The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 13, 2013

Gay rights thrust into U.S. debate from immigration to Army


"If that issue becomes a central issue in the debate, it's going to endanger passage absolutely," Rubio said of efforts to revamp immigration laws.

Regarding the sexual orientation language in the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act, Rubio said "I wish we would have just reauthorized the existing law, which has broad and wide support."

Public attitudes toward gay unions have shifted since Obama entered the Oval Office. Fifty-one percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage compared with 41 percent three years ago, according to NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls taken in December 2012 and October 2009.

Same-sex marriage was approved by voters in November in Maryland, Maine and Washington, the first time such unions were endorsed at the ballot box. Since same-sex marriages first were granted legal status by a Massachusetts court ruling in 2004, the unions have been authorized in Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

"With respect to gay rights, we have seen the public come very far in their understanding that gays and lesbians should enjoy the same civil rights as anyone else," Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., said in an interview.

Moore is sponsoring a House bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act that includes language to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The military, which until 2011 prohibited gays from serving openly, will extend benefits such as child care, commissary privileges and transportation to military bases to same-sex partners by Aug. 31 and no later than Oct. 1, Panetta said in a memo.

Other benefits provided for spouses, including health care and housing allowances, remain barred because the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of gay marriage, continues to apply to the Defense Department, Panetta said.

Text Only
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video