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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

Gay Marriage on way to SCOTUS?

Court Hearing Gay Marriage Arguments From 4 States
By AMANDA LEE MYERS Associated Press

A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments in six gay marriage fights from four states — Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee — in the biggest such session on the issue so far.

Three judges of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will consider arguments Wednesday that pit states’ rights and traditional, conservative values against what plaintiffs’ attorneys say is a fundamental right to marry under the U.S. Constitution. Large demonstrations are expected outside the courthouse by both opponents and supporters.

Michigan’s and Kentucky’s cases stem from rulings striking down each state’s gay marriage bans. Ohio’s case deals only with the state’s recognition of out-of-state gay marriages, while Tennessee’s is narrowly focused on the rights of three same-sex couples.

Attorneys on both sides in the Michigan and Ohio cases will go first and get a half-hour each to make their cases. Kentucky and Tennessee will follow, with 15 minutes for each side from both states.

Hundreds of gay marriage supporters rallied Tuesday at a park near Cincinnati’s riverfront on the eve of the court arguments.

The Rev. Mary Moore of Dayton, interim minister at the Miami Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship church, says she has performed many services of “holy union” for same-sex couples, but they are not recognized by the state.

“It’s not fair that all of the marriages I perform aren’t allowed to be on an equal basis,” she said.

Mason Gersh, 19, of Louisville, Kentucky, said he hoped to be inside the courthouse to hear the legal arguments. “Equality for all is a civil right, and we all need to fight for that,” said Gersh, who is gay.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, gay marriage advocates have won more than 20 victories in federal courts. No decision has gone the other way in that time.

Constitutional law professors and court observers say the 6th Circuit could deliver the first victory to gay marriage opponents.

The three judges hearing the case are Jeffrey S. Sutton and Deborah L. Cook, both nominees of President George W. Bush, and Martha Craig Daughtrey, a pick of President Bill Clinton.

Sutton is considered the least predictable, shocking Republicans in 2011 when he became the deciding vote in a 6th Circuit ruling that upheld President Barack Obama’s landmark health care overhaul.

If the 6th Circuit decides against gay marriage, that would create a divide among federal appeals courts and put pressure on the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the issue for good in its 2015 session.

Two federal appeals courts already have ruled in favor of gay marriage, one in Denver in June and another in Richmond, Virginia, last week. On Tuesday, Utah appealed the ruling from the Denver-based court, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case and uphold the state’s ban.

The 6th Circuit is the first of three federal appeals courts to hear arguments from multiple states in August and September.

The 7th Circuit in Chicago has similar arguments set for Aug. 26 for bans in Wisconsin and Indiana. The 9th Circuit in San Francisco is set to take up bans in Idaho and Nevada on Sept. 8.

Gay marriage is legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia.

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Associated Press writer Lisa Cornwell contributed to this report.

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Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP

The Next Frontier in Gun Control is Mental Health

Moms are very resilient. And that’s a good thing given the huge whiff of air being let out of the balloon around gun control. It isn’t just President Barack Obama feeling like he got sucker punched by the U.S. Senate’s vote to consider expanded background checks. Which, according to this article in the New York Times, was just a gesture to begin with.  Click here for the full article http://nyti.ms/13jPSCx. It’s the general sense that something needed to happen but didn’t.  A sense that Moms were fed up and ready to engage to keep their kids safe. And who can blame them for feeling defeated when close to 90% of Americans support expanded background checks for gun shows and online sales and yet, at the end of the day, special interests and lobbyists held more sway than they did. Not even Gabbie Giffords, a gun owner, a second amendment advocate, a public servant who was shot in the head by a deranged voter, could sway the conversation. 

But I would like to say to all of you resilient Moms out there, don’t give up just yet. There is an effort underway that was crafted by a Republican and a Democrat working together. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan are pushing for better intervention for the mentally ill as a way to curb school shootings and other senseless gun slayings. The two have been looking into access and funding with an eye to identifying the shooters before they explode. The lone wolf who is in pain and whose actions seem to be the result of some sick and twisted – and tragically delayed – cry for help. Their ideas are not without controversy. A sure sticking point will be how to protect patient privacy laws around mental health while identifying and intervening to help the Adam Lanzas and James Holmes’ before they strike.  

Here’s an article worth reading, http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/293941-stabenow-urges-colleagues-to-support-mental-health-amendment

Also worth looking at today are both the President and Sen. Blunt’s recent press announces on gun reform. 

President Obama calls defeat on background checks shameful 

Sen. Blunt pushes better mental health intervention 

 

 

Ouch! Can Rick Perry recover?

Ouch! Can Rick Perry recover?

I have a new theory about the Republican cast of presidential characters, I mean candidates.  I’ve suspected for a while that the reason the GOP has let Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann on stage is that they make Mitt Romney look so good.  In the past, Romney just wasn’t able to light a spark with the general public.  Now as each of his competitor’s crashes and burns, Romney’s liabilities look like major assets.  Boring?  I would say stable.  Too smooth?  He’s never forgotten the names of the federal agencies he’s planning to trim.  A flip flopper?  I would say he is smart enough to evolve on positions that matter and that he isn’t someone so inflexible that he won’t admit if he’s changed his mind.   I don’t mind people evolving on issues.  At least it shows some measure of thought.  I still like Jon Huntsman (I think he’s funny. And every campaign should be punctuated by moments of wit like when he said Romney was “scared mittless.”) but there is no denying that Romney is looking absolutely presidential.  He is being totally forthright about the reality that Medicare is going to have to be reformed, he has been steadfast about the need to stop the ballooning federal debt, the fact that he wanted to insure the uninsured in Massachussets is a plus to socially liberal Republicans, and he has experience creating jobs, our country’s top priority right now.    I think a successful businessman like him might have more luck prodding businesses to use the cash they’re sitting on to create jobs than our current President who has lost his credibility on matters financial.

The GOP debate: 6 takeaways

The candidates wave before the Michigan debate. | Reuters

Answers by Cain and Romney are footnotes after Perry’s epic onstage meltdown. | Reuters Close
By MAGGIE HABERMAN | 11/10/11 1:26 AM EST Updated: 11/10/11 6:14 AM EST

In a season of memorable debates, the non-mudfest in Michigan made instant history.

Questions to Herman Cain about sexual harassment allegations and to Mitt Romney about letting banks foreclose on people’s homes were largely footnotes after Rick Perry experienced an epic onstage meltdown.

Below, six takeaways from the two-hour CNBC-sponsored event.

The “oops” heard ‘round the world

It’s hard to overstate how badly damaged Rick Perry is after the debate, one in which he overall performed more or less well — save for about 50 seconds.

That was how long it took the Texas governor to concede he couldn’t recall the third federal agency he’d eliminate as president.

In what at first seemed like light-hearted self-parody, Perry grasped desperately for agency names: “Commerce, Education and the uh…..the third agency of government I would do away with… Education, the, uh, Commerce, and…I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.”

Moderator John Harwood interjected at one point with, “Seriously?”

Later, on a different question, Perry said he had been searching for the Department of Energy — an agency he has no trouble remembering when he gives his stump speeches.

But the damage was done.

Twitter lit up with mocking commentary, and Perry supporters emailed that they suspect his candidacy — already reeling from self-inflicted wounds — is now being removed from the machines keeping it alive. The damage was so clear that Perry himself went to the post-debate “spin room” to own the mistake with reporters and try to make light of it (he was glad he wore his boots because “I stepped in it.”)

Indeed. His campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan told reporters and interviewers that Perry was right on “substance” if not “style,” and he took a clear, if veiled, shot at Mitt Romney as a “robot.”

It’s conceivable that reports of his immediate demise may be overly pessimistic, in such a volatile year. And plenty of people on Twitter, amid the derision, expressed sympathy for a stumble that many people go through routinely, albeit not on such a big stage.

But Perry’s already been struggling to fundraise in recent weeks after his poor debate performances and sinking poll number. With the moment playing on a cable news network blooper reel, this won’t help.

Perry’s problem for weeks has been a sense that he can’t handle himself in a debate, can’t think on his feet, can’t illustrate depth, and can’t take the rigors of a campaign. Wednesday night’s performance will essentially cement that view for GOP primary voters, just as he was hoping to woo them back with a positive, “I’m-one-of-you” message in Iowa.

The brain bubble would have been problematic regardless, but it was particularly so because Perry has spent the past two week answering questions about whether he was on something when he gave an over-animated speech in New Hampshire.

His best hope, sadly, is that the cable TV nets focus so heavily on Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s child-sex abuse scandal that the visual of his brain freeze moment doesn’t get as much air time.

That’s not much to hang his campaign’s future on.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/68047.html#ixzz1dJ191Hks