September 30, 2010 at 7:37 pm EDT | by Staff reports
National news in brief

Plouffe blames McConnell for ‘Don’t Ask’ defeat

BALTIMORE — David Plouffe, President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, blamed Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for the Senate’s failure to advance “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal last week. Plouffe, speaking at a book-signing event in Baltimore on Sept. 23, told an audience of about 200 people that Senate Republican leadership feared that showing support for repealing the military’s gay ban would depress voter turnout in the midterm elections.

“McConnell got 12 Republican senators in a room and said, ‘If we do this, it’s going to hurt our turnout,’” Plouffe said. He cited Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine as among those in the room.

Plouffe claimed that McConnell told the senators, “we’ll do it in December,” suggesting that the Senate would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with bipartisan support after the elections. — KEVIN NAFF

10 states join brief opposing same-sex marriage

WASHINGTON — Wyoming and nine other states have urged a federal appeals court in California to overturn a ruling that a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, the Associated Press reported.

A federal judge ruled last month that there was no legitimate state interest in preventing same-sex marriages and that “moral disapproval” alone wasn’t sufficient reason to justify banning it. The case is being appealed.

The amicus brief sent Friday said states, not federal courts, should have final say on the matter. The states that joined the brief against gay marriage are Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia.

Anti-gay marriage group sues over R.I. election law

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A group that opposes same-sex marriage has sued the Rhode Island Board of Elections, saying it wants to run ads in the governor’s race and other contests but doesn’t want to have to comply with the state’s campaign finance laws, according to an Associated Press report.

The National Organization for Marriage says in a federal lawsuit that it should not be forced to report its expenditures or comply with spending limits or bans that are required for political action committees. The group argues it shouldn’t be considered a PAC because it’s not controlled by a political purpose and does not spend most of its money on Rhode Island’s political races. It says the rules for PACs are burdensome and interfere with free speech.

“You have to negotiate the myriad regulations that apply, and for a lot of organizations, it’s just not worth it,” the AP quoted Jeffrey Gallant, a lawyer with the James Madison Center for Free Speech, which is representing the anti-gay marriage group, as saying. “These laws are a deterrent for free and open speech in political matters.”

Rhode Island is one of two New England states that does not allow same-sex marriage.

Gallant told the AP the organization’s lawsuit was supported by a recent blockbuster U.S. Supreme Court decision that freed businesses and unions to directly spend money on federal elections.

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