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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Abortion rights leader to head homosexual group; Mich. GOP avenges petition rejection; Conn. conservative?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Further linking two prominent liberal movements, the head of one of the nation’s foremost abortion rights groups is leaving to become president of the nation’s largest homosexual activist organization.

Joe Solmonese, CEO of the pro-choice group EMILY’s List, will become president of the Human Rights Campaign April 11. The HRC board of directors named Solmonese president during a March 9 meeting.

The Human Rights Campaign bills itself as the nation’s largest “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization.” EMILY’s List is an organization that works to elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates.

Solmonese replaces Cheryl Jacques, who resigned following the November elections when homosexual activists were handed a slew of defeats.

In a statement Solmonese said he would continue the battle to legalize same-sex “marriage.”

“As a gay American, I am very honored to serve HRC and the GLBT community and to join the leadership of a movement that is working toward an America that keeps its promise to all its citizens,” he said, adding he wants to broaden HRC’s base to include more straight people.

Solmonese said in the coming days he will meet with “religious leaders, corporate leaders, communities of color and employee groups,” urging their support for homosexual issues.

“With more Americans of both parties on our side, we will be an unstoppable force,” he said.

In recent months pro-choice and homosexual activist groups have become more publicly linked. The National Organization for Women (NOW), one of the countries largest pro-choice organizations, favors legalizing same-sex “marriage.” Two other abortion rights groups — Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America — oppose passing a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. NARAL formerly was known as the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

MICH. GOP AVENGES PETITION REJECTION — A Michigan canvassing board member who voted against certification of marriage amendment signatures last year has been rejected by the state Senate.

Dorothy Jones, a Democrat, was rejected by the Republican-controlled state Senate March 10 on a 22-15 party-line vote, according to the Detroit Free Press. Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, had nominated Jones to another four-year term.

Last August, Jones and another Democrat voted against certifying thousands of signatures that had been collected to place an amendment banning “gay marriage” on the November ballot. The two Republicans voted for certification, resulting in a 2-2 deadlock that temporarily prevented the amendment from going on the ballot. A court subsequently overruled the board’s vote and placed the amendment on the ballot.

The amendment petition collected 464,000 valid signatures — well over the required 317,000. The court ruled that the board “breached its clear legal duty.”

GOP senators agreed.

“Ms. Jones acted in such a way that there was a clear breach of her duty and a breach of her oath of office,” Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema said, according to The Ann Arbor News. He said the rejection was “unfortunate, but justified.”

Granholm called the rejection “outrageous,” according to the Free Press.

CONN. CITIZENS WANT MARRIAGE VOTE — With a “gay marriage” case in state court and the legislature on the verge of passing a civil unions bill, Connecticut citizens favor voting on a state constitutional marriage amendment, according to a new poll.

The Harris Interactive poll of 401 adults found that 76 percent favor and 20 percent oppose voting on a state amendment that would “keep marriage in Connecticut the union of one man and one woman.”

By a 57-39 percent margin, those surveyed said they opposed same-sex “marriage.” Fifty-three percent said they would be less likely to support a political candidate who favored “gay marriage.”

On another question, 86 percent said they believed it was “better for children to be raised in a household with both a mother and father.” Twelve percent disagreed.

The poll was conducted Feb. 21-23 for the Family Institute of Connecticut and the Connecticut Catholic Conference.

A bill legalizing Vermont-style civil unions passed a legislative committee in February. It is favored to pass the full legislature, and Gov. M. Jodi Rell has indicated she would sign it. A lawsuit seeking to legalize same-sex “marriage” is also pending in state court.

STATES UPDATE — Efforts to ban same-sex “marriage” moved forward in two states the week of March 6 but apparently will fail in two other states.

Alabama’s Senate passed a constitutional marriage amendment by a 30-0 vote March 10, sending it to the voters — most likely for a 2006 vote. It already had passed the House.

New Mexico’s Senate passed a bill banning same-sex “marriage” by a 25-12 vote March 9. The bill now moves to the House. New Mexico’s bill is a statute and not an amendment — meaning that it would offer significantly less protection against a court decision legalizing “gay marriage.”

Maryland and Iowa legislators, though, have not been as friendly to traditional marriage.

A bill that would have added a statute banning same-sex “marriage” was defeated in a Maryland House committee in early March on an 11-10 vote, according to The Gazette newspaper (Md.). In addition, a constitutional marriage amendment has been withdrawn from the same committee, with supporters promising to try again next year.

In Iowa, a marriage amendment likely will pass the House but faces near-certain defeat in the Senate, where there is a 25-25 split between Democrats and Republicans. According to the Associated Press, Senate Republican President Stewart Iverson said in a television interview March 4 it is “very unlikely” the amendment would pass the Senate.

State constitutional marriage amendments tie the hands of state courts, preventing Massachusetts-type rulings legalizing “gay marriage.” But because the amendments are vulnerable in federal court, pro-family leaders are pushing for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust