Monday, December 28, 2009

From JMG: First Gay Marriage For Latin America

After being temporarily thwarted by a judge's stay of a Buenos Aires court ruling in their favor, two men in Argentina have become the first gays to marry legally in Latin America.
An official in Argentina's southern Tierra del Fuego province says two Argentine men have wed there in Latin America's first gay marriage. Provincial spokesman Eduardo Porter says the wedding between Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre took place at the civil registry in Ushuaia. Their marriage plans in Buenos Aires earlier this month were thwarted when city officials refused to marry them because of conflicting rulings. An official representing the federal government's antidiscrimination agency attended the wedding. Claudio Morgado called Monday's marriage "historic." Argentina's Constitution is silent on whether marriage must be between a man and a woman, effectively leaving the matter to state and city officials.
The court ruling allowing their marriage was specifically for this couple only. It remains to be seen if a precedent has been set.

Last week Mexico City legalized same-sex marriage, but that law has not yet gone into effect. Civil unions are available to gay couples in several Brazilian and Mexican states, and in the entire nation of Uruguay.

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courtesy of JMG

FROM JMG: Quote Of The Day - Rep. Pete Sessions

"I love you and believe in you. If you want my ear/voice — e-mail." - Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) to billionaire Ponzi swindler Allen Stanford, hours after Stanford was arrested by the feds. After the arrest, Sessions denied that he knew Stanford at all, despite having been photographed with him many times and accepting $44,000 from Stanford for his re-election campaign.

Sessions has a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, having voted against every single bit of pro-LGBT legislation ever put before him. He voted for the failed Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and for banning gay adoptions in DC. But he loves and "believes in" a man who stole $8B. What's going on there? What's with the trips to Antigua?

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Courtesy of JMG

This from Fred

December 28, 2009 619-592-2008
Check out this excellent editorial 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
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.


Thanks JMG: DJ Earworm - United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on the Pop) - Mashup of Top 25 Billboard Hits

Best wishes from Brasil where it is almost party time! Crank it up!