Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Mississippi's Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Mississippi sees it's ban on marriage equality struck down! Happy Dance Time!

U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves issued his ruling less than a month after he heard oral arguments in the case the Campaign for Southern Equality last month filed on behalf of two lesbian couples seeking marriage rights in the Magnolia State.

“The court concludes that Mississippi’s same-sex marriage ban deprives same-sex couples and their children of equal dignity under the law,” writes Reeves. “Gay and lesbian citizens cannot be subjected to such second-class citizenship.”

Mississippi’s ban was passed by the biggest margin of any state amendment with 86 percent supporting the measure. But, as Judge Reeves points out, “The courts do not wait out the political process when constitutional rights are being violated, especially when the political process caused the constitutional violations in the first place.”

Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued against the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, is the lead counsel in the case and issued this statement:

“This is a big day since it means that gay Mississippians will have the right to be married in their own home state that they love so much. It is also a big day for our country and for our Constitution, since it means that Americans in yet another state can now appreciate that gay people, who are their neighbors, friends and family members, have the right to equal protection of the laws."

The ruling is stayed for two weeks pending appeal.

(via Washington Blade)

Federal Judge Strikes Down Arkansas' Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

A federal judge has struck down Arkansas' gay marriage ban, which could pave the way for county clerks to eventually resume issuing licenses.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ruled Tuesday in favor of a pair of same-sex couples who had challenged the 2004 constitutional amendment and an earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

But Baker put her ruling on hold, and the state is expected to appeal it to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ruling comes as the state Supreme Court is weighing a separate case, which stems from May, when a Pulaski County judge struck down the ban.

More than 500 same-sex couples married before the ruling was stayed. The justices have not indicated when they will rule.

Read the full ruling below.

(from ArkansasBusiness.com)

New Music: Matthew Connor "Midnight Blue"

Atmospheric, melodic and moody, Matthew Connor's newest - "Midnight Blue" - sounds and looks like it would be right at home in an episode of American Horror Story.

No "freak show" here, just haunting visuals and gorgeous vocals reminiscent of Elvis or Ray Orbison.

Quite the change up for Matthew, who spent time as the front-man for electronic dance-pop band Provocateur before heading out as a solo artist in 2011.

His latest album, Farewell Motel, follows two earlier EPs, Ghost Town and Denouement.

Check out his official website here.

ISIS Reportedly Executes Two Gay Men By Stoning To Death

MSNBC is reporting that ISIS has apparently stoned to death two men alleged to be gay:

The Islamic State group stoned two men to death in Syria Tuesday after claiming they were gay, a monitor said, in the jihadist organisation's first executions for alleged homosexuality.

"The IS today stoned to death a man that it said was gay," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that the victim was around 20 years old. He was killed in Mayadeen in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, near the border with Iraq.

The Britain-based Observatory said IS claimed it found videos on his mobile phone showing him "practising indecent acts with males".

In a separate incident on Tuesday, an 18-year-old was also stoned to death in Deir Ezzor city after the group said he was gay, the Observatory said.

Activists on social media said that the dead men were opponents of IS and that the group had used the allegation as a pretext to kill them.

Officer Darren Wilson Speaks to ABC News About The Shooting Death Of Michael Brown

In an exclusive one on one interview, Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9th, tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he never shot towards Brown’s back.

In addition, Wilson says that he feared for his life because the teen reached into his car, and grabbed for his gun.

Wilson said that he was sorry that Brown had died, but “he would not do anything differently that day,” according to Stephanopoulos. “He did what he was trained to do. He was simply doing his job.”

When asked if the incident “would have gone down any differently if Michael Brown were white,” Wilson reportedly replied "Absolutely not," adding that he has a "clean conscience."

Watch the preview below, and for more tune in to ABC World News Tonight

Trailer: Jurassic World

Hunky Chris Pratt stars in the upcoming "Jurassic World"

Here's the first theatrical trailer for Jurassic World, the upcoming 4th “Jurassic Park” starring Chris Pratt.

U.S. Economy Grew At 3.9% Annual Pace In Third Quarter


Air Travel Survey: 19% Feel It's Rude To Move To Unsold Seat

Via Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight Twitter feed.

Moving to an unsold seat is considered rude?

What A Successful Presidency Looks Like

When folks talk about how President Obama has "made everything worse," forward this to them.

Everything on this list is a fact - not an opinion.

Don't forget the fact that he made the call that got bin Laden; he supports marriage equality; he helped end DADT; and he helped end two wars bringing our men and women in uniform home.

AND, just out today - Gross domestic product rose at a 3.9 annualized rate during the third quarter of the year, marking the strongest six-month stretch for the U.S. economy in a decade.

GDP also showed the largest back-to-back quarterly growth since 2003.

Taylor Swift's Hit Song Gets Gay, Thanksgiving Parody - "Shake And Bake"

Just in time for Thanksgiving, check out this parody of Taylor Swift's hit "Shake It Off" by Adrian Anchondo and Daniel Franzese - "Shake And Bake."

Bonus points for catching HBO's Looking star Russell Tovey as a hunky Pilgrim.

Right Wing Blog Ridicules President Obama For Urging Peace Over Ferguson Decision

Last night as President Obama addressed the nation in an effort to stem anger and violence over the lack of indictment in the shooting of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown, conservative blogging site Breitbart chose to ridicule the president by juxtaposing his comments with graphics of the violence happening in Ferguson.

The president was trying to offer leadership and express that while America has made progress in race relations, there's clearly more work to do.

And this is what he gets.

He's damned if he does; damned if he doesn't.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Michael Brown's Family Makes Public Statement: "Profoundly Disappointed"

The family of Michael Brown issued a statement in reaction to the news that no charges would be brought against Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of the teenager:

"We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.

While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.

Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.

We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.

Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference.

Michael Brown's parents will hold a press conference Tuesday at Noon.

Statement From Officer Darren Wilson's Attorneys On Ferguson Shooting

"Law enforcement personnel must frequently make split-second and difficult decisions. Officer Wilson followed his training and followed the law."

No Indictment In Ferguson Shooting Death Of Michael Brown

Prosecutor McCullouch rambled on and on for several minutes at the beginning of his announcement blaming "social media" for making the case difficult to resolve.

Sting Set To Join The Cast Of His Struggling Broadway Show "The Last Ship"

Having written the lyrics and music for the struggling Broadway show The Last Ship, Sting is now set to join the cast of his flailing $15 million Broadway musical.

But can his star power save the show? His last Broadway appearance was in the 1989  The Three Penny Opera.

The veteran rock star is set to star in the show from Dec. 9 until Jan. 10, replacing actor Jimmy Nail, who says he is stepping aside "happily" for the good of the production.

Since its premiere the show has been losing $75,000 a week.

Click here for ticket info.
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