Speed Read: Robert Gates disses Obama
NEW MEXICO GOV SAYS NO TO BAN: New Mexico’s Republican Governor Susana Martinez told reporters Tuesday that she will not support an effort to pass a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex couples from marrying. Martinez made her remarks during a press conference around the release of her budget for the coming year. New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously in December that interpreting existing state laws to exclude same-sex couples from marriage violates the state’s constitution. Soon thereafter, State Senator Bill Sharer introduced a bill to put a measure on the ballot seeking a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex couples from marrying. Martinez said Tuesday that the state supreme court decision is “the law of the land.”
GATES BOOK FAULTS OBAMA ON DADT: Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates reportedly criticizes President Obama for his handling of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Washington Post political reporter Bob Woodward, in reviewing Gates’ new memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War, says Gates felt “blindsided” by Obama’s timing. Woodward quotes Gates as saying, “I felt that agreements with the Obama White House were good for only as long as they were politically convenient.” Los Angeles Times reviewer David Cloud quotes Gates as saying Obama lacked passion, except on DADT. “The only military matter, apart from leaks, about which I ever sensed deep passion on his part was ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ ” Cloud quoted Gates as writing.
NC RACE ACCELERATING: North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory announced Monday that the special election to fill a U.S. House seat vacated Monday by incumbent Democrat Mel Watt will follow the existing schedule. Marcus Brandon, an openly gay candidate for that seat representing Charlotte and the I-85 corridor, is one of six Democrats running in the May primary. Brandon’s bid got a boost this month from a national magazine for state and local officials. Governing magazine listed Brandon as one of “State Legislators to Watch in 2014.” The Raleigh News and Observer says Brandon leads in fundraising, thus far, a lead they attribute to the endorsement of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
CAMPAIGN COFFERS: How much has Marcus Brandon, running for a U.S. House seat from North Carolina, raised? Federal Election Commission records through September 30 (the latest available) show $143,560. By contrast, two other first-time openly gay candidates for Congress –running in New York and California—have raised much more. Sean Eldridge, running for a U.S. House seat from New York, has raised more than $1.2 million for his campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records. Carl DeMaio, running for a U.S. House seat representing San Diego, has raised $816,357.
HRC BACKS VA AG SUCCESSOR: The Human Rights Campaign announced its endorsement January 6 of a Democratic candidate running to fill the Virginia State Senate seat vacated by newly inaugurated Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. HRC endorsed Jennifer Wexton in the January 21 special election, saying she has shown “dedication to the LGBT community and commitment to fairness for all Virginia families.” Wexton supports marriage equality and non-discrimination in the workplace. Her Republican opponent, John Whitbeck, does not.
PRO-GAY ROMNEY ADVISER RUNNING: A former advisor to then Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney announced this month that he is running for the U.S. House seat from Massachusetts currently held by Democrat Rep. William Keating. Unlike Romney, candidate John Chapman says he supports marriage equality.
ORANGE COUNTY INCLUDES: The Vietnamese American Federation of Southern California voted January 4 to allow an LGBT contingent to participate in this year’s annual parade celebrating the lunar new year. The organizers barred an LGBT contingent in the past.