You just won’t believe some of the names on this list of prominent conservatives and Republicans who want same-sex couples to have the legal right to marriage.
Let’s be honest. The Republican Party has been home to almost if not all of the most anti-gay politicians, religious leaders, activists, and power brokers in America. Which is not to say all Republicans are anti-gay, but when being anti-gay is embedded in the actual text of your party’s platform, there’s little room to claim your party supports equality.
So it should come as both a huge surprise and be viewed as a monumental event that over 300 prominent Republicans, some of whom have publicly spoken out against same-sex marriage or LGBT civil rights, have signed on to an amicus brief sent to the U.S. Supreme Court today.
As TIME points out, the brief states its signers “share the view that laws that bar same-sex couples from the institution of civil marriage, with all its attendant profoundly important rights and responsibilities, are inconsistent with the United States Constitutionâ€™s dual promises of equal protection and due process.”
Who’s on that list?
Here are a few of the more than 300 names:
Ken Mehlman, whose name is listed as the person behind the group of conservatives.
Former EBay CEO and GOP nominee for California GovernorÂ Meg Whitman
Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal
Former Bush Dep. Sec. of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
Former U.S. Senator of Missouri and ordainedÂ Episcopal priestÂ John C. Danforth
Ronald ReaganÂ White House Chief of StaffÂ Kenneth M. Duberstein
Sen. John McCain’s former Press Secretary Crystal BentonÂ
Sen. John McCain’s formerÂ National Spokesman Tucker Bounds
Gov. Scott Walker’s former Deputy CampaignÂ Manager Dan Blum
Former U.S. Congresswoman Mary Bono
Komen for the Cure founder and formerÂ US Ambassador to Hungary under George W. Bush Nancy Brinker
Alex Castellanos, CNN contributor and GOP strategist
U.S Senator Susan Collins (Maine)
BushÂ National Security AdvisorÂ Stephen Hadley
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (Illinois)
CNN’s Ana Navarro
Former Pennsylvania Gov. and Homeland Security Dir. Tom Ridge
CongresswomanÂ Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Mitt Romney Press Sec. Andrea SaulÂ
Perhaps one of the most interesting signatories is Ben Domenech, co-founder of RedState, now run by anti-gay religious right radical Erick Erickson, and co-founder of The Federalist, a conservative website that has published extremelyÂ anti-gay articles.
The one take away from the list is it includes many people behind leading anti-gay politicians, like Mitt Romney and John McCain. But it also includes many old guard Republicans, who grew up in a GOP decades before the politics of ignorance were embraced by the Tea Party. And it includes many younger Republicans, 61 percent of whom support same-sex marriage.
One final note about the list: It is extensive and there are many on it who likely deserve to be listed above. We opted to include some of the more surprising names, along with some of the better-known names. There are others who deserve recognition, and we offer our sincere thanks to each and every one.
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“She is the Worst”: AZ Senator Kyrsten Sinema Leaves the Democratic Party
After causing years of obstruction within her own party, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has announced she’s leaving the Democratic Party to register as an Independent.
“I know some people might be a little bit surprised by this, but actually, I think it makes a lot of sense,” she said in a Thursday CNN interview.
“I’ve never fit neatly into any party box. I’ve never really tried. I don’t want to,” she continued. “Removing myself from the partisan structure… [is] true to who I am and how I operate. I also think it’ll provide a place of belonging for many folks across the state and the country, who also are tired of the partisanship.”
In a natural extension of my service since I was first elected to Congress, I have joined the growing numbers of Arizonans who reject party politics by declaring my independence from the broken partisan system in Washington and formally registering as an Arizona Independent. 1/3 pic.twitter.com/jUQHAeuxym
— Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) December 9, 2022
The move will make her the third Independent Senator in addition to Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Angus King (I-ME). It also means that if she runs for re-election, she will face a Democratic and Republican opponent,
Contrary to her belief, Sinema’s move isn’t even a little bit surprising. Over the last two years, she has consistently alienated herself from her Democratic colleagues by obstructing votes on key Democratic legislative priorities.
She has given speeches on why it’s important to uphold Jim Crow-era filibuster rules in the Senate, even though the rules helped block important voting rights legislation and more.
Her antics, and her refusal to help stump for Democratic candidates during the latest midterm election cycle, have led to her being censured by the Arizona Democratic Party and low approval ratings amongst state Democratic voters. Top Democratic donor groups had also pulled their endorsements and funding from Sinema.
Twitter users were unimpressed with Sinema’s announcement.
Kyrsten Sinema switched to being an independent because she was never really a Dem and couldn’t survive an Arizona Primary. She also waited until after the GA runoffs so the Dems can’t celebrate 51 anymore. None of this is surprising but it is confirmation that she is the worst.
— brittany packnett cunningham. (@MsPackyetti) December 9, 2022
Don’t overthink Sen. Kyrsten Sinema switching from Democrat to Independent.
She’s not driven by ideology.
She’s driven by which corporations and lobbyists are giving her the most money — which makes her an elected mercenary, not an elected representative of the people.
— Melanie D'Arrigo (@DarrigoMelanie) December 9, 2022
In the most shocking, surprising, and unexpected news in modern American political history, Senator Kyrsten Sinema is leaving the Democratic Party, which makes sense because 1) she was never really a Democrat, and 2) she can’t win a Dem primary in 2024. So Sinema being Sinema… https://t.co/3FoSZM8Mqu
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) December 9, 2022
Think about all the people in Arizona who worked so hard to elect Krysten Sinema as a Democrat only to be stabbed in the back now?!! I wish Sinema would resign so that once Democrat Katie Hobbs is sworn in as governor she could pick a Democrat for the seat!!
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) December 9, 2022
‘The Hypocrisy Is Just Absolutely Insane’: Morning Joe Slams GOP ‘Idiots’ for Criticizing Brittney Griner Release
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough bashed Donald Trump and other Republicans for their “absolutely insane” hypocrisy on the prisoner swap that returned WNBA star Brittney Griner from a Russian penal colony.
GOP lawmakers and conservative media attacked President Joe Biden for agreeing to free Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for Griner, who had been convicted of possessing cannabis oil, and not former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who was convicted of spying. The “Morning Joe” host ripped their complaints.
“The hypocrisy is just absolutely insane,” Scarborough said. “I mean, the same Republicans that were criticizing Joe Biden for not bringing Paul Whelan home failed to place blame on the man who was actually in the White House when Whelan was arrested illegally, jailed illegally. Why didn’t Donald Trump do anything in 2018 to get Paul Whelan home? Why didn’t he do anything in 2019 to get Paul Whelan home? Why didn’t Donald Trump do anything in 2020 to get Paul Whelan home? He was praising Vladimir Putin the entire time, why not actually call his buddy and ask him to release an American? I guess because he just didn’t give a damn.”
“Despite celebrating the releases of other Americans imprisoned while he was in office, Donald Trump didn’t publicly utter Whelan’s name even once as president,” Scarborough continued. “This is according to a review of public remarks and tweets, carried out by The Independent. Trump clearly had the power to negotiate a prisoner swap deal, however, never was this evident in 2020, when he negotiated with, get this, not with his friend Putin to get Paul Whelan home. He didn’t give a damn that Putin arrested Whelan and let him rot in jail. Instead, no, he was negotiating with the Taliban, and he freed up 5,000 Taliban terrorists. What did he get in exchange? Nothing, he got nothing in exchange and he wanted to actually invite the Taliban, the people who actually allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen, to be launched from their country, he invited them on Sept. 11 to Camp David.”
“When these idiot, and they are total idiots, when these idiots going around talking about Joe Biden being a bad negotiator, they are literally talking in defense of with Donald Trump — the biggest loser, the worst negotiator we have ever had,” Scarborough added. “He falls in love with dictators in North Korea, he completely kowtows to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, and he doesn’t even give a damn about Paul Whelan, lets him rot in jail for three years while Biden and [secretary of state Tony] Blinken and this administration are working their tails off to try to get him home.”
‘Don’t Say Gay’ Florida GOP Lawmaker Quits One Day After Pleading Not Guilty to Federal Felony Fraud Charges
Joe Harding, the Florida Republican state representative who authored the highly-controversial and some say unconstitutional “Don’t Say Gay” law has just resigned, one day after pleading “not guilty” and assuring his constituents on social media he is working “for a fair and just resolution” to federal felony fraud and money laundering charges.
Harding’s resignation also comes one day after he was stripped of his committee assignments, and is effective immediately, Florida Politics reports.
The charges involve a COVID-related Small Business Administration loan for $150,000, according to the Dept. of Justice, which notes if convicted on all charges he could get 35 years in prison.
“I want the public and my constituents to know that I fully repaid the loan and cooperated with investigators as requested,” Harding told his constituents via Facebook on Wednesday. “On advice from counsel, I will be unable to say anything more specific about the legal proceedings until a later date and refer any questions or concerns related to this matter to my attorney. I ask that you keep me and my family in your prayers as we work for a fair and just resolution. Thank you, and may God bless you.”
Also on Wednesday Harding shuttered his Twitter account.
In another statement Harding wrote: “To my many colleagues that have reached out to me, including many I have deep policy disagreements with, thank you. It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve alongside you for the past two years.”
Florida Politics notes Harding ended his statement with a bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11-12. That verse can have several different meanings depending on the version of the Bible.
Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, responded to news of Harding’s resignation via social media: “So much harm to students, parents and teachers because of his raw political ambitions. He slandered entire communities and trafficked in lie after lie that has emboldened violent bigotry. He will have his day in court but his legacy is already a despicable one.”
Harding is not the only family member accused of criminal acts.
“Harding’s indictment follows a September guilty plea from his brother-in-law, Patrick Walsh,” Florida Politics notes. “As reported by Fresh Take Florida, Walsh pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering charges connected to his receipt of nearly $8 million in disaster relief loans.”
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