Archive for December, 2009

Michelangelo Signorile on Five for Fred

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Michelangelo Signorile can be heard on Sirius OutQ 109

Click the arrow above to hear Sirius XM Satellite Radio talk show host Michelangelo Signorile talk about the FiveForFred campaign.

The Michelangelo Signorile Show broadcasts Monday through Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET (11-3 PT), on Sirius OutQ 109, and can be heard across the continental United States and all of Canada. OutQ on Sirius Satellite Radio is America’s only 24/7 radio station from and for the LGBT community. Listen in at any time by getting a free three-day pass.

News Coverage: Campaign Clarity Needed

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Check out this excellent Bangor Daily News Editorial (12/26/09) calling out NOM for violating Maine’s election laws. NOM did not report any of its contributor’s names, and it gave $1.9 million (64% of all money raised) to defeat same-sex marriage in last month’s election. Then NOM sued Maine election officials to invalidate all campaign reporting:

Campaign Clarity Needed

By BDN Staff

A lawsuit involving a national group opposed to gay marriage has far-reaching implications for the state’s campaign reporting and financing laws, especially since the National Organization for Marriage said it plans to advocate for supporters of “traditional marriage” in next year’s election.

In October, NOM filed suit in federal court claiming Maine’s referendum campaign finance reporting requirements were overly burdensome and, therefore, unconstitutional. Earlier this month, the group amended its complaint to U.S. District Court to include candidate elections. If its challenge is upheld, it would leave a big hole in the state’s reporting requirements and its Clean Election financing program, which relies on candidates’ reporting of donations to determine whether matching funds are warranted.

The group, based in New Jersey, contributed nearly $2 million to Stand for Marriage Maine, which successfully advocated a repeal of the state law allowing same-sex couples to marry. NOM has refused to disclose to state election officials where its money came from. State law requires groups or individuals that raise more than $5,000 to support or oppose a ballot question to register as a ballot question committee. Anyone who donates more than $100 to the committee must be identified in campaign finance reports.

The Commission on Governmental Ethics and Elections Practices is investigating whether NOM violated state campaign finance laws by refusing to name its donors in connection with Question 1 on the Nov. 3 ballot.

Attorneys for the group have argued that listing donors would discourage contributions because people would be afraid of retaliation.

Gay marriage is an emotional issue, but citing fear as a reason to flout the law is an unpersuasive argument, especially when thousands of donors are named — complete with their home or businesses addresses and occupations — on campaign finance reporting forms filed by groups on both sides of Question 1. National groups have been involved in many contentious campaigns since Maine’s reporting requirements have been in place. None has refused to comply with the law.

At the same time, there are varying levels of compliance. Some groups simply list “fund transfer” as a source of funding.

NOM’s argument that it raises money nationally to be used in many different states, rather than for a campaign in a specific state, is more complex. A close look at the group’s fundraising literature will clarify whether it was raising money for the Yes on 1 campaign in Maine. If it was, reporting is necessary, as it should also be for other national groups that contribute to Maine campaigns.

It may be that lawmakers need to reconsider Maine’s ballot committee law to clarify how such national fundraising should be handled, especially since it could influence Clean Election funding next year.

The bottom line is that Maine voters should be able to know who is trying to influence their vote.

News Release: Mormon Congressman Leads Effort to Overturn DC Gay Marriage Law

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Fred Karger
December 22, 2009
619-592-2008

Utah Congressman Chaffetz Leads Effort to Dump Recently Enacted Gay Marriage Law in Washington, DC

Salt Lake City, UT — Mormon freshman Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), ranking Republican on the Congressional subcommittee that oversees Washington, DC, is now trying to undue the District’s new law that allows same-sex marriage in our nation’s capitol. Congress has 30 days to overturn that law.

The president of the National Organization for Marriage, which was created by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) two years ago to fight gay marriage throughout the country, announced last week that they would go to the ballot and to the courts to overturn marriage equality in Washington, DC. Well, she left out a third avenue, going to the Congress to veto the new law. Maggie Gallagher, NOM’s President said that they would defeat it, and here they go again.

NOM is very effective. They were responsible for Proposition 8 qualifying for the California ballot last year which ended same-sex marriage there. They were successful in overturning Maine’s gay marriage law last month, having contributed 64% of all money raised ($1.9 million of the $3 million) in that state. Now they have set their sights on our most recent victory in Washington, DC.

“We have been tracking NOM from day one, and while effective, they do all this secretly and utilizing highly questionable practices,” said Fred Karger, founder of Californians Against Hate. “Maggie and executive director Brian Brown are single handidly fighting same-sex marriage in 11 sates, and now Washington, DC, all by themselves — truly amazing.”

“That is why we have called for investigations in California and Maine into their fund-raising, which is shrouded in mystery. In Maine they refused to disclose the names of thier contributors even after being ordered to do so by Federal Judge D. Brock Hornby and Maine attorney General Janet T. Mills.

Both California and Maine are investigating NOM right now, and the California investigation has included the Mormon Church. It has been ongoing for the past 13 months (FPPC Case # 08/735).”

“Now we need a Congressional investigation of the National Organization for Marriage as they come charging into out nation’s capitol to attempt to undo marriage equality there. They must no longer go unchecked,” demanded Karger.

Read the story about Rep. Chaffetz from the Mormon Church owned Salt Lake City Deseret News:

Chaffetz, family differ on gay marriage

By Lee Davidson

Published: Monday, Dec. 21, 2009 11:32 p.m. MST
SALT LAKE CITY — Gay rights groups are flabbergasted that Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is leading a charge to block gay marriage in the District of Columbia, since his family has some interesting gay and liberal ties.

After all, his father, John Chaffetz, wrote a complimentary book about a gay couple that competed in the “Amazing Race” reality TV show. And liberal, former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis (whose wife, Kitty, was once married to Chaffetz’s father) has been helping the young Chaffetz to pass legislation.

So gay groups are questioning in widespread Internet posts why Chaffetz, with such ties, could do such a thing. They wish aloud that he would listen to his more liberal relations, and stop his pledges to try to overturn a D.C. ordinance signed by its mayor last week to allow gay marriage.

Chaffetz told the Deseret News on Monday that such groups should not hold their breath for that.

“I see my position more as a support of traditional marriage than it is an attack on gay marriage. I think I have a core moral belief in traditional marriage, and I’m willing to stand up and stand tall for traditional marriage,” he said.

Although Chaffetz is a freshman, he is the ranking Republican on the House subcommittee that oversees District of Columbia operations. So he said it is part of that job to announce GOP opposition to the new ordinance, and vow to fight it since federal law gives Congress 30 days to overturn any ordinance passed by the D.C. Council.

“It has led to a whole series of very aggressive personal attacks, but go ahead, I don’t care. It doesn’t phase me much,” Chaffetz said. Many of the attacks draw attention to how his father wrote the book “Gay Reality” about the gay couple of Bill Bartek and Joe Baldassare who gained attention as reality show contestants. And attacks point out Chaffetz’s ties to Dukakis.

But Chaffetz explains, “I am the only member of my family who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a convert.” He joined the church two months after he graduated from Brigham Young University, where he had been recruited as a football placekicker.

Because of that church background, Chaffetz said he is more conservative than many in his extended family, although he said it does include both Republicans and Democrats.

“My younger brother Alex is about as conservative as it gets, other than maybe Attila the Hun,” he joked. “My older half-brother (John Dukakis — who changed his last name from Chaffetz to match that of his famous stepfather, Michael Dukakis) is about as liberal as it gets.”

That doesn’t mean that Chaffetz hasn’t sought out the opinion of his half-brother, a former actor who had roles in such films as “Jaws 2″ and in such TV series as “Family Ties” and “Taxi.”

“I showed my brother John a draft of a campaign piece we prepared. And he said, ‘I disagree with everything you say here.’ And I thought, ‘We have success. We must be on to something,’” Chaffetz said.

In contrast, Chaffetz said his father is a “very conservative person,” his book about the gay couple notwithstanding. “I’ve talked to him about some things, but not about this (gay marriage).”

While Chaffetz is not biologically related to Michael Dukakis, Chaffetz said they became well acquainted and spent time together because John Dukakis would spend the school year with Dukakis and John’s mother, Kitty, and the summers with his father and his half-brothers, Jason and Alex, and their mother.

Rep. Chaffetz even headed the Dukakis campaign at BYU in 1988, before his conversions to be a Republican and a Mormon. He said he and Dukakis still keep in close contact, and the former Massachusetts governor has helped him make some Democratic contacts needed to do such things as pass House legislation to ban use of “whole-body imaging” machines at airports.

“One of the interesting phenomena is that Michael Dukakis has been very helpful in opening a lot of doors that wouldn’t have been opened otherwise. Some very liberal Democrats have given me the time of day that wouldn’t normally have done so, particularly some of the people from Massachusetts,” Chaffetz said.

“He (Dukakis) is a passionate believer in good public service, and considers party secondary. He wants to do some things that I could never support, but I respect him,” Chaffetz said. “I talked to him the day before yesterday. We keep in contact.”

But, again, Chaffetz said he believes strongly in defending traditional marriage, and no one should expect differently even if he has some liberal friends and family. “I’m my own guy on this one,” he said.

Still, the Utah Log Cabin Republicans on Monday called for him to change, issuing a statement that it wants him to “get back to tending the issues we sent him to Washington to represent, and stop trying to force others to adhere to his misguided interpretation of what makes a real marriage.”