04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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  • A number of the bills now before the Oregon State Legislature protect parties who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault  
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  • Some lawmakers, sensing a tipping point, are backing the parents and teachers who complain about 'high stakes' tests   
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SEATTLE (AP) -- Standing up before dozens of Suquamish Tribal members at a general council meeting in March, Heather Purser told them she was a lesbian, and asked her people to recognize same-sex marriages at the tribe's Washington state reservation.

Even after four years of lobbying tribal members, the 28-year-old didn't know how much support she had.

"When I turned around to sit back down I was shaking," Purser recalled Tuesday.

Then the council put the issue to a voice vote of the people. "Everyone said aye. No one said nay," Purser said.

On Monday, the Suquamish Tribal Council ratified the people's wishes and recognized gay marriage, making it only the second tribe in the country known to do so.

The new law allows the tribal court to issue a marriage license to two unmarried people, regardless of their sex, if they're at least 18 years old and at least one of them is enrolled in the tribe.

It will be up to other courts to decide if unions granted under the Suquamish ordinance will be recognized elsewhere in Washington, said the tribe's attorney, Michelle Hansen.

Gay marriage is still illegal in the state, but the Legislature this year approved a measure recognizing same-sex unions from other jurisdictions, which include other nations. State lawmakers also have approved a so-called "everything but marriage" law, granting same-sex couples many rights.

"I wanted to feel accepted by my tribe," Purser said. "I was expecting a fight to be ugly. But I was so shocked. I guess I was expecting the worst out of people. I was expecting the worst out of my people."

Purser came out to her family when she was 16 and decided to campaign for gay marriage in her tribe after college.

She approached the Tribal Council, which she said was supportive but not encouraging. She said council members told her to talk to elders about the issue and assigned a tribal attorney to work with her.

But Purser became discouraged, thinking the tribe was taking too long. She moved to Seattle, to a gay-friendly neighborhood, where she met her partner.

Purser, who is a seafood diver for the tribe, returned to the reservation in March, this time intent on voicing her campaign to the people at the annual general membership meeting.

She stepped to the microphone and repeated her plea for the tribe to recognize gay couples. Tribal Council members said they would continue considering it. She sat down. But people around her encouraged to stand up again. She then asked for a voice vote.

"Everyone said aye. No one said nay," Purser said. Her father and brothers looked on.

"I'm proud that she stood up for herself and took a stand. You bet," said Heather's father, Rob Purser. "A father's main concern is that your children are happy, and you do what you can to help them."

Suquamish Tribal Chairman Leonard Forsman said Heather Purser's lobbying helped the issue jump to the top of the council's priorities.

"I'm just happy that we're able to get the work done that will allow the same rights and privileges to all people, regardless of sexual orientation," Forsman said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It was a process that took longer than expected. We have a lot competing needs."

Hansen said other jurisdictions will have to decide whether to uphold same-sex unions performed on the Suquamish's reservation.

The Coquille Indian Tribe on the southern Oregon coast is the only other tribe that recognizes same-sex marriage, said Matthew L.M. Fletcher, a law professor at the Michigan State University Indigenous Law Center.

The Coquille adopted its law sanctioning gay marriage in 2008. Most tribal law doesn't address the issue. In 2005, efforts to grant marriage rights at the nation's largest tribe, the Navajo, were defeated.

Same-sex marriage licenses also are granted by New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, plus Washington, D.C.

The Suquamish Tribe has about 1,000 enrolled members, according to its website. Its reservation is on the shores of the Puget Sound, about an hour from Seattle. The city of Seattle is named after its most famous member, Chief Seattle, who led a confederation of tribes in the first half of the 1800s.

While Heather Purser lobbied for marriage, she said she's not yet taking that step. But her victory has helped her deal with many personal issues.

"I have a lot of bitterness inside of me," she said. "Ever since (the vote), a lot of that pain is just gone."

----

Manuel Valdes can be reached at http://twitter.com/manevaldes

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