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'After much soul-searching,' Ros-Lehtinen now supports repealing 1996 Defense of Marriage Act

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Eight years ago, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, said she was slowly becoming a gay-rights advocate but wasn't ready to accept same-sex married couples.

"I haven't evolved to that state yet," she told The Miami Herald in 2003. "But God isn't done with me."

Friday, several national gay-rights groups announced that Ros-Lehtinen had become the first Republican in Congress to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal a 1996 law that prevents the federal government from recognizing married gay couples.

"I have had the opportunity to speak with so many members of our community on both sides of the issue of marriage equality and, after much soul-searching, have concluded that it is time for our laws to better reflect the principles of equality that serve the better angels of our nature," Ros-Lehtinen told The Herald on Friday. "I'm a pro-life, gay rights advocate so I manage to upset many folks at any given time!"

Ros-Lehtinen was among 342 'yes' votes for the '96 Defense of Marriage Act. Now, she has become the 124th co-sponsor of the bill to repeal it.

Ros-Lehtinen, a congresswoman since 1989 and married to former U.S. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen, has said she didn't teach their children about gay rights -- she learned from them.

By 2003, Ros-Lehtinen had already co-sponsored or supported a federal hate-crimes bill that protects gays from federal employment discrimination and laws that increased funding for HIV/AIDS prevention.

In 2005, she bucked Republican Party leadership and joined 70 Democrats in supporting repeal of the military gay ban.

The next year, Ros-Lehtinen said she was one of 27 Republicans who voted against a federal constitutional amendment on gay marriage.

During summer 2008, Ros-Lehtinen told Miami gay Republicans that she opposed Florida's Amendment 2, which passed the following November and banned gay marriages, civil unions and state-recognized domestic partnerships.

Later, she learned that daughter Amanda had come out as a transgender man named Rodrigo.

In 2010, gay rights groups Equality Florida and SAVE Dade honored Ros-Lehtinen with awards at their annual Miami-Dade County receptions. This May at the SAVE Dade gala, she held a reception for gay, bisexual and transgender Republicans.

"The goal of equality is an important one and has no party labels, " Ros-Lehtinen said in May.


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Ileana, not only is what you are doing disappointing, it's dangerous. It is important for us as women to instruct our children in what is right. If your child is suffering and dealing with a gender crisis, it's time to help her psychologically understand that she was not created to be a man. Whether the laws of this world condone gay marriage, the reality is God does not. And, no matter which position you believe is right, there is only one RIGHT position. I pray God reveals to you and your family how to fix what you have done because you will certainly have to answer for it. Marriage is a sacred institution, stop blaspheming against it, and encouraging that sinful sexual lifestyles are equivalent with holy ones.

I'm praying for you, Gigi.

I am a gay 51 year old man, who has no issue with “marriage” being defined as a relationship between a man and a woman. But this is the USA, and we should ALL be treated equally. Just give me the same set of right’s. Call it what you will, civil union, domestic partnership, or whatever; just give me and my partner of 28 years the same set of right’s. Interestingly enough, our 28 year relationship has lasted longer than any heterosexual relationship of my generation. Longer than my siblings, longer than my cousins, and longer than many relationships of my parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents generation.

I have always had the gut feeling that that Mrs. Lehtinen is a homosexual as a result of observing her demeanor. It is of course entirely her right. I feel I wasn't wrong in my assumption. Declaring this of course wouldn't have gotten her the votes of the "traditional" Cuban-American" community. In the end it is all a political game and she seems to have undertaken it very well. Now "all-of-a-sudden" she is in favor of gay marriage- not a surprise. Mrs. Lehtinen, does this mean you have come out of the closet?

By the way...I forgot to mention...Look at the picture above. The gentleman in the suit seems more feminine than the others in the picture. Perhaps my Alzheimer's is kicking in!

Don't worry, little by little gays will tear the fabric of american society until they will completely
shrede it. It is their secret contract will the devil.
One of the signs of the end of times !!!!!!
Go ahead gays do your evil work.

Time for you to go Ileana. Your membership in Scientology along with that of Travolta and Cruise has serious implications. I believe that you have been compromised by your 'church'. I think it is time for you to retire as our elected representative in Congress. What does the Scientologists have on you?
Everyone knows that Cruise and Travolta are gay and they use their church's influence to protect that little 'secret'.

HG, if you have Alzheimer's it'll only serve to make you seem more intelligent.

I'll do anything to get elected and stay on this gravy train.

Godd things happen when you do the right thing! I will give my all to ensure you continue to represent me. I live, vote, and will die in my Little Havana... Gracias my friend.

While I appreciate Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's support of our issues, in all other respects she is a GOPer. Indeed, she is a signatory to the Grover Norquiat pledge that is so damaging to the economy.

Turn from the path of hatred and ultimate evils. Return to the path of the true lord, who loves all creatures, even the ones who commit the ultimate sin. "Love thy neighbor" is the ultimate law, break it and feel the real wrath, just ask Texas and the other states that harbor Republicans...

Go Illy!!

You are one of the most effective, independent-minded lawmakers in Washington. Thank you for standing up for equality for all Americans. You put Floridians first--ahead of the narrow special interests who are destroying our country.

Thanks again Ileana for your support of all of our families.

God Bless,
K. Fordham

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