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Brownback ready for renewed debate over federal ban on gay marriage

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Sam Brownback links[(Knight Ridder Newspapers) Gay-marriage ban returns to agenda:][1] The Senate this week will debate a measure that everybody knows is doomed - a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. A waste of time? Not to its supporters. The purpose of debating the amendment now is not constitutional change. It is climate change - of the political variety. The Republican Party's conservative base has grown increasingly angry over immigration and federal spending, adding to other problems that make 2006 a tough election year for the GOP. And politicians in trouble always turn to their base. Sen. Sam Brownback, a chief supporter of the amendment, called the timing incidental: "I'll take the floor time when I can get it," the Kansas Republican said. "This is a critical policy issue."Pat Roberts links[(AP) Calls increase for opening up CRP land:][2] The drought that has plagued many wheat fields in northwest Kansas has also affected cattle grazing, spurring calls for the federal government to open up reserved land. On Wednesday, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow grazing on CRP in virtually all of northwest Kansas. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., also pledged his support. Without the CRP, Roberts said in a statement, "Producers will be left with two choices: continue to graze and severely damage native pastures, or begin to liquidate cattle herds. Neither option is good for Kansas livestock producers. They need access to this acreage before such actions have to be taken."[(Capital Press) 21 U.S. senators defend states' rights over food standards:][3] Three U.S. senators - Richard Burr, R-N.C., Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb. - introduced the National Uniformity for Food Act on May 25, but by the next day 21 senators led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., had joined together to oppose the bill on the grounds that state governments often protect citizens before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration acts. The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Products Association both praised the senators for introducing the bill. "We urge the Senate to quickly consider and pass the National Uniformity for Food Act, so that consumers in all 50 states receive a single set of food safety standards and warning labels just as they do now for nutrition information, allergen labeling and pesticide tolerances, and we also call on the Senate to hold a hearing on this important issue as soon as possible," the GMA and FPA said in a joint statement. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives without a hearing.Jim Ryun links[(LJWorld.com) Ryun says immigration is No. 1 issue:][4] U.S. Rep. Jim Ryun, a Republican from Lawrence, on Friday filed to seek re-election for a sixth term and said illegal immigration was the top issue on voters' minds. "The No. 1 and No. 2 issues are immigration and immigration," said Ryun, who gained fame early in life as a record-breaking track star. Ryun, 59, represents the 2nd Congressional District, which includes west Lawrence, Topeka, Manhattan and much of southeast Kansas. The district also extends north to the Nebraska border.Jerry Moran links[(Chicago Tribune) FARM LOBBY'S POWER HAS DEEP ROOTS:][5] On a sunny Saturday morning last month at a farm exhibition in Great Bend, Kan., Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., a member of the House Agriculture Committee, stood onstage dressed in Wranglers and cowboy boots to take questions. The farmers there had a one-track mind: maintaining government aid for farmers, from drought relief to ethanol promotion to the more basic subsidies. "And even when they don't talk about it, it's never far from their minds," said Moran, whose district has collected the second most in farm subsidies since 1995, $6.2 billion, according to the Environmental Working Group, a conservation organization. "It is a part of whether their son or daughter has a future in farming."Todd Tiahrt links[(Wall Street Journal) Why airlines are picking a fight with business jets:][6] Business jets represent more than 18 percent of all flights, but they pay just 5 percent of those FAA fees. Infuriated airlines, which represent some two-thirds of flights but pay more than 90 percent of the fees, have long complained they are overpaying. Now they've launched a high-stakes lobbying battle to get business jets to shoulder a bigger share of the cost of today's system and of an advanced, satellite-based system planned for the near future. Mr. Bolen points out that the airlines' user-fee proposal would transfer some control of the FAA from Congress to a user-fee board that's almost certain to be dominated by the airlines. The airlines argue that eliminating Congress's role would save money by cutting pork projects and closing FAA facilities that individual Congressmen support but that aren't FAA priorities. "They're talking about taking oversight away from Congress," Mr. Bolen told Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt, whose Wichita, Kan., district includes the three big manufacturers of smaller aircraft. Rep. Tiahrt, shaking his head, responded, "I would oppose anything like that."[(Occupational Hazards) House Votes to Prevent EPA from Easing Toxics Reporting Requirement:][7] The U.S. House of Representatives has passed an amendment that denies EPA any funds to implement or enforce the agency's proposed "Burden Reduction" rule that would relax reporting requirements for the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., sponsored the amendment, which was attached to the fiscal year 2007 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill (H.R. 5386). Pallone's amendment passed 231-187, with 182 Democrats supporting it and 172 Republicans voting against it. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., objected to Pallone's amendment, calling it "a direct assault on the jobs in America." He said the TRI reporting requirements are particularly onerous for small businesses, and he cited data from the Small Business Administration Advocacy Group estimating that regulatory compliance cost manufacturing firms with fewer than 20 employees $21,919 per employee in 2004 compared to $8,748 per employee for firms with 500 or more workers.How to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.][8] [1]: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/daily/06-06/06-05-06/05world-nation.htm [2]: http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/state/14740446.htm [3]: http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?SectionID=67&SubSectionID=782&ArticleID=25206&TM=48627.3 [4]: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/jun/03/ryun_says_immigration_no_1_issue/?politics [5]: http://www.thesouthern.com/articles/2006/06/04/business/16525407.txt [6]: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06152/694909-28.stm [7]: http://www.occupationalhazards.com/articles/15241 [8]: http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed

Comments

staff04 8 years, 10 months ago

Protect the institution of marriage.

Ban heterosexual divorce.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 10 months ago

Ah, here it is. Pull out the insoluble, symbolic social issues to divert attention from real issues such as the war, the deficit, and corruption in congress and the administration.

As politics it is a no-brainer, but I hope even rightist republicans will see through it this time as a ploy to divert their attention from the failings of this congress and president.

Don't fall for it this time, republicans. Issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and flag burning and simply symbolic political issues meant to fan the flames, and issues on which no action will ever be taken.

GOPConservative 8 years, 10 months ago

Brownback is stirring up hate in order to help other extremists get re-elected to Congress in Kansas.

Our own "christian" faker, Jim Ryun, has taken up the call. He has already started with immigration. Gay marriage will soon be on his agenda.

Never mind, that gay marriage will never be allowed in Kansas. Never mind, that immigration does not affect our district. Never mind that everyone in Congress already wants to do something to protect our borders.

The purpose of all Ryun's hate mongering is to obfuscate the fact that he has done very little for 99% of the people in our district, who do not hire illegal aliens or plan to marry someone of their own sex.

Kansans are suffering from high energy costs, high-priced health insurance and miniscule tax cuts, while the fat cat tax-suckers keep getting fatter thanks to Ryun and those like him.

Ryun claims to be a "Christian," but got elected using laundered money and hate mongering. Ryun even took a major gift from criminal empire of Jack Abramhoff through buying a home in Washington for 30% below market value.

For a "christian" like Ryun, it is okay to lie and deceive. It is okay to cavort with criminals and take their money. It is okay to give our tax dollars away in no-bid contracts to tax-sucking monopolies.

It is okay to make it possible for the atheists in China to rip off hundreds of billions in trade deficit and then loan it back to cover his fiscal liberalism. Thanks to the deficit Ryun helped create, Americans will be paying interest to the commie atheists from now until forever.

Liars like Ryun claim to be "conservative," but nothing could be farther from the truth. Ryun supports spending billions so the government can control private behavior.

Gone are the days when conservatives like Barry Goldwater preached "live and let live" and the "government is best that governs least."

Today's social conservatives are like yesterday's liberals. They love to see the government waste tax dollars trying to control people's private lives.

Ryun has no respect for limited government, privacy and fiscal responsibility, which are supposed to be a major tenants of conservative thought.

Ryan has very little respect for the free enterprise system. Instead, his actions prove that he favors decreased competition and increased concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer multi-national monopolies, most of which could not exist without draining our treasury.

Anti-conservative fakers like Ryun keep get re-elected by "energizing" their "base." They want people to know that they are just as homophobic as Fred Phelps even though they don't directly join Fred in picketing funerals.

willie_wildcat 8 years, 10 months ago

WOW GOP....So much to say so early in the day. I am not surprised about the house thing.....What surprises me is how people continue to vote for morons like Ryun and Brownback. Guess you should never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups huh?

Jamesaust 8 years, 10 months ago

One would have thought that a GOP advised by "brilliant" Karl Rove would have planned to grab their pitchforks and don their devil costumes and cast their anti-"family" vote on something other than Antichrist Day - 6/6/06!

Apparently (from my monitoring of terrorists like Coulter and talibanized Christianists like Dobson and druggies like Limbaugh), however, even the Extremists no longer believe that that old dog will hunt. It looks like no one believes that W is sincere on this.

Gay marriage? That's so "2004". The future is printing the 10 Commandments on the Flag and then criminalizing those who burn it! Coming to talkradio near you - November 2008.

jayhawks71 8 years, 10 months ago

wow, i am impressed by the posts in this thread. An entirely different group than the people dropping the F-bomb all over the cell phone ordinance threads. :-)

blackwalnut 8 years, 10 months ago

Jim Ryun and Sam Brownback both pander to the extremist evangelical right. Most Christians do not fall in this category. Neither do most Kansans.

They do not represent most of us.

Ryun has spoken in tongues at a campaign rally.

Brownback burned his resume in the middle of the night and thinks God told him to be president. How presumptious.

Ragingbear 8 years, 10 months ago

Ban heterosexual marriage, it is an affront to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

optimist 8 years, 10 months ago

Marriage is not a privacy issue. It is very public in the legal sense (i.e. marriage licenses are a matter of public record). In fact the concept of marriage is founded in religion. To remove religion from the discussion is simply irrational. We all have a right to our religious beliefs and like it or not religious Americans have as much right to influence their elected officials as those of who are atheists or agnostic. To deprive the religious of that is as bigoted as you accuse the religious of being.

I will point out to you that the free exercise of religion both in private and public is enumerated in the bill of rights while there is no such recognition of the right to marry whether heterosexual, homosexual, bigamist or polygamist.

The federal government has no place in this issue. This is clearly an issue that should be decided in each state by the residents of that state.

It cannot be ignored that if the courts force states to recognize marriage between homosexuals under the equal protection clause of the constitution they will essentially open the floodgates for just about any kind of marriage. Unjustifiably extending equal protection will in essence prevent the state legislatures from placing any restriction on marriage itself and absent states passing amendments to their prospective state constitutions there is no limit to what can happen with respect to marriage.

I for one agree with the opinion that Brownback is using this issue to take attention away from the illegal immigration issue which we all know he is weak on. I've voted for him each time in the past but I can assure him that I and many people I know will vote against him if the final immigration bill looks more like the senate version than the house version and he votes for it. If he can't put America over the interests of the few he is apparently beholden to then he doesn't deserve to be Senator from Kansas let alone President of the United States. I have no problem voting for a Democrat running against him if he remains on the wrong side of this very important issue.

james bush 8 years, 10 months ago

The world's gone mad! Lesbians and gays want to get married and hetero's just want to live together w/o vows to each other(promoted by LJW in recent OTS column).

Let the irresponsible among us have all the sex and marriage they want; just find a way to keep them from reproducing.

james bush 8 years, 10 months ago

Brownback's taking advantage. Too bad he isn't up for election.

usaschools 8 years, 10 months ago

Since this ban has ZERO chance of passing, why don't we suspend the games for a minute and admit the obvious: This is a PURELY political issue that is being trotted out by Bush in order to try to mobilize his base to turn out the vote. That is it. Nothing more. There is no sincere religious belief at work, no actual fear of moral decay, no sense that this discussion will help our nation solve a problem, nothing. It is only to bring out the vote. It is a response to the dismal failure of this administration and the polls that have followed. A more successful administration would not need to play this little game.

james bush 8 years, 10 months ago

This is definitely smoke and mirrors distraction..........Bush and repubs are in trouble come election time.

paladin 8 years, 10 months ago

Probably better this game than a "wag the dog" game.

james bush 8 years, 10 months ago

I keep wondering about next presidential election................only one who makes sense to me as a depressed repub is Gingrich.........certainly not Brownback! Who'll the dems have???

Jamesaust 8 years, 10 months ago

"Marriage is not a privacy issue."

I thought this was a very interesting but misguided point. I suppose the point is that marriage is not EXCLUSIVELY a privacy issue. The idea that marriage as a permanent, intimate relationship between two people is not a privacy issue is so self-evidently incorrect that one must ask: if not marriage, then what would be a privacy issue?

"It cannot be ignored that if the courts force states to recognize marriage between homosexuals under the equal protection clause of the constitution they will essentially open the floodgates for just about any kind of marriage." Well, I suppose one could ignore it as one does most silly extrapolations.

Also, "To remove religion from the discussion is simply irrational." Who is proposing this? The question at hand is whether religion (or more directly, SOME people's religion) can invoke the power of the state to trample other people's religion. To answer yes is nothing less than to overturn all post-Enlightenment Western Civilization (talk about a non-conservative, conservative position!).

This is not to say that religion cannot or does not influence political thinking or opinion. Few issues of any weight have been or are free of religious influence. The difference, however, lies in whether religion is a guide to rational decisionmaking or whether it trumps rationality.

I'm sure there must be someone out there who opposes gay marriage (or more accurately marriage rights for same sex couples) for entirely non-religious reasons. I'm also certain that that person is an aberration. The clearest test of whether religion is the basis for any decision is whether there exists any sound non-religious reasons for that decision as well. Frankly, I've yet to hear any on this subject that aren't laughable.

What's more, I believe there is a fair argument to be said for the concept that a free choice of whom one wishes to marry is at its heart very much of a RELIGIOUS decision and not easily restrictable by government (not unrestrictable, just not easily so). The right to marry lies in the Ninth Amendment (a/k/a, the argument that the Bill of Rights does not list a right is not a valid argument in court for the non-existence of that right). Our constitutional system has determined already that the right to marry is a fundamental right. As such, the only means government may restrict it is to demonstrate that doing so is necessary to either order itself or to protect others' rights.

I'm ultimately unpersuaded that equal protection MUST be identical protection. But I'm also unpersuaded that equal protection can be wished away via the invocation of some manner of religiously imposed dogma (literally, hocus pocus). Our constitional system is a secular one, not religious. Indeed, it is 100% secular.

james bush 8 years, 10 months ago

The voters should decide the marriage laws in each state. If liberal judges, mayors, governors or other elected/appointed officials preside over lesbian/gay marriage ceremonies in defiance of the laws passed by state legislatures, they should be prosecuted and jailed if guilty.

james bush 8 years, 10 months ago

Arguments, however erudite, have no effect if idiots have the power;ie, try arguing with the taliban in Iraq.

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

Jimincountry -

You say that individual states should be deciding marriage laws. On the face of it, that argument makes sense. I mean, if Massachusetts wants to let the gays marry, and Kansas doesn't, then let the gays be married in Massachusetts but not Kansas, right?

Wrong.

It's not marriage that I see as the big problem with states not honoring one another's marital laws, it's the legal rights and repercussions. For example, let's say a gay couple gets married in Massachusetts, and one of them travels to Kansas on business. He's in a car accident, and medical decisions need to be made. Who makes them, the partner legally designated by marriage as the person empowered to make those decisions, or the parents? Maybe he's got a living will, but critical treatment decisions go unmade while the parents challenge it in court. Can the legal spouse apply for his partner to be removed from Kansas to Massachusetts, where he is the medical decision-maker?

Or, let's say that two lesbians get married, and one bears a child. The other adopts the child legally. Fast forward ten years, and the marriage (like marriages can) is ending in divorce. Custody is awarded to the adoptive mother because she's better suited to care for the child. The birth mother takes the child and flees to a state that not only doesn't recognize gay marriage but also prohibits gays from adopting children. The custody agreement is a court document, and the documents of one state's court are generally binding and enforceable across state lines. However, if the document is based on the existence of a marriage not recognized by the state and an adoption that the state's laws prohibit, then is it, a legally binding court document, not valid? Would gay divorcees be able to escape alimony payments or child support by crossing state lines because they couldn't be held financially accountable for a marriage that never existed?

Or how about if two men get married, and the company one of them works for transfers him to a state where the marriage is invalid. The company policies say insurance will be provided to spouses and children. Does the employee's spouse lose his insurance? Could a company conceivably transfer an employee to a state where his marriage wasn't recognized in order to dodge the Family Medical Leave Act if an employee needed time to care for a husband in the final stages of cancer and the employer just wanted to replace him instead of giving him the time off?

The Massachusetts law hasn't tested any of this yet, but I think we can't be far out from that. There is too much of the rest of the legal system based on certain rights and legal meanings applied to marriage to just say, "Let them do it if they want, but I don't want my state to have to recognize their marriage."

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