to make statements. Ward Connerly would be one possibility.

More on Kerry Waffling on Gay Marriage

I posted this on Kerry's forums:

Another poster writes:
Turn the debate over gay marriage into a debate over the Constitution. It's a winnable issue. While the majority of Americans are against gay marriage, they are also ambiguous about amending the Constitution. Frame this issue as an attempt to change the most powerful symbol of democracy in the world, which is a radical and unnecessary idea. Where does it end? Which opinion poll will dictate the next amendment to the foundation of our freedom?

EY: Opinion polls show between 50 and 90% of the public opposes a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage - depending on how the question is worded. There are MANY people who oppose gay marriage - but also oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment. Bob Barr - DOMA author is one of those.

Kerry clearly opposes the FMA - and his spokesman reiterated that to - however he is looking at supporting the Massachusetts state constitutional amendment. I hope he doesn't do that. If he does support anti-gay state constitutional amendments it will hurt him big time with gay voters - and also with people who know and support their gay family members or friends.

From a recent Boston Globe article:

WHEN THE Legislature meets today to consider a constitutional amendment on gay marriage, hidden agendas could play a crucial role in deciding what course lawmakers take.

Last night, Senate leaders were still trying to win support for a compromise that would allow legislators to vote for a constitutional amendment that would reserve the term marriage for a man and a woman but ensure for homosexual couples the rights and benefits of marriage through civil unions.

Problem: House Speaker Thomas Finneran yesterday declared himself opposed to that amendment, making the fate of the Senate effort anything but certain.

If such a measure does pass, however, sources close to the Senate leadership say it should be seen less as a deal that will seal the ultimate disposition of the issue than a strategic compromise that was designed to address immediate political considerations.

As Senate leaders see it, voting for such an amendment would establish a public position less liberal than the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's ruling that gay marriage must be allowed under the state Constitution.

That's important for several reasons. One is to give Senator John Kerry, a close ally of Senate President Robert Travaglini, some cover as he runs for president. Last year, Travaglini said he intended to do "whatever I can for John Kerry." As the Senate president threads his way through the minefield of the gay marriage issue, Kerry's presidential fortunes are said to weigh on his mind.

Since the SJC ruled last Wednesday that gay marriage must be allowed, Kerry, who opposes gay marriage but supports civil unions, has regularly been pressed to declare whether he would support a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. So far Kerry has temporized. But the Senate thinking is that if the Legislature acts in the aforementioned fashion, Kerry could then endorse that action. Further, by establishing a public position more moderate than the SJC's, the Legislature would also help blunt the prevalent national image of Kerry's home state as outside the American mainstream.

Is Kerry's campaign working with the Senate leader on this? I hope not.

Now Bush advisors have said Bush will support a version of the FMA that would allow states to enact civil unions. Kerry has said he opposes the FMA - but may support a state constitutional amendment that will allow for civil unions.

The current language of the FMA being proposed in congress does not allow for civil unions - even though the Leviticus crowd is lying by promoting it that way.

As Andrew Sullivan says:

THE WASHINGTON POST GETS IT RIGHT: Unlike the New York Times and even Time, the Washington Post has finally realized what the religious right amendment to the constitution really means. Or at least they are fair enough to present the conflicting views about its impact:

The amendment's authors say it is a compromise that would not stop state legislatures from allowing civil unions. Gay rights groups disagree. Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, which supports marriage rights for gays, said the White House and "the Christian right" are "being deliberately deceptive." He said the "vague and sweeping language" of the proposed amendment's second sentence "is intended to deny any other measure of protection, including civil unions and domestic partnerships."

Exactly. This is the real fight. If the religious right were only interested in preventing any state from having marriage rights for gays, they would propose an amendment that would simply say: "Civil marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman." That would do it. But their second sentence is a stealth bomb aimed directly at gay couples, stripping them of any rights or benefits or protections. If the president endorses the Musgrave Amendment, he will be declaring war on gay couples, in order to boost his political fortunes. That's the reality, however they want to dress it up.

The Leviticus Crowd bearing false witness? Say it isn't so.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Kerry: Marriage is for Procreation

from the Washington Post in July 2003

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision striking down a Texas law against sodomy, Kerry said he remains opposed to gay marriages but said he would oppose any constitutional amendment to outlaw such marriages on grounds that it was "gay bashing."

Kerry said he supported civil unions and broad rights for gays but added, "I have a belief that marriage is for the purpose of procreation and it's between men and women. I see no great compelling rationale for changing that institution when measured against the rights that can be granted to people to live exactly as others do but not in that quote nomenclature."

EY: The Advocate follows up on this.

Bush on Gay Partnerships:

And, in Washington, a South Carolina congressman said that President Bush told him gays don't need marriage because states can use contract law to ensure some of the rights they are seeking.

Representative Jim DeMint said the issue came up during an informal discussion with the President aboard Air Force One last week.

Paraphrasing the president's remarks, DeMint said: "He said he was not going to condemn anyone, that the need to have various types of agreement does not mean we need to redefine marriage. `If people want to have contracts on hospital visitation and benefits, that's O.K.' "

White House spokesperson Claire Buchan confirmed the conversation.

"States, through their contract law, have the ability to address some of the issues that advocates of gay marriage are raising, such as hospital visitation rights and insurance benefits and the ability to pass on one's estates to another. What the president has said is that he strongly believes in the sanctity of marriage, so that's what he is saying."

Ofcourse the Federal Marriage Amendment - with it's prohibition of "All Legal Instances Thereof" of marriage for gays would make it impossible for states to have these sorts of contracts.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Chuck Muth on the Massachusetts Gay Marriage Ruling

February 8, 2004

Following the most recent Massachusetts supreme court ruling last week proclaiming that only gay marriage, and not civil unions, is acceptable, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, said, "Marriage should not be redefined by the courts." And you know what?

He's dead right.

If gay marriages or civil unions are to be recognized, it should be by ballot referendum or via the elected representatives (who are subject to recall and defeat in popular elections) of each state. Don't you agree?

If you DO, however, then you CAN'T support the notion of a federal marriage amendment banning gay marriages. That would be just as wrong as imposing them by judicial fiat. This matter should be resolved by the people and their elected officials in each individual state. Period. That's the only philosophically consistent position a limited-government conservative who says he or she supports the principles this nation was founded upon can take.

Folks are rightly concerned with judicial activism in this case. But let me ask you another question. Is the matter of gay marriage the ONLY issue where judicial activists are legislating from the bench? Of course not.

So if the problem is judicial activism on a wide variety of matters - including First, Second and Tenth Amendment cases - then why focus ONLY on this one area of judicial activism? Why not work for a constitutional amendment which would address ALL forms of legislating from the bench?

Then there's the old "full faith and credit" argument. Anti-gay marriage folks are worried that once gays start getting married in Ted Kennedy's back yard that they'll move to other states and demand to have their marriages recognized there under the full faith and credit clause of the Constitution.

OK. A reasonable concern.

First, there are legal scholars who maintain that the FF&C clause would no more apply from one state to another as concealed carry laws transfer across state lines. In addition, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) specifically says that one state doesn't have to recognize the gay marriages of other states. That law has never been successfully challenged.

But let's say it IS challenged. And let's say some judicial activist judge rules DOMA unconstitutional. Then what?

Yes, that could happen. Yes, I fully admit that such judicial activism is out of control. But again, THAT'S the point. Judicial activism is the problem, not gay marriage. So any constitutional solution should be to prohibit judicial activism, not prohibit gay marriage. Judicial activism is the far wider and bigger disease; the gay marriage issue is but one of the symptoms.

So if a constitutional amendment of some kind is desired to address this gay marriage issue, it makes FAR more sense to pass a Super-DOMA which would simply prohibit federal judges from forcing gay marriages on states which don't want them rather than a prohibition on states that do.

The president has said he would support a constitutional amendment "if necessary" and if activist judges don't stop legislating from the bench. (That tune may well change in a couple hours on "Meet the Press"). I'm far from convinced it's "necessary" yet, but I do know that if the president IS going to support a constitutional remedy, he should support one to restrain judicial activism which imposes the will of one state on others, not impose a constitutional ban on gay marriage on all states and for all future generations.

When it comes to weddings, embracing states' rights and eschewing one-size-fits-all federal prohibitions is, frankly, the American thing to do. Pass the apple pie.

# # #

Kerry's web forums continue to sound off on Kerry's position on Gay Marriage

Sometimes I feel the "south" bullies us.

Senator Kerry needs to condemn the Massachusetts court's ruling. He doesn't have to do so on moral grounds, he can do so on logistical grounds. He can say civil unions are OK. He should also make it plain that he would like to see a mandate from the people on the issue, and not have such a law implimented by the court alone. That's as far as the Senator should go with the issue. Other issues are more crucial.

It is better that he alienate a few GL votes than alienate a broader swath of conservative Americans who are frustrated with Bush. The GL community must realize the severity of the human suffering that will transpire if Bush wins, and put their issue on the back burner for the time being.

I wanted to support full marriage rights for Gays and Lesbians, I REALLY did, but I cannot. Again, it's not moral but logistical. The ramifications of a precedent for polygamy, intrafamily marriages, and so on being set are too problematic.


The Crock Hunter

Also posted on "Defense of Marriage" strand...

I am a mom in suburban LA, and I really want to enthusiatically support JK, but his equivocal comments concerning a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage are troubling to say the least. My younger son is gay, and I will be reluctant to work for the election of someone who proposes the inclusion of an amendment to the Constitution that codifies discrimination against him. As for the political implications of alienating the LGBT community vs. the "heartland" of America, I wonder how many other people there are out there like myself who have sons, daughters, other relatives, and friends who would be directly targeted by such an amendment.


EY: With the Crock Hunter - it's hard to know whether he is a serious Kerry supporter - he joined recently.

Gay Democrat and Activist John Aravosis weighs in on John Kerry's Forum

Speaking as someone who loathes Bush here, and who rarely defends gay Republicans, John Kerry has some serious explaining to do on gay issues.

First, he gave that wonderful interview in which he didn't just oppose gay marriage, he gratuitously went off about how "marriage has existed for 2,000 years... blah blah blah." And he threw in the "fact" that it's about "procreation," so apparently gay relationships can never be legit as a result.

Now Kerry is trying to pass himself off as just as good/bad on gay issues as George Bush and Dick Cheney. Well news flash here, if I want to elect someone as bad as George Bush I can vote for George Bush. I expect Bush to be an anti-gay idito, I don't expect it from our own candidates.

Third, Kerry doesn't even understand where Bush and Cheney are on this issue. Bush supports a federal constitutional amendment, and Cheney has said he'd support the president if the prez wants such amendment. Is that what Kerry means when he says he agrees with the Prez and the VP?

Fourth, Kerry is putting out probably the worst position on gay marriage of all the Dem candidates. Dean had a pretty damn good position, especially in terms of not slamming us gratuitously, and he was doing great in the polls until the family "squeal." Being unabashedly pro-gay didn't hurt Dean. But now we're to believe that Kerry has no choice but to be anti-gay, or he can't win?

Fifth, and finally, Kerry has successfully taken Bush's worst nightmare of an issue and made it an albatross around his own, Kerry's, neck. Bush would have had a very very very hard time explaining to the soccer moms out there why he wants to amend the Constitution to bash gays. Kerry has now successfully made the issue NOT about a constitutional amendment, but about his own credibility over gay marriage overall. Kerry comes across as the unclear waffler. The guy who appears ready to flip-flop at a moment's notice. The guy who's willing to turn his back on a civil rights issue in order to win an election. The issue is no longer "how dare the president support a constitutional amendment," it's now "why is Kerry such a weak waffling man on the gay marriage issue." And in fact, much of the press is still reporting this as though Kerry is pro gay marriage! So even on that point he's lost the spin on this issue.

I'm sorry, but as a Jewish friend said to me recently, "do you think the Jewish groups would put up with being bashed like this by their own candidate?" The answer to that one is clearly no.

It's the year 2004 and it's a new America. We no longer have to cower in fear and suck it up every time we get gratutiously bashed by a politician who is supposed to be our friend. If John Kerry thinks he needs to Sister Souljah the gay community to look more moderate, and if he thinks the gay community will have to vote for him anyway rather than supporter the president, then he's failed to remember those 1m gay REpublican votes for GW Bush last time around, and he's failed to take into account how much damage those of us with really really really large email lists (mine is about 13,000 subscribers) can do to him over the next 8 months.

If the next 8 months are dominated by a discussion of whether Kerry is a waffler who has no credibility, then I'm not sure that's going to help Kerry in this election. Already this issue has not exactly "helped" Kerry. If he thinks that continuing to stake out a position that will force many of us to publicly bash him, and thus keep this story alive, will somehow "help" him, then one need only ask him "how well has bashing us helped you so far?"

I never trusted Kerry and I trust him even less now. Yes, I want to see Bush lose in the fall. But honestly, I'm half tempted to put up with another 4 years of Bush if it means finally teaching the Democratic party that we are not to be taken for granted. The Democratic candidates were doing so well on gay issues until John Kerry became the presumptive nominee. It's a brave new world, and the Democrats need to learn that if we wanted to vote for candidates who were anti-gay, we'd vote for Republicans, because at least our taxes would be lower.