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The marriage debate in D.C.

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Guess who's in charge of Washington D.C.?That'd be Sen. Sam Brownback. But it's not an easy fit.[The Kansas City Star][1] reports this morning: "D.C., meet the new boss: U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas."This new relationship between the two could take some getting used to on both sides."Brownback, a committed social conservative, recently took over the Senate subcommittee overseeing federal spending for Washington, a liberal city that went for Democrat John Kerry by a 9-to-1 ratio over President Bush in the 2004 election."Already, city officials and Brownback are on a collision course over the hot-button issue of gay marriage."Indeed, [The Washington Post][2] reported Thursday that Brownback was warning city officials against letting "validly married same-sex couples" file joint tax returns."'I was hopeful we weren't going to be confronting this issue. But it appears there will need to be a review and a discussion,' said Brownback, 48, a potential presidential candidate in 2008 who sponsored an unsuccessful effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriages last year."'I have been and continue to be a strong believer and protector of traditional marriage. I think it's an important issue for society and for the country,' Brownback said. 'This issue has now been moving across the country for several years, and I guess we will deal with something in D.C. now.'"That angers [Andrew Sullivan][3], the gay conservative � and columnist for Time magazine � who writes one of the country's more influential political blogs."I live in a city which has the highest proportion of gay people and gay couples in the country, after San Francisco," Sullivan, a D.C. resident, wrote Thursday on his Web site. "The issue of marriage rights is obviously pertinent; and our elected officials tend to be for it. ... to have our lives and the internal workings of our own families dictated by a Kansan who would never win more than a handful of votes in this city is just maddening."Other links:Pat Roberts links[(Washington Post) Senate Urged to Probe CIA Practices:][4] The capture and handling of terrorism suspects must be conducted "within the bounds of our laws and our own moral framework," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). "Congress has largely ignored the issue," he said. "More disturbingly, the Senate intelligence committee . . . is sitting on the sidelines and effectively abdicating its oversight responsibility to media investigative reporters." Rockefeller has been rebuffed by committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) in his call for a committee inquiry into allegations of detainee abuse and into the CIA's capturing of terrorism suspects and secretly delivering them to other governments, a practice known as rendition.[(AP) Senate confirms Negroponte as first U.S. intelligence chief:][5] John D. Negroponte won easy approval by the Senate yesterday to become the nation's first national intelligence director, a job created last year to better coordinate the nation's spy agencies following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. ... ''He's going to carry heavy burdens," said the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas. ''I am convinced, however, that he has the character, that he has the expertise, and he has the leadership skills to successfully meet these challenges and shoulder these responsibilities."Sam Brownback links[(Los Angeles Times) Votes on Judgeships Move Senate Closer to Going 'Nuclear':][6] On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to approve the nominations of Rogers Brown and Priscilla Owen, a member of the Texas Supreme Court, to the federal appellate bench. ... Eager to pass the nominees out of the committee, Republicans largely kept quiet. One exception was Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who rose to Owen's defense. "I think this is the type of judge we're looking for," he said.[(New York Review of Books commentary by Kansas University alum Thomas Frank) What's the Matter with Liberals?][7] Senator Sam Brownback's activities at the Republican convention offer us a glimpse of this strategy in microcosm. In his speech before the assembled delegates and the eyes of the world, the godly Kansan came off as a thoughtful, caring Republican who wanted only to heal the sick and halt religious persecution overseas; when he spoke at a private meeting of evangelical Christians, however, he took on the tone of affronted middle-American victimhood, complaining to a roomful of Christian conservatives that "the press beats up on you like there's something wrong with faith, family and freedom" and exhorting them to "win this culture war.[(Harvard Gazette) Stem cell research debate continues:][8] While the two debaters concentrated on the scientific aspects of the stem cell question, Brownback in his presentation waded resolutely into ethical waters. "Humans possess a unique value," he said. "They are an end in themselves. They can't be used as a means to an end." Nor did Brownback express any equivocation about whether a 4-day-old embryo qualifies as human. "Life begins at the beginning. A young human embryo is a unique human being. It's not a dog, it's not a mouse."Todd Tiahrt links[(Wichita Eagle) Tiahrt: Bill could curb gas prices:][9] Rep. Todd Tiahrt tied gas prices to the federal energy bill Thursday, contending that a plan that passed the House of Representatives eventually would lead to relief at the pump. "We need to move this energy policy forward today," Tiahrt said, joining other Republican congressmen at an Exxon station just north of the U.S. Capitol.How to contactAs always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][10] [1]: http://www.yahoo.com/ [2]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A6007-2005Apr20.html [3]: http://www.andrewsullivan.com/index.php?dish_inc=archives/2005_04_17_dish_archive.html#111409873316101661 [4]: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8008-2005Apr21.html [5]: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/04/22/senate_confirms_negroponte_as_first_us_intelligence_chief/ [6]: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-judges22apr22,1,6793042.story?coll=la-headlines-nation [7]: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17982 [8]: http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2005/04.21/01-stem.html [9]: http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/11458889.htm [10]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed

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