Lincoln Chafee on Civil Rights
Independent RI Governor; previously Republican Senator (1999-2007)
My father, Rhode Island governor John H. Chafee, had been asked to speak at the convention that year, in San Francisco. He was hoping to see his Republican Party nominate one of our moderate eastern governors. My father was among this new generation of forward-looking Republican governors, the "Rockefeller Republicans." But the delegates booed Rockefeller long and loud.
Their man, Senator Barry Goldwater, stood for unchanging tradition, a view of government so limited that even the Civil Rights Act was meddlesome legislation. It made no difference that everyone at the convention knew he had little chance of winning the presidency. Being right was more important than winning.
Republicans are generally seen as the party that favors independence at the state level. But now we wanted to amend the US Constitution to forbid any state to allow gays to marry. Congress itself would not ban gay marriage; but the amendment would prevent liberal states from recognizing gay couples as married, even if most citizens in that state wanted such a law enacted. Democracy might be everything in Iraq, but we were declaring an urgent need to rein it in here at home.
CHAFEE: For our whole history, the federal government has never been involved in marriage issues. So this is a state issue. There was a vote to change our federal constitution to forbid states from passing their own laws and of course I voted against that.
WHITEHOUSE: I support the right of states to allow same-sex marriage. It is wrong for the federal government to intervene in what has always been a state issue.
- the flag of the US is a unique symbol of national unity...
- the Bill of Rights should not be amended in a manner that could be interpreted to restrict freedom...
- abuse of the flag causes more than pain and distress... and may amount to fighting words...
- destruction of the flag of the US can be intended to incite a violent response rather than make a political statement and such conduct is outside the protections afforded by the first amendment to the Constitution.
Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.
The amendment is about how we are going to raise the next generation. It is not an issue that the courts should resolve. Those of us who support this amendment are doing so in an effort to let the people decide.
Supporters rail against activist judges. But if this vaguely worded amendment ever passes, it will result in substantial litigation. What are the legal incidents of marriage? Is a civil union a marriage?
H.R. 914/S. 872 the ADA Notification Act.
Republican Main Street Partnership Congressman Mark Foley (FL) introduced this legislation to protect the Americans with Disabilities Act from a growing number of lawyers who are generating huge sums in legal fees for pointing out accessibility violations by business when often simple fixes would bring properties into compliance with the ADA's accessibility standards. This variety of litigation abuse stems from the lack of any notification provision in the ADA. RMSP supports a 90-day delay between notification of an alleged accessibility violation and any legal proceedings. This notification will allow honest business owners to become ADA compliant without added legal expense while freeing up the courts to pursue legal action against bad players.
H.R. 2341/S. 1712 Class Action Fairness Act.
Class Action suits, most often claiming product defects, have increasingly become fertile ground for unscrupulous trial attorneys. Using jurisdictional loopholes, trial lawyers are suing for enormous sums with little or no payout to injured parties. Multi-million dollar interstate lawsuits filed on behalf of irrelevant plaintiffs, often unaware that a claim has been filed, are filed in state courts. This increases the volume of claims filed, and leads to multiple, expensive, settlements. H.R. 2341, supported by Republican Main Street Partnership Reps. Judy Biggert (IL), Tom Davis (VA), Porter Goss (FL), Melissa Hart (PA), George Nethercutt (WA), and Rob Simmons (CT), eases the burden of addressing interstate claims in federal court. At the federal level, courts have greater resources and uniform rules. This provides a more appropriate venue for such cases and protects legitimate claimants ability to recover losses.
Our ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
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CA-D: Jerry Brown
CO-D: John Hickenlooper
CT-D: Dan Malloy
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Term-Limited or Retiring 2014:
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