"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."
On Sunday's Meet the Press, Vice President Joe Biden also expressed his support of both same-sex marriage and the sitcom Will and Grace.
In 2004, Louisiana voted to amend its Constitution to explicitly say marriage is "the union of one man and one woman." — a position consistently echoed by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal. Other leading Republicans, including former First Lady Laura Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, have spoken in support of same-sex marriage.
Earlier this year, at the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, more than 80 mayors of U.S. cities signed the Freedom to Marry pledge in support of same-sex marriage rights. Democratic Mayor Mitch Landrieu was not among them. Asked by Gambit's Alex Woodward whether Landrieu supported same-sex marriage, administration spokesman Ryan Berni said Landrieu supported civil unions, but would not elaborate on Freedom to Marry.
Tired of fielding what he says are “many inquiries concerning President Barack Obama’s citizenship and requests that the Secretary of State prevent his name from being place on the ballot in Louisiana’s Nov. 6 Congressional and Presidential elections,” SOS Tom Schedler is asking state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell for an opinion on the matter. Schedler’s plan was posted on his Facebook page March 13 via a letter signed by “William E. Crawford, Attorney, Department of State.”
“We have received a huge amount of letters, faxes and emails on the subject,” Brandee Patrick, Schedler’s public information officer, told The Independent this morning.
Amanda Larkins, Caldwell's communications director, said she wasn't aware of the request. Read the whole story at The Independent.
For Romney fans, this will be a great chance to get a close-up look at the candidate; the Clearview Rooms are two modest meeting spaces that are normally the home of baby and bridal shows.
"Boasting an elegant feel with over 3,000 square feet in two meeting rooms,"
"Boasting an elegant feel with over 3,000 square feet in two meeting rooms,"the combined spaces can accommodate up to 300 people, and provide direct access to both the food court and Serrano's restaurant. Just remember: no confetti, glitter, rice, birdseed, streamers or open flames are allowed. Oh, and no DJs.
The rally is is scheduled to start at 9 a.m and is open to the public. Under the cut: A list of Louisiana politicos who are supporting or who have endorsed Romney, according to the campaign.
Real Clear Politics has released the results of a phone poll taken yesterday (March 19) of 2,018 likely Republican primary voters in Louisiana, and it looks like the Pelican State is going for GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum big time. The poll's margin of error is +/-2.18 percent, and Santorum leads both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich by more than 10 points.
Some other interesting takeaways:
• Ron Paul and Buddy Roemer have the same amount of support in Louisiana: 3 percent. So does Rick Perry, who dropped out of the race weeks ago.
• Favorability ratings: 49 percent of those polled have a favorable impression of Romney. 72 percent find Santorum favorable.
Under the jump: a breakdown of the numbers, including a hypothetical Romney/Santorum matchup, and the answer to the question:
When making your choice to vote for the Republican candidate for President, are you more likely to vote for the candidate who best shares your position on the issues or the candidate who has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama?
Earlier in the day, Gingrich's wife Callista visited Harriet Tubman Charter School in Algiers, and the two had taken time for Friday lunch at Galatoire's (Newt: crab-and-asparagus omelet with oysters Rockefeller; Callista: bouillabaisse) before hitting the more modest restaurant on S. Carrollton Ave. Gingrich canceled a scheduled appearance in Slidell following the New Orleans stop in favor of an hour at the Audubon Zoo, but he was still planning a 6 p.m. at the Covington trailhead — which, he noted, has "the largest Ronald Reagan statue in the world."
The Gingriches entered and shook hands with College Inn owner John Blancher and his father while the sound system pumped out swamp pop ("Don't Take It So Hard" by Snooks Eaglin). Then Gingrich, wearing a string of green St. Patrick's beads, laid out his New Orleans bona fides, saying the trip "reminds us of the three years of living on Lowerline (Street)." Gingrich, of course, attended Tulane University from 1966-1970, earning a Ph.D in history, though he was then married to his first wife, Jackie.
(More under the jump, including video from the event... )
Following this month's conference of U.S. mayors announcing support for the Freedom to Marry initiative, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this week announced new provisions to "ensure that its core housing programs are open to all eligible persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."
HUD secretary Shaun Donovan said "the Obama Administration has viewed the fight for equality on behalf of the LGBT community as a priority and I’m proud that HUD has been a leader in that fight. ... With this historic rule, the Administration is saying you cannot use taxpayer dollars to prevent Americans from choosing where they want live on the basis sexual orientation or gender identity — ensuring that HUD’s housing programs are open, not to some, not to most, but to all.”
Provisions to protect LGBT communities in public housing previously only fell into the Fair Housing Act's considerations. Donovan announced the latest Equal Access to Housing rules on Saturday, Jan. 24 at the 24th National Gay and Lesbian Task Force “Creating Change” Conference. The ACLU called the announcement a "tremendous step forward" — the final ruling (as "Equal Access to Housing in HUD Programs — Regardless of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity") will be implemented 30 days after its publishing, next week.
HUD also is expanding its race and gender discrimination studies (performed every 10 years) with a study on LGBT discrimination in public housing.
In an appearance this morning with MSNBC's Chris Jansing, Rep. John Fleming, who represents Louisiana's 4th District, argued against President Barack Obama's proposed tax hike for the top 0.3% of American taxpayers. But one offhand remark by Fleming is already making the rounds of the leftward blogosphere:
Fleming said raising taxes on wealthy “job creators” is a terrible idea that kills jobs because many of these people are small business owners who pay taxes through personal income rates.
Fleming is himself a businesses owner, so Jansing asked, “If you have to pay more in taxes, you would get rid of some of those employees?” Fleming responded by saying that while his businesses made $6.3 million last year, after you “pay 500 employees, you pay rent, you pay equipment, and food,” his profits “a mere fraction of that” — “by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over.”
Fleming went on to describe Obama's plan as "class warfare."
In a preview of his upcoming appearance in the October-November issue of Vibe, rapper Lil Wayne opened up about Monday's debate, proving, hey! this guy has more on his mind than being an alien, skateboarding and avoiding lawsuits (and with good reason, probably):
"You learn from what the right-wing is doing and you take something from it,” Wayne tells VIBE. “I feel like as a people the most that we can do is better ourselves and learn. Then look at yourself and ask ‘Am I the person they’re talking about or am I not?’ You have to make the most of who you are because the Republicans are never going to like us."
(There's a Kayne echo in there.) Wayne also said conservative critics of President Barack Obama are more concerned with his skin color (“I don’t think I have to say that for everybody to know that,” Wayne said) than his policies.
Not sure what Wayne was hoping to gleam from the debate, however, unless it was about affordable health care ("Boo!"), dying alone ("Hell yeah!"), or maybe his ears perked during a misplaced reference to Kurt Cobain (Wayne's hero — and apparently Jon Huntsman is a fan, too).
Meanwhile: Tha Carter IV trumped Watch The Throne in their opening weeks and had a dozen songs hitting the Billboard Hot 100, and Wayne was nominated for a billion BET Hip Hop Awards. All of this, obviously, is leading up to Dwayne Michael Carter's announcement he'll run for office.
Sen. David Vitter's political reinvention from Family Values Crusader (d. 2007) to The Anti-Obama (2007-current) has served him well with his voting base: conservative Louisianans and Tea Party types. It hasn't always played well with the public at large (not that he particularly cares), but this week's anti-Obama stunt — proclaiming his intention to skip the president's jobs speech in favor of the Saints season opener, then being publicly truculent when Sen. Harry Reid pulled the rug out from under him — has earned him some unfavorable headlines far beyond the usual sphere of progressive and Democratic websites. Let's review:
Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson blasted Vitter for his remarks on Thursday, calling it "a sad commentary on the state of the Republican Party when a Republican senator whines about having to show a modicum of respect to the President of the United States, and do the job his constituents hired him - and are paying him - to do."
Jentleson argued that, in light of the sacrifices Americans are being forced to make in the face of a bad economy, "it's not too much to ask Senator Vitter to sacrifice a few hours on his couch at home to vote on a bill that will create jobs and spur small-business entrepreneur ship by streamlining our patent system."
"I'm sure he has a television in his office as well," he added.
Shame on you, Harry Reid, forcing David Vitter to act like a senator when it's clearly against his nature.
Philadelphia magazine: "ASS**** OF THE DAY: SENATOR DAVID VITTER"
I don't think the missing asterisks spell "ASSET," so that one will have to go below the jump. Plus: Jeff Crouere of BayouBuzz jumps to Vitter's defense ...
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