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June 27, 2013

US Supreme Court rules Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional

US Supreme Court rules Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cameras lined up outside the Supreme Court in preparation for the release of the DOMA case yesterday.
Image: bclinesmith.

In a ruling released yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5–4 that portions of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are unconstitutional and married same-sex partners should not be prevented from receiving federal benefits including tax and social security benefits, and recognition for the purpose of immigration.

In the majority decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.” Kennedy said DOMA “writes inequality into the entire United States Code“.

Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority decision in the DOMA case.
Image: Supreme Court of the United States.

The case was brought by 84-year-old Edith Windsor, who was married to Thea Speyer. The State of New York recognised their marriage, but following Speyer’s death, Windsor had to pay more than US$300,000 in inheritance tax.

In addition to a decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court also ruled on a case brought by supporters of Proposition 8 in California, a ballot measure which made same-sex marriage illegal in 2008. The resulting same-sex marriage ban was challenged in the court and a lower court held that the measure was incompatible with the US Constitution. The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by supporters of Proposition 8, arguing they do not have standing to defend in court a law the State of California is unwilling to defend. Therefore the lower court decision holds. California Governor Jerry Brown said: “I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state’s counties they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted”.

President Barack Obama welcomed the decisions: “When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.” Obama instructed Eric Holder, the US attorney general, to ensure the ruling is implemented in federal law.

Anthony Romero from the American Civil Liberties Union said the fight for same-sex marriage rights would now return to the states. Chad Griffin from the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT rights organization, pledged: “Within five years, we will bring marriage equality to all 50 states.”

People celebrating the Supreme Court gay marriage decision.
Image: Neon Tommy.

A number of opponents of same-sex marriage have voiced their opinions on the Supreme Court decision. Michele Bachmann, a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, stated: “Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted. For thousands of years of recorded human history, no society has defended the legal standard of marriage as anything other than between man and woman. Only since 2000 have we seen a redefinition of this foundational unit of society in various nations.”

Bachmann went on: “Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to join the trend, despite the clear will of the people’s representatives through DOMA. What the court has done will undermine the best interest of children and the best interests of the United States.”

Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp said the “courts have allowed the desires of adults to trump the needs of our children”.



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March 26, 2013

Supreme Court of the United States contemplates same-sex marriage

Supreme Court of the United States contemplates same-sex marriage

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Supreme Court on Capitol Hill
Image: Ken Hammond.

This week, the United States Supreme Court is scheduled to address two cases before them on the issue of same-sex marriage. The federal Defense of Marriage Act case is scheduled to be heard on Wednesday. The other case involves California’s Proposition 8. A ruling is unlikely to be made until June.

The federal case involves the denial of privileges afforded to heterosexual married couples on the federal level, and the legality of states to opt out of recognizing legal marriages performed in other states in the union and to deny state benefits for those couples.

Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, potential swing vote on the Supreme Court
Image: Steve Petteway.

John Eastman, law professor at Chapman University and chairman of National Organization for Marriage, a group that opposes same-sex marriage, believes the eventual ruling will be a close one, with Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy likely to be the key swing vote. Eastman is quoted by U.S. News and World Report as saying of Kennedy, “All eyes are on Justice Kennedy and he’s obviously written the two major gay rights decisions in the past decade and a half and that means that people rightly think that he’s kind of open to taking this step, but he has studiously avoided taking that step in prior cases.” Other court watchers agree with this sentiment.

In the lead up to the hearings, a number of high profile politicians have expressed their support for same-sex marriage including Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. Earlier this month, 40 United States senators signed a legal brief arguing against the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that was submitted to the Supreme Court.

High visibility companies have also indicated support for legalized same-sex marriage in the United States, including Starbucks where CEO Howard Schultz gave company support at a share-holder meeting last week. After share-holder Tom Strobhar implied at the meeting that Starbuck’s historical position of supporting same-sex marriage, which included open support of the same-sex marriage legalization efforts in the state of Washington last year, hurt the company’s bottom line, Schultz responded by saying, “If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38% you got last year, it’s a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company.” The company’s position is predicated on respecting diversity, even if it potentially impacts Starbucks earnings.

Goldman Sachs has also supported the push for same-sex marriage arguing that the lack of equality hurts businesses. Goldman Sachs, Marriott International and Thomson Reuters have all signed a legal brief condemning the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Protesters gathered inside the state capitol building in St. Paul, Minnesota, to protest against the upcoming vote by the Minnesota House of Representatives to put an anti-same-sex marriage amendment on the 2012 election ballot.
Image: Fibonacci Blue.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll published last week showed support for same-sex marriage in the United States was at an all time high at 58%, an increase of 21% since 2003. A recent Gallup poll showed similar results, with 54% of Americans supporting federal benefits for gay and lesbian couples, an increase of 27% since 1996 when the federal Defense of Marriage Act became law. Last week, a poll published by Reuters/Ipso found 63% of Americans supported same-sex marriage or civil unions. Despite this, social conservatives argue that this support may be over-stated by as much as 7% when voters are asked to voice their opinion on the issue at the ballot box. They cite a 2010 study by New York University political science professor Patrick J. Egan. Social conservatives also argue that people lie to pollsters to avoid appearing intolerant. 2000 Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer said on Fox News Sunday, “I’m not worried about [same-sex marriage], because the polls are skewed. Just this past November, four states, very liberal states, voted on this issue and my side lost all four of those votes. But my side had 45, 46 percent of the vote in all four of those liberal states.” Brian S. Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, also argues that misleading polling questions over-count support for same-sex marriage in the United States.

Despite the potential for skewed polling, the four most recent ballot initiatives regarding same-sex marriage in the United States on a state level resulted in citizens voting to support same-sex marriage in Minnesota, Maryland, Washington and Maine. It also comes at a time when the most recent election cycle in the United States saw opponents of same-sex marriage outspent 3 to 1.



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April 28, 2012

Wikinews interviews Fred Karger, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate

Wikinews interviews Fred Karger, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fred Karger in 2010.
Image: IowaPolitics.com.

United States political consultant and gay rights (LGBT) activist Fred Karger of California took some time to discuss his Republican Party presidential campaign with Wikinews reporter William Saturn. Karger holds the distinction as the first openly gay person to seek the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party.

Before entering electoral politics, Karger worked as an adviser for such prominent Republicans and former U.S. Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Since retiring as an adviser in 2004, he has been involved in LGBT issues: opposing California Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state; and leading investigations of such same-sex marriage opponents as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormon Church).

In 2010, Karger first announced his intentions to seek the Republican presidential nomination, but did not officially announce until March 2011. One of his early campaign goals was to participate in a GOP presidential debate, but was never invited due to polling thresholds. However, Karger argued that he did meet the requirement for an August debate, but was still excluded after the organizers deemed polls he cited as inadequate.

So far, Karger has appeared on four Republican primary ballots including Puerto Rico, where he was able to top Congressman Ron Paul, who, at the time was one of the four major candidates in the race. Karger will next appear on the ballots in California on June 5, and in Utah on June 26.

Karger brands himself as “a different kind of Republican” that wants to open the party to outsiders. He backs gay marriage, is pro-choice on abortion, and wants to lower the voting age. However, he also holds some traditional Republican views: he favors a strengthening of the private sector and believes the U.S. should be steadfast in its support for the nation of Israel.

In talking to Wikinews, Karger discusses his personal political background and activism, the 2012 presidential election and his GOP campaign, as well as his political views on both domestic and foreign affairs.

Background

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam S. SaturnWikinews waves Right.pngI’m going to start with the background. What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

Karger with former President George H. W. Bush in 2006.
Image: Fred Karger.

Fred Karger: Well, I have been involved in politics for 55 years. I am very proud that I first began working on campaigns, and then evolved into a profession. I got to work with some of the great leaders in the country: George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan. I got to involve myself in a lot of the issues of the time; involved in initiatives, elections all over the country; and then, most recently was a direct activist in discovering a lot of illicit activities by the Mormon Church, involving itself in many of the anti-Gay marriage campaigns from 1995 in Hawaii to our current election going on now; and then also taking on the National Organization for Marriage, and then investigated in Maine, which resulted in a treasure trove of documents disclosing their illicit activities. So I would think those are certainly some of my highlights in my 62 years, but I got all the fight left in me.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat did you learn from Ronald Reagan?

Fred Karger: Well, I learned about his great optimism and his ability to get along with Democrats and Republicans, conservatives [and] liberals. He had an innate ability to work with people of all stripes and get along with them. Good with speaking the language of the time, building alliances to get a lot of things done in the best interest of the country, unlike President Obama and the Congress today. Ronald Reagan never took himself too seriously…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngI read on your Facebook profile that you supported Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primaries. Why did you support her?

Fred Karger: The Republican Party has moved too far to the right for my liking. And that was not the Republican Party that I grew up with. I think there’s room in the party for a broad coalition of thought…
I was very disenchanted with the Republicans running four years ago, and I liked Hillary Clinton. I liked her husband. I thought he was a good centrist and a good president. And I wanted to help out and support her. I didn’t work for her, but I did max out. I gave $2300 over a period of time in 2008 to her. And I just thought she would have been a very good president.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWho did you support during the general election?

Fred Karger: During the general in 2008, I didn’t support either candidate. I had helped George W. Bush in 2000. We were working an independent expenditure committee that I helped with a gentleman named Charles Francis that was a Gay-Straight alliance that supported George W. Bush, but then he let us down with his vocal support for a federal Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and other anti-gay activities that campaign and he were involved with in 2004. So I did not help him. I did not vote for him in 2004. I voted for a third party candidate because then I was not too convinced that Barack Obama was the right man for the job. So I was a Ralph Nader voter. I didn’t do anything with his campaign or more, but I did end up voting for him.
Cquote1.svg The public doesn’t know enough about the Mormon Church, so I wanted to help make them aware because there are some very interesting parts of that religion that I think it’s certainly open for discussion with Mitt Romney as the likely Republican nominee Cquote2.svg

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngYou have been very critical of the Mormon Church for its support of Proposition 8, and you created a website titled, “the Top Ten Craziest Mormon beliefs”. Some of your followers on Facebook wrote comments that this went too far. What is your response to them?

Fred Karger: Well, the Mormon Church as I discovered by documents that were given to me, official Mormon Chuch documents going back to 1995, has led the way on all the anti-Gay initiatives, constitutional amendments in the country. All thirty one that have been successful, the Mormon Church was instrumental in efforts. So I have announced. I don’t do things secretly like they do. I’ve been very up front about it. I signed my name to everything.
And I am determined to try and get them to reconsider their vehement opposition, not just to gay marriage, but the way they treat gay and lesbian members of the Mormon faith. And there’s a wonderful new video out with a dozen students from BYU talking about that and how difficult it is to be gay and Mormon. And this church, which is on the cusp of having a President of the United States, is cruel [through] activities that have been done to LGBT members and followers and as well as all of us non-members, who have been critical of their activism.
I think it is the wrong direction and I will continue to shadow that and keep them honest in politics, which they have not been as we found in California. And I think as their public affairs director had invited, which is why I put that website up, the public doesn’t know enough about the Mormon Church, so I wanted to help make them aware because there are some very interesting parts of that religion that I think it’s certainly open for discussion with Mitt Romney as the likely Republican nominee.

2012 presidential campaign

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngLet’s talk about the campaign. I’ve seen from your photos that while campaigning, you’ve encountered such candidates as Jon Huntsman, Jr. and Michele Bachmann. Do they recognize you and/or acknowledge the historical significance of your campaign?

Fred Karger: I’ve met every single candidate running and have general pictures with all. The only one [exception] I think is Ron Paul, who I did meet with in his office in Washington. He was the one, who actually set up a formal meeting with me in January of 2011. We had a wonderful meeting. He had not made up his mind yet.

Karger with Jon Huntsman, Jr. in 2011.
Image: Fred Karger.

But yes, Rick Santorum knew me well. We would run in to each other all the time. Everyone was very courteous to me. Some I became more friendly with: Gary Johnson or Jon Huntsman, very, very cordial to me. I would actually say that Gary Johnson and me became friends. We would see each other all the time, went to meals together.
So I had asked all the Republican candidates running to have lunch, dinner, coffee with me. I thought it would be a good opportunity for the other Republicans running, and in a friendly manner to meet, to get to know an openly gay candidate for president, which no one has done before. But I think it was just my olive branch. As I was saying earlier, what Ronald Reagan did and what he taught me, which was to reach out to everybody. And certainly there’s some Republicans, who have said some very bad things about my community and I want to help them based on that and come up with the areas we have in common as opposed to the areas where we disagree.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngYou previously said that one of your goals in your campaign was to participate in a GOP presidential debate, now that no more debates have been scheduled, what are you hoping to achieve by continuing your campaign?

Fred Karger: Well that had been my primary goal to get in a presidential debate. A big feat for someone who has never run for office before and doesn’t have tens of millions of dollars to spend on his campaign. I came very close. I did qualify. I met the criteria for the Fox News debate last August in Ames, Iowa, but they changed the rules and prohibited me from participating. So I am holding out hope that there still may be another debate. There’s talk of a Texas debate. Governor Romney might not do anymore but there may be a situation where there’s just a handful of candidates. There’s only four of us now that are still actively running that are on state ballots like California and Utah. So I still have hope that there might be a debate. But short of that I will be campaigning vigorously in California. That’s the next ballot I am on.
Cquote1.svg The numbers obviously don’t add up for me to be the nominee, but I can certainly be a factor and that is one of my goals. Cquote2.svg
We are shooting our first California commercial on Saturday. It’s an elaborate production, and I’m hoping we’ll be running it on television in California. Hopefully it will catch on in a viral manner like some of our commercials have and maybe be kind of an introduction to California about my campaign years. So I’m going to be spending the next almost eight weeks all up and down my home state. I’m the only Californian on the ballot. And on our California ballot, it doesn’t list occupation. It just lists hometown and state. So I will have Laguna Beach, California as my ballot designation, which none of the other three remaining candidates, of course, are from here. So that’s an advantage. And we’ve got a lot of volunteers. A lot up and down the state. And I hope to register here. I’m going to be targeting three congressional districts, because the delegates are awarded by congressional district here. So I’m hopeful that I can pull out some delegates and be more of a factor in this race. The numbers obviously don’t add up for me to be the nominee, but I can certainly be a factor and that is one of my goals.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngAs you’ve said, it seems very likely that Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination. Might you support him in the general election?

Fred Karger: Well, I said that I’m very uncomfortable with anyone who signed this marriage pledge of the National Organization for Marriage. I asked him specifically to disavow that pledge. They just endorsed his candidacy yesterday. This is a very shady organization that is under investigation for money laundering in Maine. It has just been revealed by four unsealed documents by a federal judge that were subpoenaed from NOM of their devious and illegal activities. We now know that there have been illegal activities that have taken place by them. And I am uncomfortable with Mitt Romney as long as he is willing to connect with this very very questionable organization. And so I’m going to weigh the field. I am not going to make any decisions if he were to be our nominee as the Republican Party. I liked his dad a lot. I’m not quite there with Mitt Romney, but I’ll have to wait and see how things develop.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngYour best showing in the Republican primaries so far came in Puerto Rico last month. In terms of campaigning, what did you learn from that experience?

Fred Karger: Well, Puerto Rico has an open primary as did Michigan. I tend to do better in states with an open primary because Republicans that are voting in a primary tend to be far more conservative. So if they have heard of me and know that I’m an openly gay candidate that of course could eliminate a potential vote. So I like that. I like the fact that I got an enormous amount of attention down there.

Karger campaigning in Puerto Rico in March.
Image: Fred Karger.

Cquote1.svg The [Puerto Rican] media was very interested. I was endorsed by the number one radio talk show host in San Juan, Carmen Jovet, who had interviewed me on her show. Cquote2.svg

Puerto Rico is way behind the states in its support for gay civil rights. There’s a gay and lesbian center that’s only been open for one year, as opposed to the states where gay centers have been open for 25 or 30 years or more. So they are very much behind the times. But they are coming around. They are very grateful for my presence there. I got a lot of speaking engagements. The media was very interested. I was endorsed by the number one radio talk show host in San Juan, Carmen Jovet, who had interviewed me on her show. And she’s a very prominent media personality. And when there was a hurricane there, they got her to chair the foundation. We just spoke, having fun with it. I didn’t know that after that she would endorse me and that had a lot to do with it.

And we did things in Puerto Rico well: we campaigned in the big towns that were competitive right before the election; did a lot of speaking; a lot of meeting the voters; colleges that we’d go to all over. So we did a blitz there in six days that was successful and I was proud to beat Ron Paul. And of course, what Romney did, and what Santorum didn’t do was to listen to the voters and listen to the citizens of Puerto Rico, which you have to have respect for their heritage. And to come in and say this whole territory must learn English in order to be eligible for statehood is just not smart, spin politics. So I listened. I do. And I respect their heritage especially years of Spanish speaking that can’t expect to transform that as a bargain, a negotiating bargain for statehood. So I just had regard for the culture and the people, and responded to what I think was a good fit for Puerto Rico. But I also, along with statehood, which is still a mixed issue down there, a lot of the younger people want independence than even want statehood, but I’m open to whatever that would be and to whatever the Puerto Ricans really would like to be for themselves.

Political views

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngLet’s get into policy. You proposed that the voting age be reduced. How might you convince Republicans to support this when polls suggest that the youth generally support Democrats?

Fred Karger: Well, it’s something that I’ve not advocated as a particular constitutional amendment. I suggested that we should hold a discussion for lowering the voting age to 16 or 17. And that’s one of the things I’ve been doing for our campaign. And in regards to your question, the Republican Party is doing everything it can to drive away this younger generation. Candidates like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney are doing and saying things that are so anathema to younger voters. Ron Paul is doing the opposite. That’s why he gets 6400 people at UCLA. He gets thousands of students coming out. And I applaud him because he’s the only one who has the foresight to realize there’s a future to this Republican Party beyond November.

Karger speaking with youth in Puerto Rico.
Image: Fred Karger.

So one of the things I’ve tried to do, I’ve tried to reach out to students in high school and college. I’ve spoken at a lot of high schools. There are 18 year old voters there. And I’m looking to the future of the Republican Party. And I think we need to do and say things and put the policies that will appeal to young voters. Currently jobs is the number one issue and I talk about that. That’s a concern of younger voters in high school, college, wherever they are. So we just need to be a little more aware of that generation, so if there are 16 or 17 year old voters someday, they will be split, and that we will have welcomed them as Ronald Reagan did. There’s a 70 year old man that just completely brought back a younger generation to the Republican Party that they had been driven away by Watergate. I know because I was a younger voter then who was working with then-Republicans to bring younger voters into the Republican Party. And if they think it’s tough now, it was ten times tougher then.
We need to be much more aware. Think out all of the ways to do it: to speak the language; to offer them the opportunity to participate; to teach them voting at a younger age in high school so that they get in more of a habit once out of high school and off to college or in workforce, and are less likely to become advantageous voters. I think we need to teach voting in high school. Bring candidates like myself, Congressional candidates, their own candidates from city race, into the high school and I think that’ll help people become better voters. And I also think it’ll also help a certain percentage stay in high school that may not ordinarily, cause we’re of course, losing a million high school students a year dropping out, and the 2 or 3 percent love politics and they’re learning from politicians. They may be less likely to drop out. It’s helping to then lessen that crisis.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngConsidering the Tenth amendment, should same sex marriage be a state issue?

Fred Karger: I am a strong advocate of states’ rights, but not on a civil rights issue like gay marriage. And had we left interracial marriage to the states, we know that would have been a long time and coming, and the Supreme Court interceded and made that the law of the land. And I think on this issue that the court will ultimately decide that this issue should not be left to the voters. That is a gigantic mistake. A legislature are better. Some have more courage. But it’s too hot a political issue. It should be a legal issue. And I’m looking forward to the Nevada case for that to work its way up to federal courts and then for the California Perry case. I think those two will be very important in making all the different people equal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow can high energy costs be reduced?

Karger during the 2012 presidential election.
Image: Gage Skidmore.
Theodore Roosevelt during the 1912 presidential election.
Fred Karger: Well, that’s a very complex issue. Talking about certainly making America energy independent is number one. Conservation, which no one else is talking about, and that I am beating my chest about is so important. There’s so much energy that is wasted in this country. Not just driving, but in our public buildings and homes, where you go into a movie theater in the summer and it’s freezing or the airports. There’s so many public places where we should not have government mandates, but certainly building owners and managers to take responsibility to really make it comfortable, and to set thermostats at a comfortable temperature. And personal responsibility, there’s so many light-timers that go all night. I grew up with parents who were children of the depression and World War II. So I couldn’t leave my room without turning the light off. And I think we need to instill those values. We got to stop releasing so much energy. That will be a big contribution toward keeping costs down.
Cquote1.svg I’m more like a Theodore Roosevelt, who took on a lot of corporations and was controversial at those acts he did Cquote2.svg
But the oil companies need, and I know there’s many factors in the high gas prices, but it’s no coincidence that ExxonMobil makes record profits when gas prices at the pump go up. You can parallel those two. I’ve taking on ExxonMobil. I’m not afraid to do that. I’m more like a Theodore Roosevelt, who took on a lot of corporations and was controversial at those acts he did, very different of course a hundred years ago, monopolies and things like that. But I have no problems with going after big oil, and fine companies that have made a trillion dollars of profit off of the consumers, who are struggling right now with of course the trickle effect of high gasoline prices [which] affects the entire economy, not just at the pump. So there’s a lot of ways. I’ve got some on my website, the issues tab. I talk about ways to bring this down. But those are two areas certainly where we need to pick it up: conservation and making America energy independent.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngThis is my last question. On your website you say that “Israel must be defended at all costs.” Does this apply to other nations as well, and if not, why should one nation be given preferential treatment over others?

Fred Karger: Well, Israel is our number one ally. Israel’s enemies are our enemies. We have Syria and Iran, and Palestinians for now, Hezbollah. We have a common way of government. We should defend them. They’re a smaller country that’s in a very unstable part of the world. Our mutual interests are at stake. But all of our great allies, most of which are stronger because they’ve been around longer, but when we have friends, just as we do in life, you look out for your friends and you defend your friends and help your friends out. And we have members all over the world and I think we need to always look out for those allies. Israel just happens to be in a more dangerous spot than Australia or Great Britain, or the other allies we have of like minded democracies around the world.



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April 21, 2009

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom to run for governor of California

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom to run for governor of California

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

California
Other stories from California
…More articles

A map of California

Flag of California.svg

The mayor of San Francisco, California, Gavin Newsom, has announced via Twitter that he will be running for the state’s governor in the 2010 elections. He will be in the running to replace California’s current governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

File:MayorNewsom.jpg

Gavis Newsom, 2008.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

“It’s official- running for Gov of CA. Wanted you to be the first to know. Need your help,” said Newsom on his official Twitter profile. Newsom also posted a video on his campaign website which was launched earlier this morning.

“I hope that you will join our campaign that has set out to change California, because I know we can do better. We can’t afford to keep returning to the same old, tired ideas and expect a different result,” says Newsom in his campaign video.

Newsom promises more green technology, local economic stimulus and universal healthcare. His video doesn’t mention anything about same-sex marriage, but Newsom is an active opponent of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriages.

Newsom has been San Francisco’s mayor since 2003 and was re-elected in 2007.



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March 5, 2009

California Supreme Court defers ruling on same-sex marriage ban

California Supreme Court defers ruling on same-sex marriage ban

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

After hours of hearing arguments in the case questioning the legality of the ban on same-sex marriages in California, in the United States, the state’s Supreme Court deferred ruling on the ban, known as Proposition 8. The court could issue a ruling in the next 90 days.

Opponents of the ban were fighting to have the law overturned— saying it was unconstitutional for the state to have banned same-sex marriages. Californians voted in November 2008 to ban same-sex marriages, leaving the nearly 20,000 married same-sex couples wondering if their marriages, which were legal at the time they were married, would be voided.

“Prop 8 opponents would have the court choose between the inalienable right to marry and the right of the people to change the constitution as they see fit, and what I’m picking up from the oral argument in this case is this court should willy-nilly disregard the will of the people,” Justice Joyce Kennard said while addressing Shannon Minter, the lawyer representing the opponents of the ban.

One of the petitioners in the case against Proposition 8, Robin Tyler, told Reuters that she thinks “they [the court] are going to uphold our marriages and they are going to uphold Proposition 8, and it’s a loss.”

In June 2008, the state supreme court ruled that the ban was unconstitutional. Between that time, and November 2008, 18,000 same-sex couples were legally married in California. Currently in the United States, same-sex marriages are only legal in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

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January 30, 2009

Proposition 8 donors to be named

Proposition 8 donors to be named – Wikinews, the free news source

Proposition 8 donors to be named

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Friday, January 30, 2009

A federal judge has ruled that people who gave money to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban gay marriage will have to be named.

U.S. district judge Morrison England Jr. agreed with a local court that California’s 1974 Political Reform Act on political disclosure, which requires that the names of people and organizations donating over US$100 to political causes be recorded and published, applies to the Proposition 8 campaign. Proposition 8 advocates had argued that donors would be put at risk of harassment if their details were published. The state had already published a list of donors online but held back from disclosing “late donors” who had given money in the final few weeks of the campaign or after the vote had taken place.

Actress Whoopi Goldberg protests against Proposition 8 in New York
Image: David Shankbone.

Pro-Proposition 8 campaigners had said that a 1982 US Supreme Court ruling to protect narrow interest groups could apply to donors. State lawyers argued that the exemption could not apply to a large, well-funded and vocal campaign such as the one backing Proposition 8. If the Supreme Court’s exemption was applied to this campaign, they argued, then it would effectively exempt most if not all campaigns from disclosure laws. Pro-Proposition 8 groups are still deciding whether to appeal to higher courts.

Californian voters approved Proposition 8 on the same day as the general election in November, overturning an earlier state supreme court ruling that opened marriage up to same-sex partners statewide. According to Wikipedia’s article on same-sex marriage in California, 4,037 same-sex marriage licences were issued in the period June to November 2008. Several celebrities took the opportunity to marry their partners before the Proposition passed, including George Takei and Ellen DeGeneres.



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November 13, 2008

Protesters demonstrate in front of Latter-day Saint temple in L.A.

Protesters demonstrate in front of Latter-day Saint temple in L.A.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

More than 1,000 protesters showed up to demonstrate in front of the Los Angeles temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Friday, November 7, to protest the church’s involvement with the passing of Proposition 8. The proposition passed with 52% support, and would amend the California constitution to ban gay marriage, which was recently made legal by court order. The temple is located in Los Angeles, California.

According to a member of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Temple grounds were vandalized by protesters, and a group of apparently non-LDS Hispanic women attempting to remove critical signs from temple grounds were attacked and beaten before police stepped in and arrested those involved.

A breakdown of support for Proposition 8 in California

Protesters have claimed that the church’s institution made small cash donations to the Proposition 8 campaign, though no evidence has yet surfaced to corroborate the claims. It appears that many members of the church (also known as Mormons) donated to the “Yes on 8” campaign.

Jeff Flint, a strategist for Yes on 8, has criticized the protest and related negative media placed on those Latter-day Saints who supported Proposition 8: “I am appalled at the level of Mormon-bashing that went on during the Proposition 8 campaign and continues to this day. If this activity were directed against any other church, if someone put up a website that targeted Jews or Catholics in a similar fashion for the mere act of participating in a political campaign, it would be widely and rightfully condemned.”

In addition to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the proposition was supported by other Christian groups, the Hispanic population of California by a slight majority, and overwhelmingly by California’s African-American population. Protests have targeted these communities as well. F. Damion Barela, who had obtained a gay marriage to his husband five months ago, said, “I’m disappointed in the Californians who voted for this.” In particular, he was bothered that some ethnic groups supported the ban: “To them I say, ‘Shame on you because you should know what this feels like.'”

Protests of up to 20,000 people were held in other cities throughout the country in opposition to Proposition 8, and some Latter-day Saints have left the church over the matter. Several other churches have been vandalized by protesters since its passage.

Similar constitutional provisions were passed in Florida and Arizona during the election, and such provisions already exist in 27 other states, with a further 15 featuring statutory bans on same sex marriages.



Related news

  • “Gay marriage banned in three states; other ballot measures decided” — Wikinews, November 8, 2008

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