How will Republicans deal with growing gay rights issues?
On same-sex marriage and "don't ask, don't tell," Republicans and other conservatives increasingly are at odds with public opinion. Will the tea party movement help gay rights?
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(In what's being seen as a legal chipping away at don't ask, don't tell, US District Judge Ronald Leighton ruled Friday that former Air Force Reserve Maj. Margaret Witt, a military nurse, should be "reinstated at the earliest possible moment." Maj. Witt had been forced out of the military under don't ask, don't tell.)Skip to next paragraph
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Meanwhile, prominent Republicans are speaking out on the marriage issue as well.
• Former first lady Laura Bush told CNN’s Larry King earlier this year that she supports gay marriage, even though her husband doesn’t. “When couples are committed to each other and love each other … they ought to have the same sort of rights that everyone has,” she said.
• Speaking at the National Press Club last year, former vice president Dick Cheney said: “I think that freedom means freedom for everyone. As many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish.”
“One of the things I regret is that when I was in politics, I hadn’t come to terms with this part of my life,” he told Politico.com. He now advocates for gay marriage, and he’s helped raise funds for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which supports same-sex marriage and is suing to overturn California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage.
• Theodore Olson, who successfully argued the US Supreme Court case that made George Bush president in 2000 and then went on to become US Solicitor General in the Bush administration, represented those trying to overturn Prop. 8. Last month, a federal judge declared the law to be in violation of constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process. That case is on appeal.