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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Wealthy Florida Community Got COVID Vaccine Before Anyone Else — Then the Governor Got a $250,000 Contribution
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may have scored big in the CPAC Straw Poll last weekend, but his citizens aren’t likely to appreciate wealthy communities being able to jump the line for the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Miami Herald reported Wednesday that Florida’s elderly are still struggling to sign up to get their first dose of the vaccine, but in a wealthy gated enclave in the Florida Keys, everyone was vaccinated in January.
A Jan. 22 newsletter sent to the Herald revealed that the Ocean Reef Club in north Key Largo despite the rest of the state struggling to get the vaccine, “Over the course of the last two weeks, the Medical Center has vaccinated over 1,200 homeowners who qualify under the State of Florida’s Governor’s current Order for those individuals who are 65 years of age or older.”
“We are fortunate to have received enough vaccines to ensure both the first and second for those vaccinated,” the newsletter message continued. “At this time, however, the majority of the State has not received an allocation of first doses of vaccines for this week and beyond, and the timing of any subsequent deliveries remains unclear.”
The Herald questioned whether the Republican donors who live in the area are behind the decision to give quick and easy access.
“In fact, the only people from Key Largo who gave to DeSantis’ political committee live in Ocean Reef,” said the report. “All 17 of them had given the governor contributions of $5,000 each through December 2020, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
One donor, in particular, gave Gov. DeSantis an extra $250,000 after the area got their vaccines in mid-January.
Trump DOJ Refused to Open Criminal Investigation Into Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao IG Says Was ‘Warranted’
The Trump Dept. of Justice refused an Inspector General’s request to open a criminal investigation into Transportation Secretary Elaine’s Chao’s possible misuse of her office. Chao resigned one day after the January 6 insurrection.
“A formal investigation into potential misuses of position was warranted,” Mitch Behm, the department’s deputy inspector general, said on Tuesday, The New York Times reports. The Times cites “a letter to House lawmakers, accompanying a 44-page report detailing the investigation and the findings of wrongdoing.”
The Inspector General’s report reveals the IG’s office had “referred its findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia on December 16, 2020, and the U.S. Department of Justice Public Integrity Section on December 17, 2020, both of which declined prosecution.”
In one instance, Chao had her staff pressure a store to do a repair job for her father. “Tell them I’m the secretary of transportation,” she said.
“The report said the Justice Department declined to investigate her promotion of her family’s shipbuilding business while serving as transportation secretary in the Trump administration,” the Times notes, suggestion there is no question Chao engaged in “promotion of her family’s shipbuilding business while serving as transportation secretary.”
The Times adds: “The inspector general’s investigation detailed a series of instances where Ms. Chao directed her staff to spend federal government time and resources to help with matters related to the shipbuilding company and her father.”
A search of the IG’s 44-page report reveals the word “father” appears 82 times.
Read the Times’ full report here.
Jim Jordan’s Campaign’s Funds Reporting Is Off by Millions and May Trigger an Investigation: Report
The campaign committee for U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is under scrutiny after apparent mismanagement of funds leading to an under-reporting of nearly $3 million over a two-year period. The problems are so severe “experts say that the dollar amount — errors totaling some $2.87 million — may trigger an FEC investigation,” according to The Daily Beast.
Over the past three days the Federal Election Commission has sent Jordan’s campaign committee ten notices “in reply to more than a dozen amended reports correcting errors that the campaign caught in a sweeping review of filings, going as far back as 2018. One of the filings discloses errors in spending and raising totalling $1,470,286.48.”
Jordan’s campaign has about a month to respond. Failure to “adequately respond” could result in enforcement action.
Campaign spokesperson Kevin Eichinger told The Daily Beast: “There was never any money missing from the account…In fact, the campaign’s cash balance is actually higher than previously listed on the campaign finance reports,” which is also not a good sign.
“The error occurred when the former campaign treasurer inadvertently double-reported certain fundraising expenses,” Eichinger adds. “When the error was discovered, the campaign hired an outside expert to conduct a comprehensive audit and file the appropriate amendments.”
Read the full report here.
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