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Daniel Strauss

Daniel Strauss is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. He was previously a breaking news reporter for The Hill newspaper and has written for Politico, Roll Call, The American Prospect, and Gaper's Block. He has also interned at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and The New Yorker. Daniel grew up in Chicago and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in History. At Michigan he helped edit Consider, a weekly opinion magazine. He can be reached at daniel@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Daniel

The Republican New Mexico state senator leading the charge against same-sex marriage wrote a blog post in which he suggested gay couples in the state should stop "whoring" and marry local women instead.

State Sen. William Sharer wrote the blog post last Friday as county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the state. He argued that defining marriage as something other than a union between a man and a woman could damage the basic foundation of society.

"Procreation through the natural acts of men and women is the unique aspect of marriage," Sharer wrote in the post.

Sharer stressed to TPM on Wednesday that while he opposes defining gay marriage as anything other than between one man and one woman, he does not harbor any animosity toward gay couples and used the Alexander reference to argue his point that marriage should remain between a man and a woman.

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Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) plans to deliver a letter to the White House Wednesday afternoon urging President Obama to get congressional authorization before taking military action against Syria.

Rigell has been collecting signatures from his colleagues before his noon deadline for delivering the letter. As of mid-Wednesday morning Rigell had collected 58 signatures, which include nine Democrats and House Homeland Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX).

"We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria," the letter reads. "Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.

Rigell plans to keep collecting signatures after the letter is delivered to the White House.

Read the letter below:

Rigell Letter to Obama administration on Syria by tpmdocs

New Mexico's Taos County became the sixth county to offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Tuesday after State District Judge Jeff McElroy ordered Taos County Clerk Anna Martinez to issue a license to a same-sex couple.

McElroy's order came after a lawsuit brought by Dale Schuette and Reg Stark who were denied a license at the clerk's office on Monday. Besides Taos County, Doña Ana, Santa Fe, Valencia, San Miguel and Bernalillo counties are currently offering licenses to same-sex couples. Bernalillo county is especially notable because it's the largest county in the state.

Meanwhile, the New Mexico San Juan County Clerk has said she's waiting for a court order to start offering licenses to same-sex couples.

"I'm waiting for someone to sue me, and that's certainly something they can do," San Juan County clerk Debbie Holmes said according to The Daily Times of Farmington, New Mexico. "I feel like I need to follow the law as I've been told how to do it."

Two more New Mexico counties will soon offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The county clerks for San Miguel County and Valencia County New Mexico each said they plan to offer licenses to same-sex couples, according to New Mexico ABC News affiliate KOAT-TV on Tuesday.

San Miguel County Clerk Melanie Rivera has ordered gender neutral licenses and can alter the current licenses to say "spouse" rather than "male applicant" and "female applicant."

Valencia County Clerk Peggy Carabajal said she expects to have gender neutral licenses ready on Wednesday. Like Rivera, Carabajal said she's willing to alter the current marriage licenses.

On Monday a judge ruled that a county clerk in Bernalillo County, the state's largest county, could issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That ruling is the second in the last week in which a judge ordered a clerk to issue marriage licenses. A week earlier the clerk for Doña Ana County began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

A group of Republicans in the state legislature planned to take legal action to stop the Doña Ana County clerk but since other clerks have followed suit, the Republicans are reconsidering their options.

Former Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady has been hired by the state's American Civil Liberties Union chapter to lobby passage of a same-sex marriage bill.

The ACLU hired Next Generation Public Affairs, which Brady co-founded, after leaving his job running the Illinois Republican Party, according to Chicago's WBEZ 91.5 on Tuesday.

Brady said his focus will be pushing Republicans in the Illinois House of Representatives to help pass a same-sex marriage bill this fall. Brady added that he did not have a problem working with the ACLU.

"Liberty, freedom and equality under the law are all things that Republicans and conservatives have believed in for a long, long time," Brady told WBEZ, adding that he didn't "have any qualms with that" and that he is "really excited to help work with them and get this done right in Illinois."

Brady left his job at the Illinois GOP in early May after expressing support for same-sex marriage. Brady's comments resulted in 50 members of the Illinois Republican Party calling for his ouster.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's (D-NY) Off The Sidelines political action committee sent out a fundraising email on Tuesday in support of Colorado state Sen. Angela Giron (D), who is facing a recall election after voting in favor of new gun restrictions earlier this year.

"When Colorado passed new gun safety laws with an 18-17 vote, Democrat Angela Giron bravely cast the deciding vote," Gillibrand wrote in the email received by TPM.

The senator from New York went on to say, "We can’t allow them to defeat Angela. It will encourage them to launch more attacks on strong women – who stand up for what’s right – in states across the country."

Giron and three other lawmakers in the state legislature have been targeted by pro-gun groups after voting to tighten the state's gun laws. The groups have been able to trigger recall elections for Giron and Colorado state Senate President John Morse (D).

(h/t: Capital New York.)

This post has been updated.

Same-sex marriage efforts in New Mexico took another step forward Monday with yet another state judge ruling that a county clerk could issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The ruling, in a Bernalillo County case, is the second in the last week in which a state court judge has empowered a county clerk to sanction same-sex marriages. The county clerk in yet a third county began issuing licenses on his own last week.

On Monday afternoon New Mexico District Judge Alan Malott ordered Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to the Associated Press. Malott's ruling comes a week after county clerks in Doña Ana County and Santa Fe County each began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. When one of the couples in the case originally applied for a license from Oliver, they were denied, prompting the lawsuit filed by the ACLU in March. The case has been pending since then.

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A large group of Republican lawmakers in New Mexico are considering filing suit to block county clerks from issuing same-sex marriage licenses, TPM has learned.

The group of legislators was poised to file suit Friday to enjoin Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins from granting any more marriage licenses to same sex couples, something Ellins had begun doing earlier this week. But the group is now reconsidering its options after a second county clerk was orderd by a state court to begin issuing same sex licenses. That order, by District Judge Sarah Singleton to Santa Fe County Clerk Geraldine Salazar, was issued on Thursday in a lawsuit brought by a gay couple seeking to get married in the state.

State Sen. Bill Sharer (R-NM) told TPM that he and roughly 30 of his colleagues in the state legislature had been planning to file an injunction to stop Ellins from continuing to issue marriage licenses. Now lawyers on behalf of Sharer are considering new legal options in response to Singleton's court order.

"Does the county clerk simply get to decide what the law says? If this county clerk gets to decide what the law is, then what's to decide some other county clerk somewhere else in the country from deciding what the law is?"  Sharer said to TPM on Friday.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is having some fun with the attention he's getting concerning his citizenship.

Cruz appeared at a tech event at the National Instruments Co. building in Austin, Texas, on Thursday. As the press was ushered out of the room at the beginning of the event Cruz said "I promise that while y'all are out I'll try not to give any like really juicy piece of crazy news."

"I am secretly a citizen of Ethiopia," Cruz added, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Cruz released his birth certificate last week to extinguish concerns that he is not an American citizen and therefore ineligible to run for president. Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother, making him a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. On Monday Cruz said he would renounce his Canadian citizenship.

New Mexico's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a local wedding photography business in Albuquerque violated state law by refusing to photograph a lesbian couple seeking the company's services.

The state's highest court found that Elane Photography's decision to refuse to serve the couple was an act of discrimination under the state's Human Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog. The owners of Elane Photography argued they were exercising their rights of free speech and religion in refusing to photograph the couple's ceremony.

Earlier in the week, Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins received national attention for issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Ellins argued that New Mexico's ambiguous laws on gay marriage did not prohibit him from granting the licenses.

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