TPM News

If you were worried there wouldn't be a 2012 candidate touting the pro-Crusades platform, then today is your lucky day!

"The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical," former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) told a South Carolina audience yesterday. "And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom."

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After walking the line on the issue of same sex marriage for most of his time in office, President Barack Obama's administration was forced to take a stand -- thanks to two court cases challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act filed in a judicial district without precedent on the issue.

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Not so fast Utah -- Arizona is now giving chase in the race to be the first state with an official gun. A bill to make the Colt revolver the state's official firearm passed out of the Arizona State Senate appropriations committee Wednesday by a vote of 9-4.

The vote comes less than two months after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) was shot in Tuscon, in a shooting that killed six people. Giffords survived and is currently in rehabilitating in Texas.

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Four Democratic senators are warning key leaders not to use the threat of a government shutdown to block the FCC from implementing net neutrality rules.

In a letter they're circulating to colleagues, Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) say the Senate should not lend support to House GOP efforts to block the rules.

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Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) couldn't be more excited to see the White House come around on the Defense of Marriage Act, which he said was the right move legally and politically.

"It's great news," Frank, who is openly gay, told TPM over the phone. "Particularly after DADT repeal, this is a further expression of his commitment to doing away with discrimination."

The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it would no longer defend parts of DOMA that restrict the federal government from recognizing gay marriages in states where such unions are legal.

Frank said he recommended to White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley in a meeting last week that the Administration drop its support for DOMA.

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House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel questions the Obama administration's decision to halt its legal defense of DOMA.

"While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation," he said in a statement.

In a letter to Boehner, Attorney General Eric Holder wrote "[o]ur attorneys will also notify the courts of our interest in providing Congress a full and fair opportunity to participate in the litigation in those [DOMA] cases." Boehner could, in theory, intervene as a third party defendant in those cases, or could sue Holder, or could just make a fuss that amounts to nothing. But there's no indication yet of what he will actually do..

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The American Family Association, which led an effort to boycott the conservative gathering CPAC this month over its inclusion of groups backing gay rights, is hoping the White House's decision to back off its legal support for the Defense of Marriage Act will help bolster momentum for social issues in the GOP.

"I think it's a clear sign that we simply cannot avoid engaging on the social issues," Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the group, told TPM. "Mitch Daniels has called for a truce on social issues and that would be fine if the homosexual lobby was willing to lay down arms, but they're obviously not and this proves it. A truce is nothing more than a surrender."

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