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RAMALLAH, West Bank ?? President Obama told Palestinians they “deserve an end to occupation” and an “independent state of their own” during a visit Thursday to a territory that Palestinians want as a nation.
Later, back in Israel, Obama said the Jewish state is at a crossroads and must help create an independent Palestinian state for the secure future of Israel. He said Israelis could not expect to remain safe without peace because “extremists” thrive on conflict.
“It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own,” he told hundreds of Israeli students in a speech in Jerusalem. “Palestinians have a right to be free people in their own land.”
Following a two-hour visit with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, Obama’s asserted that the borders for a Palestinian the state can only be settled through negotiations with Israel and that protect the national security of the Jewish state. He proposed no initiatives of his own to resolve the matter.
His visit was greeted by small protests in the West Bank and rockets fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza into Israel. The rockets landed in a town in southern Israel but did not cause any injuries.
Hoping to move the Middle East peace process forward, Obama flew by helicopter Thursday the short distance from Jerusalem to Ramallah, the seat of Palestinian government. Obama was met by Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ longtime peace negotiator.
It was the first time Obama had been to the West Bank as president, a territory conferred limited state status by the United Nations last November.
In a news conference held with Obama, Abbas said that peace was “possible” and “necessary,” but he also said that it would not be achieved through wars and settlements — or through violence. He said that the people of Palestine aspire to their rights.
Obama said that “the only way to achieve that was through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians themselves.” He said that it was important not to give up on the search for peace.
Palestinian protesters complained that Obama has done little to pressure Israel to cave on the issues that have led to a stalemate, such as where to draw the borders for the new state and which Jewish communities in the West Bank, known as settlements, should be made part of Israel proper.
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GOP Senator Now Supports Gay Marriage After Son Comes Out
“As Rob Portman demonstrated Friday, coming out in support of gay marriage, it's one thing when it's other people's kids. Other people did not raise them cor…
Republican Senator Rob Portman may not be a sign-holding member of the Westboro Baptist Church, but hes still among the least likely conservative politicians to come out in favor of gay rights: Portman previously supported a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act and championed a bill prohibiting gay couples from adopting.
But this week, the Ohio Senator announced that hes had a change of heart; in light of his sons recent coming out, Portman declared hes now very much in favor of gay marriage.
In an op-ed penned for The Columbus Dispatch this week, the senator discussed the rationale behind his decision:
I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldnt deny them the opportunity to get married, he said.
He added, Knowing that my son is gay prompted me to consider the issue from another perspective; that of a dad who wants all three of his kids to lead happy, meaningful lives with the people they love…
Its a landmark moment in the fight for LGBT rights. Portman is the first sitting GOP senator to support marriage equality. His timing couldnt be more criticalor less coincidental.
In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court is scheduled to convene over the Defense of Marriage Act, which if struck down, would end the federal ban on gay marriage. The old Senator Portman would have campaigned hard to uphold it, but his kinder, gentler version could encourage thousands of his fellow conservatives to reconsider their positions.
At the very least, gauging public support of marriage equalityespecially when its being championed by a conservative leadermay be what the cause needs to tip the scales in favor of ending DOMA once and for all.
Ross Murray of GLAAD tells TakePart that Portmans decision to come out as a gay marriage advocate is a triumph for the cause. We are very happy because his voice is getting added to this continuingly growing list, Murray says. His coming out today in support of marriage equality is just more evidence that marriage equality is now a bipartisan issue, which it wasnt before.
Still, Portman is already taking heavy criticismand not from conservatives (though that is most likely forthcoming). His first opponents in battle this morning were progressive sites, which insist that the senators shame lies in the fact that he was only able to shift his position after his son revealed he was gay.
The Supreme Court is weighing major decisions on gay marriage and race that could roil the 2014 election beyond the debates in Washington over the federal budget, immigration and gun control.
Among the measures dominating the docket: the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) federal same-sex marriage ban, Californias Proposition 8 ballot initiative outlawing gay marriage, the affirmative action policy at the University of Texas, and a section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that requires some states and communities to clear voting changes with the federal government. The high-stakes decisions, expected in June, may force candidates in competitive races to take sides on divisive social issues. Religious conservatives and African-American voters are ready to mobilize if same-sex marriage bans or racial equality laws are overturned, potentially reshaping the mid-term electorate.
With everything coming down the pike, I think 2014 is going to be a culture election in a way we havent seen in a few years, said Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, director of social policy and politics at Third Way, a left-of-center think tank. With racial politics and gay rights swirling around at the same time, it will be interesting how Republicans and Democrats respond.
With fewer vulnerable Republicans on the ballot in 2014, the candidates who could be tripped up the most are the six red-state Democratic senators up for re-election: Kay Hagan in North Carolina, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Max Baucus in Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Tim Johnson in South Dakota. Re-election challengers may try to use social issues to lure these senators out of an economy-focused comfort zone that allows them to retain Democratic support and seek crossover votes from independents and moderate Republicans.
In one example of how a Supreme Court decision could permeate the national debate, Hatalsky noted that the word spouse appears 1,138 times in federal laws and regulations. Many of those references would end up before Congress if DOMA is overturned, giving opponents of same-sex marriage a last-ditch chance to raise religious objections — similar to those raised by opponents of the administrations new rules on insurance coverage of birth control. June is just the beginning, Hatalsky said. There will be so many opportunities after that for Republicans to try to limit the application of DOMA.
The Proposition 8 decision could be narrower and apply only to California. But if the Obama administrations argument wins the day, eight states that currently allow civil unions would have to sanction same-sex marriage, bringing the total to 17 states with marriage equality.
If the court can overturn a popular vote of the people, I think youll find a lot of outrage that would motivate people to go the polls in 2014, said Tom McClusky, vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council. It will be very hard for James Carville or Karl Rove to say the election is just about the economy.
The public’s concerns about jobs and national security have mostly overshadowed social issues in recent elections. Support for gun control played a role in Democratic defeats in 1994, after President Clinton signed the assault weapons ban, and in 2000, when Vice President Al Gore ran for president. In 2006, the inflammatory debate over immigration reform helped Democrats broaden their appeal to Hispanic voters and take back Congress. Religious conservatives came out in droves in 2004, when gay marriage bans were on the ballot in 11 states. The state where they made the biggest difference was Ohio, which proved pivotal to Bushs re-election. The gay marriage ban won with 61 percent of the vote, while Bush barely eked out a victory.
Since that election, Family Research Councils nationwide e-mail list has grown from about 400,000 people to nearly 2 million, McClusky said. Were able to reach people much quicker and mobilize much quicker, he said. As people see the building blocks of our society crumbling, our organization has grown.
Democrats are skeptical of a surge in voting by social conservatives. A majority of Americans said they supported gay marriage in a Gallup poll last year. Dozens of prominent Republicans signed a legal brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex couples in the DOMA case. Attitudes toward gay marriage are changing faster than any other issue in the history of polling, so I think what the Supreme Court does will be less consequential, said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman.
GAY Marriage , I am For it , Lets get it legalized Now
You can not say straight people stay married Gay People have thier pride Pride to be the same as straight people Lets make it happen
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“This could be a perfect storm to get out the Democratic base,” Gusciora said.
Christie, who vetoed the gay-marriage bill a year ago, has urged lawmakers to put the question to voters.
“On this issue, I am comfortable with the people of the state of New Jersey making the decision,” Christie said Tuesday in Lavallette. “If they want to put it on the ballot, put it on the ballot.”
Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat who opposed gay marriage in 2010 but now supports it, has efused to put the question to voters. He has said same-sex marriage is a civil-rights issue that does not belong on the ballot. But Sweeney, of Gloucester County, and Assembly Democratic Leader Lou Greenwald, of Camden County, recognize the difficulty of overriding Christie and have agreed to keep their options open, Gusciora said.
This displeases Troy Stevenson, who recently took over as head of Garden State Equality, the state’s largest gay-rights organization. Stevenson, who worked in Maine in 2009 on the losing side of a gay-marriage referendum, said the effort to win marriage equality by ballot initiative is divisive, expensive, and rough on families headed by same-sex partners.
“We still believe override is the immediate goal,” he said.
The Democratic-led Legislature has never overridden a Christie veto. It would need a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and Assembly, which means some Republicans would have to be willing to cross the governor.
The effort will start in the Senate, where Sweeney will need to persuade 27 of 40 senators to support gay marriage. The Assembly would need yes votes from 54 of its 80 members.
Stevenson acknowledges that if the vote were held next week, the override would fail. But he holds out hope that an expected June ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage Act could bring new momentum – and votes – if the court rules as gay activists hope.
Three states – Maine, Maryland and Washington – approved gay marriage in ballot questions last November with President Obama at the top of the ticket.
The way things should be for Gay Marriage in America!
To all the people who are living in a lie, or blinded about the injustice that is our gay marriage situation right now. Please take a second to watch this video. Or if you agree that Marriage is a right we were ALL born with. Then I hope you will stand by me and everyone else that feels that right has been taken from them. ~With liberty and justice for ALL~
By: Kati Faupel
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The Democratic-led Senate delivered a Valentine’s Day victory to gay and lesbian couples today, passing legislation for the first time that would allow same-sex marriage in Illinois.
Illinois took a major step toward giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry Thursday, as the Democratic-led Senate handed advocates an early win after a fervent Valentine’s Day debate over sex and morals.
Now the high-profile social issue moves to a House divided on whether people of the same sex should be allowed to wed a question of equality for supporters and a matter of biblical proportions for opponents.
Illinois would become the 10th state to approve gay marriage if the bill makes it to the desk of Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who has vowed to sign it into law. The push for same-sex marriage is unfolding rapidly in Illinois, where the first civil union certificates were issued less than two years ago.
During a nearly two-hour, emotional debate, sponsoring Sen. Heather Steans urged colleagues to join her in a vote for the “history books” that would remove gay and lesbian couples from “second-class status.”
Same-sex partners want to marry for the same reasons as heterosexual couples, including for love, commitment and “shared responsibility with that one, unique, irreplaceable person,” said Steans, D-Chicago.
Buoyed by gains in November’s election, Democrats supplied all but one of the favorable votes on the 34-21 roll call, with two voting present and two members absent. The Republican-led opposition included Sens. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, each of whom may run in a March 2014 GOP gubernatorial primary in which conservative voters will hold sway.
Under the measure, marriage would be changed in state law from an act between a man and a woman to one between two people. Civil unions could be converted to marriages within a year of a same-sex marriage law going onto the books. The legislation would not require ministers to perform a marriage of gay couples, and church officials would not be forced to allow church facilities to be used by gay couples, Steans said.
Even so, Sen. Kyle McCarter and several other Republican colleagues feared the legislation would have far-reaching impact, predicting even the school curriculum in Illinois will be changed to recognize gay marriage.