Tag Archives: a-hard-time

Despite gay marriage victories elsewhere, Wisconsin’s ban faces no legal challenges

Marc Solomon, the national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, a group that advocates for gay marriage, has a hard time counting the victories for his movement in 2013.

Its been an amazing year, says Solomon. Its the gift that keeps on giving.

He lists the states that have legalized same-sex marriage along with those where judicial decisions on lawsuits led to the overturning of marriage protection laws or constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.

The most recent decision came last week in Utah, where U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby, a Fort Atkinson native, struck down that states same-sex marriage ban and refused to issue a stay, which would have allowed the constitutional amendment to remain in place as his decision is appealed.

The state is now appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, but in the absence of a stay, the result has been a flood of gay and lesbian couples rushing to courthouses throughout the state to get married.

Im looking at pictures of Boy Scouts in Utah bringing pizza to county clerks who are working over lunch to provide marriage licenses to gay couples, says Solomon. Its a new world out there.

For the moment, that new world does not include Wisconsin, where a constitutional amendment adopted in 2006 that defines marriage as solely between one man and one woman remains on the books. Despite its similarity to the Utah amendment, it currently faces no legal challenges.

As closely as we watch these things, I cant tell you why there isnt one here, says Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, a group that pushed for the amendment and opposes any challenges to it. I can say that we remain on high alert for such challenges.

Appling believes recent legal victories for gay marriage advocates are less representative of a groundswell of support than an orchestrated legal strategy.

It is our opinion that, for the most part, people seeking to challenge these amendments look around carefully for where they want to challenge and before what judges they want to challenge these, says Appling.

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Despite gay marriage victories elsewhere, Wisconsin’s ban faces no legal challenges

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This One Picture Explains Why The Efforts To End The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Always Backfire

Border control is one of the most contentious issues facing Israelis and Palestinians right now.

For good reason, Israelis want to ensure that terrorists don’t penetrate its borders, and don’t want to risk being attacked on the roads, as they were during the second intifada.

Meanwhile, most Palestinians want nothing more than to move about freelygo to work, visit their families, attend school, etc.

The problem is that the separation of Palestinian and Israeli space is not confined to the borders; it’s everywhere, and particularly within the West Bank.

According to Issa Khouriya, who served as my guide for many of my travels around the West Bank, the road that stretches from the left foreground to the center used to connect the town of Beitin with the city in the backgroundthe outskirts of the Palestinian financial capital of Ramallah. Khouriya said the distance between the two points used to be about 1 km (0.6 miles) via car.

However, Palestinians have only restricted access to settlement roads, like the one that runs through the center of the picture. Here, that access has been closed off, forcing residents of Beitin to drive 23-27 km (14.3-16.7 miles)to get to Palestine’s biggest city, where most were employed. When this access was first barred back in 2003, Khouriya said it created difficulties for workers and students in the town, accustomed to much more direct access to the city.

Since the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, the Israeli government has constructed numerous settler-only roads through the West Bank in order to give the Palestinian Authority control of certain Palestinian citiesa boon for Palestinian independence. In the process, however, it has forced inefficiencies like the one pictured below, which serves as a constant reminder of Palestinian immobility. The Palestinians liken this to apartheid.

While for many Palestinians such inconveniences are daily reminders of Israeli occupation and inequality, Israelis don’t often know that such construction causes any problems. When I explained to one Israeli soldier that I had seen such a roadblock and heard grievances about it, he alleged that he “didn’t know that [kind of thing] happened.”

The deliberate segregation of Israelis and Palestinians (Israelis can’t enter Palestinian cities, and Palestinians have a hard time entering Israel) may keep the peace, but it also prevents each side from hearing the other’s grievances and gives Palestinians the impression that they are being treated poorly. That leads to conflict. That discourages investment, leading to hardship. Rinse and repeat.

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This One Picture Explains Why The Efforts To End The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Always Backfire

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Man Calls 911 To Complain About His Sandwich Order

This may be a new low in terms of abusing emergency services. Above: The Grateful Deli in East Hartford, Connecticut.

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Man Calls 911 To Complain About His Sandwich Order

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