Equality in America: Ding, Dong, DOMA’s Dead? Maybe…

gay couplesBill Clinton Doma

While the debate inside the High Court continues, things heated up outside the court and across the nation. Of course no event would be complete without the Westboro Baptist Church. The Supreme Court is considering the constitutional challenge to the Federal Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday and the debate has drawn protestors for the second day in a row even members of the fringe anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church who flanked two couples with their offensive, homophobic signs but kudos to couples for not letting their hate filled rants effect their public display of affection. Bravo! The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today on whether Congress can withhold federal benefits from legally wed gay couples by defining marriage as a man and woman. Even former President Bill Clinton has called for the Supreme Court to overturn the law he signed as he believes that the Defense of Marriage Act is incompatible with the Constitution according to the Associated Press. He signed the law in 1996 to avoid legislation that would have been worse. In a Washington Post op-ed, Clinton writes society has changed and realizes that the law discriminates against gays and provides an excuse for other to do so too. The Obama administration stopped defending it as well as the Supreme Court will be the final say on what happens to the bill as well as California’s ban on gay marriage.

As the tensions rise outside the High Court, the U.S. Supreme Court justices on Wednesday morning questioned the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and woman. and whether the decision is really up to them or not. This is the second day the High Court heard arguments with the main issue on Wednesday dealing with the United States v. Windsor and whether it was constitutional for the government not to recognize same sex marriages that have been recognized by the states. Justice Antohony Kennedy said Tuesday that children of same sex coupes “want their parents to have full recognition and legal status” had a hard time accepting that DOMA refuses to recognize those same sex unions recognized by the state according to Huff Post. Kennedy believes that DOMA does cause injury to these couples whose marriages are not recognized by the federal government but the state. Seciton 3 of DOMA, at issue on Wednesday reports Huff Post states “the word marriage means only a legal union between a man and woman as husband and wife” for the purpose of “any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States.”

The Plaintiff, Edie Windsor, 83, brought suit against the federal government after the IRS cited DOMA to deny her a refund for the $363,000 in federal estate taxes paid following the death of Thea Spyer in 2009 who was her partner for 40 years reports Huff Post. Windsor and Spyer married in 2007 in Canada and lived in New York. Windsor argues that she would have been eligible for the estate tax exemption had Spyer been a man therefore DOMA’s Section 3 violates her equal protection rights under the Fifth Amendment. Two of the justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Kennedy, seem to side with Windsor with Ginsburg stating that DOMA creates two types of marriages likening same sex marriage to the skim milk version of straight marriage while Kennedy struggled to determine whether or not the federal government can regulate marriage. Solicitor Genral Donald Verrilli, representing the Obama administration ont he merits of the case chose to emphasize COngress’ discriminatory purposes in 1996 stating the law “is not called Federal Uniform Definition of Marriage Act. It’s called the Defense of Marriage Act.” Justice Elena Kegan shared simliar sentiments as she told Clement, defending DOMA on behalf of the House of Representatives’ Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, “that maybe Congress had something different in mind than uniformity” in the definition of marriage reading from the House Report which said DOMA was a reflection of Congress’ “collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.”

Therefore, the key to this case may lie in whether the law singles out gays and lesbians through “heightened scrutiny” where a measure singles out politically disfavored and less powerful groups. Chief Justice Roberts along this line focused on the change in public opinion regarding gay marriage and how it happened unless gay and lesbian Americans had significant political power as it seems politicians are falling over themselves to support it. The main question on his mind was why did President Barack Obama enforce it for so long if he thought it was unconstitutional. Clement commented that 10 years from now the nine states don’t have gay marriage will be force by federal government to recognize these unions. According to Huff Post, after Wednesday’s oral arguments the case may be about whether or not the justices have the power to hear the case at all. In United States v. Windsor, the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit declared DOMA unconstitutional while the Obama administration agree Roberts asked Deputy Solicitor General Sri Srinivasan, arguing for the Obama administration, whether there was any cases where all parties agreed with the decision below, but the court upheld its ability to hear it. Clement on Wednesday faced some serious questioned from the Supreme Court’s liberal wing on why the House had any legal interest in represent the position that has been abandoned by everyone involved with DOMA especially the executive branch. As Justice Stephen Breyer commented, ” How is this case any different from enforcing general powers of the United States.” The fight will continue as so many things remain uncertain.

The Blame Game: To Rape or Be Raped?

Swiss Gang Rape Victim, Husband Partially To Blame For Attack, Indian Officials Suggest.

Indian officials are now claiming that the Swiss tourist and her husband could be partially to blame for the attack and gang rape that occurred in a remote wooded area in Madhya Pradesh last week because the couple did not ask about the safety of the region according to the Huff Post. On Friday, the couple pitched a tend in the forest in Madhya Pradesh while on a cycling trip, according to the Associated Press, when around 9:30 p.m. a group of men beat up the husband, tied him to a tree, gang raped the wife and robbed the pair, police confirmed. On Sunday, police spokesman Avnesh Kumar Budholiya during a press conference said the tourists are partially to blame for the assault due to the fact they didn’t consult the local police about the area before traveling through the area reports the Independent. Budholiya explained,”No one stops there. Why did they choose that place? They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They would have passed a police station on the way to the area they camped. They should have stopped and asked about places to sleep.” Another official, Umashankar Gupta the Home Minister of Madhya Pradesh explains, “The rape of the Swiss national is unfortunate but foreign travelers should inform the police about their movement so they can be provided with adequate protection. They often don’t follow the state’s rules.”

The Times also reported that Madhya Pradesh has one of the highest rates of crimes against women in the country which the Swiss tourists were unaware of. A senior official from the region also has this to say: “They apparently lost track and took a wrong turn and decided to halt for the night by the side of a village brook little realizing that the district with 85:100 men to women ratio is not the safest place for women.” CNN reported that six men have been arrested in connection with the gang rape, while the victim was hospitalized after the attack claiming four of them raped her and the other two robbed the couple. All six will appear in court Monday. The gang raped comes only three months after the gang rape of a 23 year old woman on a public bus by five men in New Delhi who unfortunately died due to her injuries. The defense attorney for three of the accused men partially blames the now deceased woman saying a “respected lady” does not get raped. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, it is common in India to blame the victim of such crimes because of a woman’s role in society. Ranjana Kumari, director for New Delhi based Centre for Social research told the news papers that,”This is the mentality which most Indian men are suffering from unfortunately. That is the mindset that has been perpetrating this crime because they justify it indirectly, you asked for it so it is your responsibility.”

Human Rights Campaign: Hillary Clinton Announces Her Support for Marriage Equality for All

Hillary Clinton Announces Support For Gay Marriage.

According to the Associated Press, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodhan VClinton announced Monday her suppirt for gay marriage in an online video by the gay rights advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign explaining that gays and lesbians are “full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship.” She continued to explain in the six minute video, “That includes marriage” both “personally and as a matter of policy and law.” Clinton’s announcement is sure to get people’s attention as people are already speculating another run for president in 2016 with other potential Democratic contenders being Vice President Joe Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley who all back the right of same-sex couples to marry. The poll of public opinion has changed dramatically on this issue in recent times as Gallup polling last November showed 53 percent of adults approve of gay marriage while in 1996 only 27 percent did. The shift has also take place in political parties as Clinton and Obama in the 2008 presidential election backed civil unions not marriage, but in the 2012 election Obama announced his support of gay marriage so did Democrats who added it to their party’s official platform. The White House spokesman Jay Carney had this to say about Clinton’s announcement: “The president believes that anytime a public official of stature steps forward to embrace a commitment that he shares to equality, he thinks it’s a good thing.”

The GOP opposes gay marriage even though a several Republican stand outs have backed same sex marriages. On Friday, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman became the first Republican senator to announce his support saying he had a change of heart after finding out his son is gay, the Associated Press reports. More than a 100 Republicans submitted “friends of the court” briefs to the Supreme Court to overturn California’s Prop 8 law on same sex marriage ban as the court will discuss it next week. Also up for discussion is the Defense of Marriage Act defining marriage as between a man and woman which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996 who now believes the act to be unconstitutional and should be overturned. Hilary Clinton is a strong supports of gay rights not only in the U.S., but abroad as well despite keeping a tight lip during her tenure at the State Department however under her watch the U.S. government made it officially policy to promote gay rights around the world. For many citizens of the United States and abroad this has only been a dream up until now and the fight will continue on, but someday will end…one can dream right.

 

 

 

 

Five Men Arrested In Gang-Rape Of Swiss Woman In India

 Five Men Arrested In Gang-Rape Of Swiss Woman In India.

On Sunday, five men in connection with the gang rape of a Swiss woman attacked in central India while on a cycling vacation with her husband were arrested according to the police. All five who live in a nearby village admitted the attack took place Friday night as the couple camped out in the forest in Datia district of Madhya Praesh state and were arrested in Datia, while police search for two others involved in the attack are still at large according to D.K. Arya, a senior police officer. Arya explains the couple stated that the woman was raped by seven or eight men but could not tell the exact number as it was dark outside. The husband was also attacked by the men. The woman, 39, was treated Saturday at a hospital in nearby Gwalior and was released. The attack comes only three months after the brutal gang rape of a woman aboard a New Delhi bus outraged Indians and again appeared on the front page of Indian newspapers on Saturday. Unfortunately, in that case the girl did not survive her injuries. The couple had  set out for Orchha on Friday and pitched their tent in the forest when they were attacked by men armed with sticks who beat up the husband, tied him to a tree and raped the woman and taking their cellphone, laptop computer, and 10,000 rupees ($185) police reports confirm. Police were able to recover the cellphone and laptop from one of the men arrested.

The Swiss ambassador in India, Linus von Castelmur, spoke with the couple to offer the Swiss government’s support and help stating, “Their health and treatment is the priority of the moment.” The embassy asks that a “swift investigation and for justice to be done.” Rapes in India happen every 20 minutes with many going unreported due to social stigma in this conservative society and the conviction rate for crimes against women is the lowest in the world reports the Indian National Crime Records Bureau. Last month,  the Swiss government issued a travel warning because of the increased number of rapes and other sexual offenses in India and this recent rape could push other countries to do the same. According to government stats, around 6.5 million foreign tourists visited India in 2011 grossing $120 billion for the nation’s travel and hospitality sector. The gang rape of a 23 year old student in December sparked debate about violence against women in India and the inability of law enforcement to protect them. One of the six suspects int he December rape hung himself in a New Delhi jail last week, but his family and lawyer believe foul play was involved prompting an investigation the other four men and juvenile remain on trial. In response to the public outcry, the government has increased prison terms for rape from seven to 10 years to a maximum of 20 years. The law also calls for the death penalty in extreme rape cases that leave the victim in a coma or results in death. It also made voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and trafficking of women punishable under criminal law according to the Associated Press.

Natalie Wood: New Autopsy Report Shows Injuries Possibly Before Death : People.com

Natalie Wood: New Autopsy Report Shows Injuries Possibly Before Death : People.com.

Very interesting mystery altogether. In a newly revised autopsy, the LA County Coroner says that Natalie Wood had bruises and scratches on her arm, wrist and neck before she entered the ocean off Catalina Island and drowned in 1981. The report has reignited speculation that her death was not an accident as the supplemental report details much more than the original since the Sheriff’s Department learns of the new inquiry. The revised report findings now state that it was a “drowning and other undetermined factors” and the manner of death was changed. “Since there are many unanswered questions and limited additional evidence available for evaluation, it is opined by this Medical Examiner that the manner of death should be left as undetermined,” the report says.  It is still unclear whether Wood fell off the boat or was pushed. The full details of the report were released Monday. The case was reopened after Dennis Davern, captain of Wagner’s 60 foot yacht, stepped forward to say that Wood disappeared after she and her husband Wagner had an explosive fight which Wagner allegedly shouted “Get off my f—— boat!”  In the new report released Monday, the distress call from Wagner’s boat came an hour and a half after the time Wood was dead and there are conflicting statement as to when Wood went missing and whether the two fought. The sherriff’s spokesman has said that Wood’s twice-wed husband Robert Wagner was not a suspect.

McDonald’s Mistaken Order Leads To Shotgun Blast, Police Standoff (VIDEO)

McDonald’s Mistaken Order Leads To Shotgun Blast, Police Standoff (VIDEO).

At McDonald’s what is happening? Okay relax this is not the only time this has happened and probably won’t be the last time. Apparently, a couple’s order was missing some fries which enraged the couple enough to cut in the line of cars in the drive thru. What cause the shot heard around the neighborhood was another car yelling about the line cutting and rudeness of the couple in another car. What are people thinking? It is just fries and they will give them too you plus free stuff I know it happened to me to minus the shooting.

Marriage Proposals: Man’s Proposal Has An Embarrassing Typo (VIDEO)

Marriage Proposals: Man’s Proposal Has An Embarrassing Typo (VIDEO).

Wow I feel bad for this guy. Luckily the girl still said yes. Question: Why did the daughter notice it but the dad didn’t? Find out what it was.