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By David A. Lieb, David Cary, Rachel Zoll, Associated Press
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. Opponents of same-sexmarriageare scrambling to find effective responses, in Congress and state legislatures, to a rash of court rulings that would force some of America’s most conservative states to acceptgaynuptials.
Some gay-marriage foes are backing a bill recently introduced in both chambers of Congress that would leave states fully in charge of theirmarriagepolicies, though the measure stands little chance of passage. In the states, they are endorsing a multitude of bills some intended to protect gay-marriage bans, others to assert a right, based on religious freedom, to have nothing to do withgaymarriagesshould those bans be struck down.
In Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia, federal judges have voided part or all of the bans on same-sex marriagethat voters approved between 2004 and 2006. Each of the rulings has been stayed pending appeals, and a final nationwide resolution may be a few years away in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The trend is unsettling to the activists who opposegaymarriage, and some have called for extraordinary measures in response.
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, known for fighting to display the Ten Commandments in a judicial building, has written to all 50 governors urging them to support a federal constitutional amendment definingmarriageas between only a man and a woman.
In Missouri, where voters approved a gay-marriage ban in 2004, eight Republican House members filed articles of impeachment against Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon after he ordered his administration to accept joint tax returns from same-sex couples who were legally married in other states. The Republican House leader has yet to schedule the matter for public hearings, but some GOP sponsors insist they are serious.
The people put it in the constitution thatmarriageis between one man and one woman the issue is the governor has absolutely ignored the constitution and the people’s will, said Rep. Ron Schieber, a Republican from Kansas City.
The demand for religious exemptions, meanwhile, is widespread.Gaymarriageopponents have fought for strong exemptions in every state where lawmakers have already decided the issue. In New York, for example, gaymarriagewas recognized only after Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state’s top two legislators struck an 11th-hour compromise on religious accommodations.
However, the resulting exemptions have generally been limited in scope and haven’t come anywhere near to whatgaymarriageopponents sought. In Massachusetts and Iowa, where same-sexmarriagewon recognition through the courts, there are no religious exemptions related to the rulings.
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CARRIZO SPRINGS, Texas Just a few years ago this was a sleepy town of 5,600, and people eked out a living from the land. They farmed, worked ranches and leased their property to hunters to make a few dollars. Now, an oil and gas boom is transforming the economy of south Texas, turning Carrizo Springs into a busy city of at least 40,000.
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Kentucky must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, part of an unprecedented barrage of marriage-equality lawsuits in states where voters have overwhelmingly opposed recognition of gay and lesbian couples.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II struck down part of the gay-marriage ban that Kentuckians had approved in 2004, saying it treated gays and lesbians “in a way that demeans them.”
“Assigning a religious or traditional rationale for a law does not make it constitutional when that law discriminates against a class of people without other reasons,” wrote Heyburn, an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush.
His decision coincided with legal attacks Wednesday on gay-marriage bans in three other socially conservative states _ Texas, Louisiana and Missouri _ and was issued just a few weeks after federal judges in Utah and Oklahoma struck down the voter-approved bans in those states.
According to the advocacy group Freedom to Marry, there are now 45 pending marriage-equality cases in 24 of the 33 states that do not allow same-sex marriage. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized such unions, while three other states _ Colorado, Nevada and Oregon _ grant marriage-like rights though civil unions or domestic partnerships.
The stage for the current wave of litigation was set by the U.S. Supreme Court last June, when it ordered the federal government to recognize valid same-sex marriages, but stopped short of striking down state laws banning them. Gay-rights activists hope that one or more of the lawsuits filed since June or planned for the near future will reach the high court and lead to nationwide legalization.
“One of the 40-plus ongoing cases, or even some other one, could conceivably reach the Supreme Court as soon as 2015, or within a few years later, so the clock is ticking,” said Freedom to Marry president Evan Wolfson.
“The aim is not just to get to the Supreme Court, but to win when we get there,” Wolfson said.
The Kentucky decision came in lawsuits brought by four gay and lesbian couples seeking to force the state to recognize their out-of-state marriages.
The ruling only requires Kentucky to recognize such marriages. It does not deal with the question of whether the state can be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples; that issue wasn’t brought up in the lawsuits.
Rand Paul, meet Newt Gingrich.
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AFP / Getty Images
A smuggler carries food from a KFC in Egypt to be delivered via an underground tunnel linking the Gaza Strip to Egypt, in Rafah, on May 13, 2013.
Colonel Sanders would be proud. While the 74-year-old secret recipe for his fried chicken has remained firmly under wraps, cravings for his deep-fried deliciousness have become so widespread that an entrepreneur has begun smuggling KFC to customers in the Gaza Strip using secret underground tunnels. According to the New York Times, Khalil Efrangi, 31, runs a small shop in Gaza called Yamama that will deliver a 12-piece bucket of KFC for $27, about twice what it costs across the border in Egypt, where the food is prepared.
Since Israel strengthened the blockade on its Gazan border with Egypt in 2007, People have used the hundreds of underground tunnels that connect Egypt and Gaza to smuggle in everything from motorcycles to fish to brides, reports the New York Daily News. So KFC seems like a natural extension for the clandestine trade route, even if the contraband meals can take up to four hours to arrive.
(MORE: KFCs Colonel Sanders: he Was Real, Not Just an Icon)
The idea for the illicit operation began with a craving. According to the Christian Science Monitor, a few years ago Efrangis employees first ordered food for themselves from a KFC restaurant in the Egyptian city of El Arish, about 35 miles away. After that meal was successfully smuggled in, Efrangi decided to start a delivery business for all Gazans. The idea quickly caught on Yamama got more than 20 orders a few hours after he advertised the business on Facebook.
(More: Egypts New Challenge: Sinais Restive Bedouins)
Now Efrangi employs two taxi drivers, several smugglers and a fleet of motorbikes that stand ready to fetch fried chicken, fries, coleslaw and apple pies. And although the food is long past its prime, Its delicious even as its not hot, Aboud Fares, 22, told Xinhua. In other words, the Colonels secret recipe is still finger lickin good, even at room temperature.
(More: Egypt Attempts to Flush Out Gazas Smuggling Tunnels)
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LANSING, MI — Only eight years removed from approving an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman, a majority of Michigan residents now support gay marriage, according to the results of a recent survey by Michigan State University.
The State of the State Survey, which included telephone interviews with 1,015 Michigan adults between June and August of this year, found 56 percent of respondents saying they support gay marriage, while only 39 percent said they were opposed.
Two years ago, the statewide survey revealed that a small majority of respondents — 51 percent to 48 percent — were opposed to gay marriage, which would allow same-sex couples to enjoy the benefits of traditional unions, including hospital visitation rights, joint tax returns and joint adoptions.
Critics, often citing religious or moral concerns, say gay marriage could weaken the institution.
Dr. Charles Ballard, an MSU economics professor and director of the survey, called the growing support level for gay marriage “quite remarkable in view of where it was only a few years ago.”
While overall support is trending upward, Ballard noted that those opposed to gay marriage tended to have stronger views on the subject, and the survey revealed that there remain substantial differences among demographic groups.
College education: Sixty-three percent of respondents with at least some college education said they support gay marriage, compared to only 26 percent of those who had never been to college
Income: Roughly 71 percent of those with household incomes over $100,000 favored gay marriage, compared to only 26 percent of those with household incomes below $20,000
Race: Approximately 57 percent of white respondents favored gay marriage, while only 30 percent of black respondents did
Religion: Fifty-eight percent of self-identified Catholics said they support gay marriage, compared to 48 percent of Protestants. Meanwhile, 78 percent of those without religious affiliation offered support.
Originally posted here:
We can all breathe a sigh of relief, because after many failed relationships, our beloved Jennifer Aniston seems to have found the one! Or, errr…the second one! She and boyfriend Justin Theroux got engaged this weekend. But before we forget about all the previous guys she's dated, let's take a look back. Dated Adam Duritz in 1995 I guess she was into dreadlocks, because she was with the Counting Crows frontman briefly back in '95.
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A Timeline Of Jennifer Aniston’s Relationships