Below is an essay I co-wrote with Mark C. Brown, Chairman of the Texas Young Republican Federation, responding to San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s and former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz’s op-ed which advocated for the repeal of DOMA. The response has been featured in the Houston Chronicle and Texas GOP Vote.
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz recently addressed the Young Republicans in an opinion essay (“Political support grows for same-sex marriage,” Page B7, April 26), supporting same-sex marriage and advocating for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Castro’s position and his willingness to discuss same-sex marriage on the national stage reflect a clear departure from the Democratic Party’s historical position. While certain polls indicate that support for same-sex marriage has recently increased, the ultimate poll – the ballot box – indicates that the support is not nearly as high as Castro and Wolfowitz suggest. The Young Republicans understand that good policy is not simply a matter of public opinion and we welcome a discussion on these issues.
An honest discussion is impossible without first recognizing that the primary issue highlighted by DOMA is the inequity in our federal tax code. DOMA, which was signed by President Clinton, does not in any way prevent states from allowing same-sex marriage, nor does it interfere with the benefits that states grant individuals in those marriages. Rather, its jurisdiction is limited to federal issues, including immigration, federal employment and the tax code.
Inequity in the tax code is the basis of the U.S. Supreme Court case cited by Castro and Wolfowitz. In United States v. Windsor, 83-year-old Edith Rae Windsor is suing the federal government over $363,000 that she owes in estate taxes because her deceased spouse, with whom she had been in a relationship since 1965, was a woman. We sympathize not only with Windsor but with all Americans who are required to return nearly half of the life savings of their deceased family members to the federal government. This would have been avoided had the estate tax been repealed permanently.
President Obama’s 2014 budget is calling for the estate tax to be increased from a current top rate of 40 percent to 45 percent and the exemption lowered from $5.25 million to $3.5 million. Clearly, the result of this proposal is that more family members like Windsor will be affected. Thus, we call on the president and Congress to repeal the estate tax.
Despite certain polls that show increased support for same-sex marriage, the shift is not as dramatic as it may appear. Over the past 15 years, voters in 30 states have voted in favor of ballot measures defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Of the propositions legalizing same-sex marriage that were passed by voters in Washington, Maine and Maryland last November, not one received more than 54 percent of the popular vote, despite Obama defeating Mitt Romney by a minimum of 15 points in each of those states. If support for same-sex marriage is as high as Castro and Wolfowitz suggest, why did same-sex marriage pass by such a low margin in states that voted overwhelmingly blue?
In Texas, support for same-sex marriage is even lower. In 2005, 76 percent of Texas voters passed a constitutional amendment supporting the traditional definition of marriage. In 2010, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White rejected as “inaccurate” GOP claims that he supported same-sex marriage. As recently as February 2013, the Texas Tribune found that 51 percent of independents oppose same-sex marriage, while only 39 percent of independents support it and 10 percent were undecided.
We agree with Castro and Wolfowitz that marriage is “the foundation of family life.” We should be cautious to overturn a definition that has withstood for thousands of years simply to cure the injustices of a complex and discriminatory tax code. Instead, the Young Republicans call on the president and Congress to simplify the tax code, fixing inequities that affect all Americans.
Yesterday afternoon, 48 Republicans joined 55 Democrats in voting “aye” for an amendment which banned school vouchers as well as tax credits for entities that provide scholarships. Only 43 Republicans voted against the ban. Not only did those 48 Republicans vote against the Republican Party platform, but Michael Quinn Sullivan makes a great point that they are out of touch with the Republican base, which strongly supports school choice:
— Michael Q Sullivan (@MQSullivan) April 5, 2013
How did your representative vote?
|R-Supporting Choice||R-Opposing Choice||D-Opposing Choice|
Austin, TX – Twenty-five year incumbent Lamar Smith received the lowest score among Texas Republicans on the National Taxpayers Union’s 33rd Annual Rating of Congress, released last week. Smith received a 71 on the scorecard, which rates members of Congress on their votes related to taxes, spending, debt, and regulatory burdens.
“His score makes it clear he’s just one more big-government politician,” said Richard Morgan, a software engineer and conservative activist running against Smith in the District 21 Republican Primary. “At a time when Congress has a lower approval rating than the IRS, we need someone who will stand on principle and demonstrate a commitment to true fiscal responsibility.”
Smith’s record includes votes for seven debt ceiling increases, TARP, and No Child Left Behind.
“It’s been less than a year since our last debt ceiling crisis, and we’re on path to hit our new debt ceiling again before the end of 2012,” said Morgan. “Our federal spending is higher this year than it was last year, after a $1 trillion spending cut.”
The National Taxpayers Union is not the only conservative scorecard to rank Smith so low. Smith also ranks last among Republicans from Texas in the Heritage Action Scorecard with a score of 60%.
“When two of the most conservative scorecards are in complete agreement that he is the least conservative Republican from Texas, what more proof do you need?” asked Morgan.
But Smith may not be hopeless.
“Since I joined the race, his score has gone up from a 56% to a 60%. I guess we’re making him more conservative,” laughed Morgan.
Austin, TX –Software engineer and conservative activist Richard Morgan has filed to run in the Republican primary for the 21st congressional district in Texas.
Morgan’s decision to run came after weeks of meeting with voters and activists in the district and after careful consideration of the major issues affecting District 21 and the country. Of particular concern to Morgan is the incumbent’s terrible record on technology and individual freedom issues.
Lamar Smith, who currently serves as the district’s congressman, recently sponsored two technology bills. One of the bills, known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), is intended to massively expand law enforcement’s authority to fight online piracy. The legislation, in its original form, would allow anyone claiming copyright infringement to get a court order requiring content providers to block access to potentially infringing websites. The bill has been widely condemned by the technology community as well as
members of both parties and liberty-loving individuals across America.
“SOPA is one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation that’s been written in recent history,” said Morgan. “It’s not just about censorship; it’s about allowing the government to control the internet. Under SOPA, my opponent would make the USA as restrictive as China or Iran when it comes to sharing of information.”
Additionally, many entrepreneurs claim that the increased regulations from SOPA would discourage internet-based companies as well as web hosting providers from operating in the United States. Both existing and start-up companies would feel inclined to move their operations overseas in order to avoid costs imposed by Lamar Smith’s legislation.
“Big-government Republicans like Lamar Smith are the reason the conservative cause has a bad rap. The Republican Party I stand for is the party of limited government interference. As the next Congressman for District 21, I will make it a priority to oppose this bill and other big-government bills that threaten individual liberty and discourage job growth and free enterprise in America,” said Morgan.